CHARLOTTE -- There were some distinct differences for Bradley Beal between his second All-Star Game and his first. On Sunday in Charlotte, his second go-around, he didn't experience the jitters he got one year ago in Los Angeles.
"I was more comfortable. I wasn't even nervous. Even intros, everything just felt like I belong," Beal said.
He also noticed the effects of being a two-time All-Star. After checking in late in the third quarter, he ran over to the sideline to shake hands with some celebrities during a TV timeout.
To his surprise, he needed no introduction.
"Never in a million years did I think Chris Tucker would know my name, let alone J. Cole and all these other guys. It's amazing," Beal said.
Beal happens to be a big fan of both Tucker and Cole. He says he can quote all of Tucker's movies like Rush Hour, Friday and Money Talks.
Cole is also his favorite rapper. Beal saw him perform when he was in high school back in 2011 at the Jordan Brand Classic. Little did he know their paths would cross again.
Cole performed at halftime of the All-Star Game and, though Beal had seen him before, he didn't want to miss it. Some fans pointed out on Twitter that he returned for the second half without the headband he had in the first. The prevailing theory was that he wanted to change things up because he was 0-for-5 from the field.
No, that wasn't the reason.
"I was going to throw it back on, but they said J. Cole was performing. I sprinted out and forgot my headband," Beal said.
Beal didn't have his best game. He went 4-for-11 with 11 points and three assists. His highlights included a steal against Khris Middleton and a fastbreak dunk.
The slam included a few extra steps as he hesitated when he got the ball before dribbling to the rim. That had some on social media comparing it to his infamous travel from last week against the Pistons.
Beal laughed at the connection and quipped that fans can nickname him the 'Walking Bucket.'
Even after all the events on Friday, the media frenzy on Saturday and the pomp and circumstance of Sunday's game, Beal was engaging with the media and smiling as he spoke. Last year, he was dead-tired by the end of it all. Now, he's an All-Star veteran.
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