Celtics

‘He’s the next face of the league’: Bradley Beal praises Jayson Tatum

"I told him that that is your goal."

Jayson Tatum gets ready to make a move with Bradley Beal guarding him. Nick Wass/AP Photo

Bradley Beal has known Jayson Tatum since Tatum was in diapers, and Beal has proudly watched him evolve from a St. Louis kid to an NBA superstar.

Beal, a standout for the Wizards, said it’s easy to forget how young Tatum is, considering how much success he’s already had. He believes Tatum is just getting started and has an even higher ceiling.

“To see him now, I’m barely growing my beard much, Jay got a full beard,” Beal said on The Draymond Green Podcast Show. “To see him grow into this young man, bro, he’s the next face of the league, and I told him that that is your goal.”

Tatum, who is averaging 27 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 4.3 assists this season — including 33.7 points on 54.2 percent shooting in his last 10 games — has helped the Celtics orchestrate a remarkable turnaround and emerge as title contenders.

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While he’s not the MVP favorite, he’s certainly entered the discussion. Beal said Tatum should be in MVP talks every year at the rate he’s playing.

Beal added that Tatum’s support system, including his mother Brandy Cole, is important, and of course Tatum’s talent and drive set him apart. He wants to make sure he maximizes every possibility.

“You have that opportunity to be the face of the league,” Beal said. “Don’t shy away from any endorsement, don’t shy away from any money thrown your way. Whatever the league wants to do, do it. This is your league, bro.”

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