Washington Wizards: Bradley Beal echoes Kobe Bryant as Wizards get hot

Washington Wizards Bradley Beal. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Washington Wizards Bradley Beal. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports /

Bradley Beal’s postgame remarks after the Washington Wizards defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves sounded a lot like something we’d hear from one of the greatest competitors in NBA history.

After the Washington Wizards beat the Minnesota Timberwolves, their seventh win in eight games, Bradley Beal made one thing clear. And it had nothing to do with Josh Okogie.

Yes, the Wizards have looked like a playoff team in February after looking like a sure-fire lottery team in December and January. Yes, they’re just a couple of games out of the playoffs and less than four games from securing home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs. But there are still 40 games left in the season, and Bradley Beal isn’t losing sight of the finish line.

When asked about the win, and the Wizards’ recent string of success, Beal made it clear that he’s not satisfied yet.

"It’s big for our team. It’s big for everybody, confidence-wise…but at the same time we still know we haven’t done much. We haven’t done anything. That’s what I keep telling our guys. We still have a lot of work to do. A lot of things we need to get better at and clean up. And we still have to win more games. That’s the ultimate goal."

When I heard this, I couldn’t help but think of one man; Kobe Bryant. After Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers went up 2-0 on the Orlando Magic in the 2009 NBA Finals, Kobe Bryant gave one of the most quintessential ‘Mamba Mentality’ quotes of all time.

Bradley Beal is already scoring like Kobe Bryant. Now he’s starting to sound like him, too.

When asked for a smile by a reporter in his postgame press conference, a stone-faced Bryant responded. “What’s there to be happy about…Job’s not finished. Job finished? I don’t think so.” You can see the legendary exchange below.

By no means am I comparing the 2020-21 Washington Wizards to the 2008-09 Los Angeles Lakers. Nor am I putting Beal in Kobe’s class. But there’s no denying the similarities between the two quotes. Beal is starting to look Kobe-esque on the court with nightly 30-point performances, but any off-the-court Kobe-isms are just as welcome as he continues to grow as a leader and face of the franchise.

Plus, Beal is right. There are still 40 games left to go this season. Since Beal’s comments, the Wizards have lost to Boston Celtics. They’re still on the wrong side of .500 (13-19) and on the outside looking in at the playoff picture. They really haven’t done anything yet. The recent success is great, but it will mean nothing if the Wizards can’t sustain it well beyond the month of February.

Next. Bradley Beal trade feels as unlikely as ever. dark