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Slam Magazine Jayson Tatum cover story illustrates how Bradley Beal helped launch rising star's NBA career

Alex Reimer
October 11, 2018 - 12:53 pm

Jayson Tatum is mature beyond his years on the basketball court, and Wizards guard Bradley Beal helped get it all started. 

Tatum is on the cover of Slam Magazine's 2018 NBA preview, where he’s billed as one of the league's next great superstars. The article, “Jayson Tatum Was Sent to Destroy Your Favorite Team,” chronicles the forward’s incredible rise, laying forth high expectations for the upcoming season. The piece explores how Tatum always wanted to play professional basketball, even though his second grade classmates laughed in his face. 

Beal emerges as an influential figure in Tatum’s basketball development. As a 13 year old, Tatum wanted to work with trainer Drew Hanlen, a friend of the family’s who worked with elite NBA players. But Hanlen rejected Tatum’s mother’s overtures, saying her lanky son wasn’t ready yet. That’s when Brandy Cole deployed another family friend, Bradley Beal, on the mission. The veteran guard, who was preparing for his rookie season with the Wizards, vouched Tatum. Though the boy endured some tough workouts, Hanlen says he knew Tatum was going to be a player.

“I absolutely destroyed him,” Hanlen recalls about one of their first sessions. “I almost tried to make him pass out. Like he was literally on the floor, almost dying.”

But Tatum wouldn’t quit, telling his mother he would’ve “passed out” and “fainted” before doing so. That’s when Hanlen said he knew Tatum possessed “the menality” to make it.

Seven years later, Tatum is on the cusp of stardom, and looks poised to torment the Eastern Conference for seasons to come. One must wonder if Beal, who’s still with the Wizards, now wonders if he should’ve been a little less helpful.