Breakups happen all the time in the NBA. Loyalty is not an airtight concept in pro sports because it doesn’t have to be in the first place. Business always comes first. 

That’s also the case with Bradley Beal and the Washington Wizards, with the two sides parting ways this offseason after over a decade of partnership. Beal is now with the Phoenix Suns after the Wizards sent him to the Valley along with Jordan Goodwin and Isaiah Todd for Chris Paul, Landry Shamet, and future picks.  He is now in a much better position to win an NBA championship. After spending 11 seasons in Washington where he had never been part of a team that was considered a serious title contender, he is finally on one now. Together with Kevin Durant and Devin Booker, Beal completes arguably the most lethal trio in the NBA today. 

All that being said, Beal will always be a Wizard, and that’s even if he wins a title with Phoenix or with another team down the road. It’s just hard to imagine Beal writing a more profound, more emotionally charged letter to a team than the one he wrote the Wizards via The Players’ Tribune.

“I’ll never forget the day the Wizards drafted me, because it was my 19th birthday. June 28, 2012! I remember growing up, my brothers and me, we’d talk about who was going to be the first one to buy our mom her dream house. And when my name got called at #3, we all just embraced — because we knew what that meant. My family sacrificed so many of their dreams in order to help me chase mine … and if I’m telling you about my time in DC, it starts there. The Wizards made it so those dreams could be real.”

Beal became a bona fide star in Washington. During his time with the team, he put up averages of 22.1 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 4.3 assists per game. He led the Wizards in Win Shares three times. For comparison, John Wall only had one season in which he paced the Wizards in WS.

Don’t rule out the possibility of a return by Beal to Washington, too.

“To everyone in DC: It’s bittersweet. I don’t like how “goodbye” sounds, so let’s just say ‘see you later.’ (We still got 160 to get!! You never know.) Peace, Blessings, and Prosperity to the city and fans. I hope you’ll always consider me one of your own.”