Bradley Beal rehabilitates wrist, local basketball court – The Washington Post

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It was early spring 2021 when Bradley Beal started noticing the world coming alive during the pandemic. That was before sports arenas were welcoming fans back, before the NBA got back in earnest, but Beal could see a change. He knew this because the public basketball courts he drove past to work were filling up again.

Soon after, a DC-based nonprofit called Hoop For All Foundation approached Beal with an idea.

The courts at the Banneker Community Center in the Columbia Heights neighborhood were in dire need of a facelift — their lines were washed out, cracks burst across the asphalt like cobwebs, and the playing surfaces were uneven. Beal, unfamiliar with the location of the courts at first, discovered that they were across from Howard University. He discovered Hoop For All, which organizes basketball tournaments and other sporting events in DC while providing onsite health care resources to people in the community. Beal agreed to sponsor the land renovation almost immediately.

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“It was a no-brainer. I loved what Hoop For All has done as an organization, raising awareness of medical issues that particularly affect the black community,” Beal said in a phone interview this month. “I liked that they were young, they didn’t necessarily have a big audience, and when I first saw the courts, it was just what the community needed. You have beautiful tennis courts there, a nice college, playground, swimming pool.The only thing missing was nice basketball courts.

On June 18, Beal will attend the groundbreaking ceremony for the newly remodeled courts, a year-long project carried out by Hoop For All with funding from Beal, the NBA players’ association and the city.

The event comes in the middle of a breakthrough summer for the Wizards’ star guard. Beal said he’s still leaning towards signing a multi-year deal with Washington worth around $250 million in July, and in the meantime he’s focused on rehab after having his cast removed in late April after an end-of-season wrist operation in February.

“Surgery went well, recovery went well. I had no problems,” Beal said.

It will be some time before Beal returns to the field. During his first month off casting, his rehabilitation focused on recovering range of motion in his left wrist and mimicking his shooting form before moving on to strength work. He watched the NBA playoffs. He is preparing for the arrival of his third child in the coming months. And he’s been keeping in touch with Tommy Sheppard, the Wizards’ president and general manager, as Sheppard prepares for the NBA Draft in June.

But above all, Beal has had plenty of time to reflect on life off the court — including his charitable endeavors and his legacy in DC. The timing of the pitch renovation seemed perfect.

“This injury also gave me a mental break, a time to assess life, and I haven’t changed my mindset,” Beal said. “I love being at DC, I love being on this team.”

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June’s ribbon cutting will include a basketball clinic as well as blood pressure checks, heart rate checks and other basic screenings that are often the first steps in identifying major health issues. . Hoop For All founders Ayo Amoo and KB Thomas, two Howard University graduates, have been running crossover health care and sports events for nearly a decade.

“Because we used our sporting events to target diseases like cancer, diabetes, heart disease, mental health, HIV/AIDS – those are the five main areas we focus on – we noticed that people just needed to be educated,” Amoo said. . “They lacked a lot of common resources that could improve their overall health profile.”

Thomas said they wanted to partner with Beal because of his high profile status in the city and his history of charity work. The guard won the NBA Cares Community Assist Award in 2019.

It was important for Hoop For All to have a local personality spearheading the project.

“I grew up like a hoop, I played Banneker when I was at Howard,” Thomas said. “When you go to the basketball court, you meet new people every time. We want the same feeling at this event, everyone coming together. It’s an opportunity to fall in love with basketball again, to fall in love with your community and to feel that your community is cared for. It’s very easy to feel left out. The #1 thing we want to show is that someone still cares about the people downtown from DC”

Says Beal: “I think that’s what the community needs, to be able to see a lot of organizations coming together for something like this. I like the fact that we realize it.

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