Tatum says he 'wouldn't be here' without Bradley Beal


Bradley Beal and Jayson Tatum are fierce rivals on the court, as their squads have vied for Eastern Conference supremacy over the last five years. Off the court, though, the two share a bond that has lasted since childhood, through adolescence, and finally to their stardom in the NBA.

Beal is four years older than his Celtics’ rival, but the pair grew up together in St. Louis. Tatum attended the same middle and high school as Beal, Chaminade College Prep, just a few years behind. 

“Brad’s mom was my mom’s volleyball coach in high school, and we grew up in the same neighborhood,” Tatum said on a recent episode of the Draymond Green Show. “I went to Chaminade in middle school and my first year was his last year, so when I was in seventh grade, Brad was in twelfth grade. That was really the stamp. I had a perfect role model, a perfect visualization every day, of where I wanted to go, what I wanted to be—and he was living proof.”

Beal and Tatum both earned Gatorade National Player of the Year awards during their high school days. Beal went on to spend one year as a star at the University of Florida before the Wizards drafted him third overall in 2012. Tatum went one-and-done at Duke, before getting drafted third overall by Boston in 2017. Their roads to the NBA are near perfect parallels. 


“Brad is the big brother that I didn’t have. I remember, it was either my freshman or sophomore year [of high school], like one of my spring breaks,” Tatum said. “Brad just texted me, he was like, ‘Yo, ask your mom, can you come up here and just chill with me and come to a couple games?’ I’m like, alright bet, I’m out. I went up to D.C., I spent like a week with him, him and his brothers, went to a couple games.”

Beal continued to take Tatum under his wing throughout the latter’s final years at Chaminade, his lone year at Duke, and even through the development of his pro basketball career. Now, Beal is the bonafide star of the Wizards and Tatum has turned into an MVP candidate as the two-way star of the Celtics. They have six All-Star appearances between them.

“He always was telling me that he wanted to do for me what nobody did for him. From that point on, I’ve always had nothing but love and the most respect because he didn’t have to do that,” Tatums said. “From day one, he always told me he wanted me to be better than him…I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Brad.”

Not everything revolved around basketball during their upbringing. Even future NBA stars, just like the rest of us, wanted to have fun during their teen years. Tatum even regaled Green with the story of how his mother reprimanded Beal for taking her son out for a night on the town.

“Brad was the first person to take me to the club when I was like 16. He took me to the club a couple times, my mama found out, she cussed him out, but it was all love after that,” Tatum said. “That’s the kind of relationship we had. My mom cussed Brad out in front of my house one day, like, ‘You got my son at the club, he’s still got stuff to lose,’ blah, blah, blah. It was just the principle. She wasn’t really mad, but she couldn’t act like she was cool with it. But yeah, Brad was the first person to take me to the club. We did it all.”

Now, many years later, Beal and Tatum are fully entrenched as prominent figures in American basketball. Their two clubs, Washington and Boston, face off on a Sunday matinee this weekend. Though Beal won’t play due to his wrist injury, a warm reunion between the two has been commonplace for Wizards-Celtics matchups.