Gators in NBA: Beal finalist for community award

Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

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WASHINGTON — Bradley Beal’s Washington Wizards were irrelevant long ago this season. He still had some personal business to take care of.

Beal (University of Florida) became the first player in Wizards franchise history to average at least 25 points, five rebounds and five assists, while appearing in all 82 games for the second consecutive season.

“It was kind of a relief, in a way,” Beal said earlier this month. “That’s another milestone accomplished. Granted, we didn’t have the season we wanted.”

Eliminated a while ago and bound for the draft lottery, the Wizards wound up 32-50, their most losses since going 29-53 in 2012-13. Team president Ernie Grunfeld was fired last week after 16 years in charge.

John Wall and Dwight Howard both missed most of the season with injuries.

“A lot of ups and downs,” Beal said. “A lot of inconsistencies.”

What hasn’t been inconsistent has been Beal’s contributions to his community.

The NBA announced Wednesday Beal has been named as a finalist for the 2018-19 Seasonlong NBA Cares Community Assist Award presented by Kaiser Permanente.

Chosen by fans and an NBA executive panel, the seasonlong award honors a player’s strong commitment to positively impacting his community through sustained efforts over the course of the season. Highlights of Beal’s work in the community throughout the season can be seen here.

“I’m honored to be named as one of the finalists for the Seasonlong NBA Community Assist Award,” said Beal. “Coming into this season, I made it a priority to make an impact on the youth in the Washington, D.C. community. The connection I have made with the students at Ron Brown College Preparatory High School means the world to me, and I look forward to expanding on our relationship for many years to come.”

Fans can vote for Beal via Jebbit, where they can view and select videos highlighting his impact, or on Twitter by using #NBACommunityAssist and @RealDealBeal23 or #BradleyBeal. Retweets are also counted and votes cast on the first and last day (April 24 and May 5) will count twice towards a player’s total. Fan voting for the award will begin today on social media at 12:01 p.m. and conclude on Sunday, May 5, at 11:59 p.m. The winner will be announced at the 2019 NBA Awards presented by Kia on Monday, June 24, on TNT live from historic Barker Hangar in Santa Monica.

Along with Beal, the other nominees for the award are Jarrett Allen (Brooklyn), Mike Conley (Memphis), Tobias Harris (Philadelphia), LeBron James (L.A. Lakers), Damian Lillard (Portland), Khris Middleton (Milwaukee), Donovan Mitchell (Utah), Dwight Powell (Dallas), and Pascal Siakam (Toronto). The 10 nominees include the offseason winner, six monthly winners and three additional players (including Beal) selected by the NBA for their exceptional community work. The winning player will receive $25,000 to their charity of choice, a donation from the NBA and Kaiser Permanente.