The timing of Bradley Beal's exit from Team USA this summer, just days before the Olympics, seemingly couldn't have been worse. Monday's news he isn't vaccinated added more context as the reason he left was a positive coronavirus test.
But Beal doesn't look back at that time with regret because the Olympics happened to coincide with some family events he was then able to be present for.
"On the flip side, I had a lot of family adversity during that time, too, that I was able to be actually be with my family during that time. It was a blessing in disguise in a lot of ways. That’s why I say it was a good memory," Beal said.
Beal didn't detail what the adversity was, but he was also able to attend his brother's wedding. All of it helped shape his perspective on a turn of events Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard referred to as devastating.
Beal is thankful for the experience he did have, which included training camp in Las Vegas and exhibition games in the leadup to Team USA's departure for Tokyo.
"It definitely sucked, for one, not to go. But that’s out of anyone’s control, it could happen to anybody. It was an exciting opportunity, for sure, that [national team executives] Sean Ford and Jerry Colangelo afforded me. I was a part of USA Basketball since I was 15. To have that opportunity to play on the national team was a dream come true," Beal said.
"Not everybody has that opportunity, not everybody is given that. So many players are more than deserving of being on the team. It’s very tough to pick 12 guys and go over there and win a gold medal for your country. I was just thrilled to be a part of the team. I was honored for the role that I had and for the things that I was able to contribute during that exhibition time."
As Sheppard noted soon after the Olympics, Beal is young enough to likely get another shot at the next Olympics in 2024. Beal is 28 years old and just had the first All-NBA season of his career.
It is still nearly three years away, but if Beal stays healthy and remains one of the best U.S.-born guards in the NBA, he should have a chance.
"I’ll have an opportunity, hopefully in Paris, to be able to go. Hopefully in the next few years. I keep it alive," Beal said.