Aside from their injuries, Bradley Beal and Alan Anderson haven't been in the news for much this season with the Wizards. But Tuesday, the pair represented the franchise at the White House as President Obama issued an emotional speech about gun-control policy.
"When he speaks it's like a standstill. That's like a Martin Luther King speaking," said Anderson, 33, who has yet to play this season because of a surgically repaired left ankle. "You listen and he speaks from the heart. It's heartfelt. You just got to be there. Its hard to just describe it in words. Its very real."
More Wizards would've attended if they didn't have practice to prepare for the Cleveland Cavaliers who play at Verizon Center on Wednesday.
Anderson and Beal are in strong agreement with the President's position that loopholes in gun ownership and sales must be tightened.
"To stand up for a cause that's tragic in our world it was kind of a no-brainer for me to go," said Beal, who was in awe of the moment even though he previously shot baskets with the President. "It was something different. When you're on the couch and you're watching it its totally different than being there because you feel everything he's saying. You see the faces of victims, their families. You get a real sense of wow. You actually feel like you lost somebody.
"That's just how powerful everything was. It was just a humbling experience. I'm fortunate to participate."
NBA players Stephen Curry, Carmelo Anthony and Joakim Noah took part in an anti-gun ad campaign that ran on Christmas Day during nationally televised games.
Beal, 22, is from St. Louis and has been impacted by gun violence directly.
"I had a friend, a couple friends actually, from back home who were shot and killed like a year or two ago. I grew up playing sports with him, knowing his family. My mom knew him as well," said Beal, who added he was shocked when the President mentioned his home state in his speech. "It's hard because you know, being where you're from, there's violence, there's gang violence, there's everything and there's access to a gun within seconds. It can be anybody at any given point, any given time no matter who you are, where you are or what you're doing."
Beal knows that plenty will disagree with his position and tell him that as basketball player he should just keep quiet and play. But if he's an American citizen, regardless of his occupation, he realizes he's entitled to speak as he pleases. The same goes for Anderson, who has played professionally in Israel, Russia, Italy and Croatia.
"It won't bother me. If that's what you stand for, that's what you stand for. Whatever I stand for, I stand strong on it," Beal said. "You can't move me one way or another. It's better for the world, why would you want to support something that's so traumatizing? We need to do what the President said, what's logical common sense to do and just help better the laws and help fix this country.
"Like he said it's not us just taking guns away. It's being smart about who you give a gun to. Who has access to guns, kids included."
Coach Randy Wittman was reluctant to discuss the topic.
"I'm not getting into politics. There's too much of that (expletive) going on now. I turn the TV off," Wittman said. "We've got a lot of problems that need to be addressed. It's not one thing or another. That's what makes the President's job so hard. I'm not one that's going to sit on a podium and preach what my beliefs are."
The mass shootings in recent years, from Aurora, Colo.; Newton, Conn; Charleston, S.C.; San Bernadino, Calif.; and even in D.C. at the Navy Yard, are too much to be ignored for Anderson.
"It could be anybody. It could be our mom, our son, our daughter," he said. "Why wouldn't you want to make it more safe for everybody?"