By the time media members could enter the Wizards locker room on Thursday night, Bradley Beal had already cleaned out his locker and was nowhere in sight.
For much of the evening, he let his play and his family and friends speak for him instead. Before the game, Beal found out that he was not one of the seven players coaches picked to be Eastern Conference All-Star reserves. He spent the next hour or so insisting that they had made a mistake, finishing with 34 points, nine rebounds, and nine assists in the Wizards’ 121-107 victory over the Charlotte Hornets.
“I’m a little pissed off about it, but I know how I am,” Beal told NBC Sports Washington’s Chris Miller on court after the game. “I was kinda expecting it, honestly. It’s disrespectful, but the real ones know, so I’m just keep repeating and I’m gonna try to get my team to the playoffs, for sure.”
“I don’t play for anybody else’s approval,” he added. “I’m just thankful that I’m out here and I can compete … Congratulations to everybody that made it. Everybody is more than deserving. All the first time guys, enjoy it. Jayson [Tatum], my little brother, I’m happy you made it, but I am a little pissed off about it.”
So far this season, Beal is averaging 28.6 points per game, good for sixth in the league, 6.3 assists, and 4.4 rebounds. According to NBC Sports Washington’s Chase Hughes, no player in the NBA has averaged over 28 points and not been named to the All-Star team since the 1984-85 season.
His only hope of getting named to the team now is as an injury replacement.
“I really don’t know,” Wizards center Thomas Bryant said when asked why he thought Beal didn’t get selected. “If you look at what he’s done for this program, look at what he’s done for his teammates—individually, me—as much as he’s done, his hard work, his play, day-in and day-out. This should be unexplainable. He should be a shoo-in. It’s just not right.”
Bryant added that he was “very surprised and upset” when he found out.
Isaiah Thomas called the All-Star selection process “so political.” The starters are selected by fans, current NBA players, and a media panel. The fan votes count for 50 percent, while NBA players and media members count for 25 percent each.
“Even though they did not name him an All-Star, he is an All-Star,” Thomas said. “NBA picks who they want, that’s just always how it’s going to be. We have no [national] TV games. All-Stars, they always talk about are on winning teams, but then they pick and choose who you want on the losing team. It’s like, pick a side. It’s frustrating. I don’t know one guy who averages 30 points a game and don’t make an All-Star team. That’s the best players in the NBA … There’s a few people in there who shouldn’t be in there, we know that.”
“So I feel for Brad, but he’s a great dude,” Thomas continued. “He continues to work hard. We know he is an All-Star. He knows he is an All-Star. Not being named an All-Star should not be any validation when you have played like he has.”
Wizards guard Jordan McRae also demanded a change to the voting system, tweeting that the snub was, “WACK!!!!!” On Wednesday, NBC Sports Washington published an excerpt of an interview with John Wall that echoed Thomas’ sentiments, saying that national TV exposure makes a difference in who makes the All-Star team.
“I think if you gave us 9-to-10 [national] TV games, or 15 [national] TV games before All-Star, fans will get to see who we are,” Wall said. “Don’t get me wrong. Trae Young‘s a heck of a talent. I think that’s why his fan votes are so high because they got to see him on TV a lot before All-Star votes went.”
During the game and throughout the night, Beal’s fiancée, Kamiah Adams, made her thoughts extremely clear, sending out a stream of tweets about the snub, including several that included profanities. The snub even got Beal’s agent, Mark Bartelstein, to weigh in.
“I think the Eastern Conference coaches, I think they’ve sent a horrible message,” Bartelstein wrote in a statement, which mentioned that Beal chose to sign a contract extension with the Wizards this summer. “He could’ve made a choice to be a bandwagon jumper and just go on and join a higher-level team and he would’ve been guaranteed in the all-star game. But he didn’t want to do that.”
Adams agreed. “Nothing but facts,” she tweeted in response to Bartelstein’s statement. “Just wish his back was being had more and he was being shown the same love and loyalty.”