One positive from what has been a trying season for the Wizards overall has been the newfound success for Bradley Beal in NBA All-Star fan voting. After being a well-publicized All-Star snub last season, Beal is now leading all Eastern Conference guards in votes through two rounds, which has him on pace to start the All-Star game for the first time in his career.
Beal, in fact, already has more votes than any player in Wizards/Bullets history. The fan voting process goes all the way back to 1975, and no one has even come within a million votes of Beal's current total. He already has 2,528,719 votes, and ballots can continue to be cast until 11:59 pm ET on February 16. The starters will then be announced two days later.
These days, with social media, it is both easier to vote and possible to vote many times. There are even days where votes count twice. So, the pure volume of votes is much larger now than it was in the past.
Still, Beal's popularity stands out relative to the Wizards' past. Only four times before has a Wizards/Bullets player led their position group in votes. John Wall did that in 2015, Michael Jordan did the same in 2002, and Moses Malone led all East centers in both 1987 and 1988.
Only five players have ever started the All-Star game while representing the franchise, totaling only seven times. Wall, Jordan and Malone got the honor, as well as Gilbert Arenas (2007) and Elvin Hayes (1975, 1976).
In terms of vote totals, here's a glimpse at where Beal's 2.5 million-plus rank already so far:
Bradley Beal, 2021 - 2,528,719 (1st among East guards and counting)
Gilbert Arenas, 2007 - 1,454,166 (2nd among East guards)
Michael Jordan, 2003 - 1,082,909 (3rd among East guards)
Michael Jordan, 2002 - 985,448 (1st among East guards)
John Wall, 2015 - 886,368 (1st among East guards)
Beal's improvement in All-Star voting has been exponential over the years. He has already more than tripled his total vote count from last season and has more than eight times his number from the year before.
Beal's vote totals by year:
2021 - 2,528,719 (1st among East guards and counting)
2020 - 805,276 (9th)
2019 - 346,027 (10th)
2018 - 269,238 (9th)
2017 - 48,243 (14th)
As for the reason why Beal is getting a lot more love from All-Star voters, there seem to be a wide range of theories. Certainly, leading the NBA in scoring has helped his cause. He also received a lot of attention for scoring 60 points in a game this year, and he likely had his profile raised by other factors like signing with Jordan Brand, being a well-publicized All-Star snub last year and the subject of national trade rumors.
Whatever the reasons, the numbers are showing a clear rise for Beal, who is now becoming one of the most popular players both in the NBA and in Wizards/Bullets franchise history.