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Celtics’ Jayson Tatum calls Wizards sharpshooter Bradley Beal his ‘big brother’

Jayson Tatum, Bradley Beal

Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum has plenty of connections now that he’s a year deep into the league, but even before he broke out as the third overall selection of the 2017 NBA Draft, his friendship with Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal could be a huge reason he owns this platform.

Tatum has been linked to LeBron James after a photo of them together when he was merely 15 years old, as well as his lifelong idol Kobe Bryant, with whom he recently worked out with during a summer session. But the Celtics rising star had already begun to take the right steps for his future by linking up with Beal.

“The guy I was really close to [growing up] was [Bradley Beal], because me and Brad are only five or six years apart,” Tatum told Bill Simmons of The Ringer. “When he was in 12th grade – we went to the same school, so my middle school was connected to his high school. He used to take me home every day after school, because we would shoot around after he would practice. And even after he got drafted, he would come home in the summertime and he would pick me up every day in the summer, take me to the gym, we’d work out, we’d go play the game, we’d go back and work out again, and he’d drop me back off at home. Sometimes I would even stay over at his house. Brad’s like my big brother.”

Beal was already lauded as the next coming of Ray Allen as a dangerous marksman at the University of Florida — a trait that didn’t take long to show in his first season in the league when he shot 38.6 percent from deep, following it with two seasons shooting at a 40 percent clip.

Tatum put in the reps as well, shooting a blistering 43 percent from beyond the arc in his first season in the league, a good nod to the endless workouts and days of repetition with another pro honing his craft.