Washington Wizards star Bradley Beal has revealed that Dwyane Wade is part of the reason he wears the No.3 jersey.
The six-year shooting guard went up against the Miami Heat legend on Friday night and approached him for his jersey after the game. Wade happily obliged.
The 36-year-old is playing out his final NBA season and has been giving away his game-worn Jersey at the end of every game he plays. But Beal made sure that he was the one who got to feature in a shirt swap with the three-time champion on Friday and has since revealed that he wears the 3 because of the inspiration he received from the outgoing superstar.
"He's part of the reason why I wear No. 3 and for the first time I told him that tonight." - Bradley Beal on exchanging jerseys with one of his basketball idols, Dwyane Wade. pic.twitter.com/QJ6WPrg3b0— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) January 5, 2019
“I basically called him my idol. ‘Thank you, thank you,’” Beal told The Athletic. “That’s pretty much what I said, because you paved the way for me. You paved the way for a lot of us in today’s game.
“(Wade is) part of the reason I wear No. 3, and for the first time, I told him that tonight,” Beal said. “I’ve never told him that all the years I’ve played against him. But he’s part of the reason I wear the number. It means a lot to me to be able to wear his jersey, because he has three championships, is one of the best 2-guards to ever play. And I’m happy that I was able to compete against him.”
Beal admitted that he nearly lost his mind when he received the jersey from the player whom he considers his idol.
“Man, (the 14-year-old version of me) probably would’ve lost his mind. I almost lost mine,” he continued. “I tried not to lose my mind when he first gave it to me, because it’s unbelievable, because you try not to be a fan, but I am a fan. I’m a huge fan of his game. And I try to predicate a little bit of my game off of his. This is probably the first time I’m actually saying that. But yeah, he’s a legend.
“To see his hard work and (to see him) play as long as he did in one organization — granted, he went to Chicago, but still one organization — he meant everything to this city and this team,” Beal said. “That’s kinda the legacy I want to leave, too.
“I learned a lot, man, just by the way (Wade) moves, (the way) he carries himself. He carries himself like a pro,” Beal said. “He’s one of the best to ever do it. He’s not cocky with it. He does it in a humble way, and he’s still able to do what he does at this age. It’s amazing. Everything that he’s been through, people talk about him, but he’s still here, he’s still competing with the best of us, and I have nothing but respect for him, his game, his legacy.”
Dwyane Wade and Bradley Beal had a moment postgame -- with Beal telling Wade that he was his idol.— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) January 5, 2019
"It meant a lot," Wade said. "When he said it, I thanked him and I hope I was good enough role model for him." pic.twitter.com/T3rYqdDbxD
What This Means
Wade's farewell tour has been something to marvel at. The veteran guard has been one of the most unselfish stars in the league, something underpinned by the fact that he was always willing to accept a lot less money than he deserved for the good of Miami.
By giving away his jerseys, he's simply wishing to be remembered as one of the stand-up guys who played the game. And you could tell fans are in his corner by the number of All-Star votes he's received so far.