As part of the 10th annual Gatorade “Beat the Heat” campaign, I was given the opportunity to interview Bradley Beal and ask him a few questions about the campaign and his plans for the offseason. To learn more about the educational campaign and the importance of staying hydrated in order to help reduce heat-related illness, visit Gatorade.com.
Now, on to the interview.
First off, before I ask you anything basketball or Wizards related, how important was it for you to become the first NBA Player to represent the Gatorade Beat the Heat campaign?
It’s a blessing. It’s definitely an honor to be able to represent Gatorade and the campaign that they have now–Beat the Heat program, I’m definitely excited and thrilled about it. And the message I’m preaching is that hydration is important, because in these brutal summers in these hot jams, and whether you play football and soccer or anything like that it’s important to hydrate. Gatorade definitely preaches that and gives you the electrolytes that you need, that you lose when you’re sweating and you’re working your tail off. You need to be able to replace those, the fluids, and Gatorade is the right way to go. And that’s what they’re trying to teach these kids, these players in general because it helps prevent injuries and as long as you could replace the electrolytes it will help you to be able to play to the best of your abilities.
Awesome, now if you don’t mind, we’re going to switch to some NBA questions. After the season ended you talked about the importance of retaining all the core pieces on the team. As I’m sure you’re aware, the Wizards agreed to a deal with Marcin Gortat last night, but still have some free agents left that they’d like to retain which are still on the market which includes Trevor Ariza. How important is it that the team re-signs the key contributors for next season?
It was awesome. For one, I talked to Marcin two days ago before he got his deal and it sounded like he wanted to play with me, play with John [Wall] and play with the rest of these guys, I mean, you could hear it in his voice. I’m definitely happy for him, he is a big piece to our team, he’s a great big, and he plays his tail off every time he’s on the floor, so I’m definitely thrilled and excited to have him.
Now, we just got to work on getting Trevor [Ariza] and the rest of these guys aboard. I met with Trev, like a couple weeks ago in L.A., and he loves D.C.. He’s an L.A. guy, but I know he loves D.C. and hopefully we could get him back, because he’s a big piece to our team. Hopefully we could go from there and finish off where we left off from last year.
To follow that question up, you guys were picked to beat the Indiana Pacers in the semi-finals but fell short in 6 games. Last year, John Wall specifically talked about the importance of adding a stretch 4 during the offseason. What are some specific things that you think the Wizards could add to improve the team?
I’m not sure. I’m kind of going to leave that up to the front office, because I feel like we have all of our pieces that we need. It’s just up to us to get it done. We have to play with that confidence and swagger that we’re the best team on the floor and we have to know that, play like that.
I think we have all the guys and the pieces and the character on the team to be able to do so. It’s just up to us, like I said before, to listen to Coach [Randy] Wittman, what we’re supposed to do, play in our system and go out there to do whatever it takes to win.
So, from an individual standpoint, you think that you guys could do it from the development from you, John and the rest of the guys?
I believe so. It’s up to us, man. It’s all on our shoulders. Coach puts us in the right position, the situations to succeed and we got to go out there and get it done.
As you were just talking about growth, last year was a huge growing season for you. Obviously, you focused on your ball handling which helped create shots not only for yourself but for your teammates, so I’m wondering what part of your game you’re most focused on improving for your third season–to help you take your game to the next level and hopefully make the All-Star team next year?
The same thing. Being able to create my own shot, being able to create more space and just making the game easier for myself. Being able to knock down the floater, the mid-range jump shot and just constantly getting my percentages up. Also, making sure I’m making the right reads, the right decisions, being versatile and constantly improving my ball handling because that’s definitely what is most important.
To wrap things up, you weren’t able to participate in the USA Camp because of injury last year, but you’ll be ready to go this year. What are you most excited about with that?
I’m excited, man. I’m thrilled. Last year was kind of a bummer for me, but to be a part of it this year and to have Coach K bring me back it means a lot. I just have to go out there and prove myself, there’s going to be a lot of great guys there and I’m definitely ready for it. I just have to go out and be myself and play the right way.
I just have to show them that I can play on this team and that I could represent this country to the best of my abilities, and I’m going to do that. I’m going to do whatever it takes for me to make this team.
USA will give you an opportunity to continue growing your game, but you also talked about wanting to work out with John Wall and Otto Porter throughout the summer. Have you done that yet or do you plan on doing it when the season gets closer?
I think we’ll do it later on this month and leading up to training camp, we’ll meet up back in D.C.
For one, we’re all scattered all over the place, but I think once we get to Vegas for Summer League and after USA, we’re all going to be working out together. And that’s where we get competitive, that’s where we compete and push each other to be the best we could be. I’m definitely looking forward to it because they’re always great battles.
Besides that, do you have any more offseason plans?
Not really, hopefully I could get to a beach or something. Be able to take a little time off and just relax for a little bit.
To learn more about the Gatorade Beat the Heat campaign, visit their website.
Special thanks to Bradley Beal for answering a few of my questions and the folks that helped set this up.