Jayson Tatum and Bradley Beal have known each other for many years. So it’s worth noting that Beal and Tatum can joke around a lot.
On an Instagram chat this week, Beal poked at Tatum’s collegiate choice when he was coming out of Chaminade College Prep in Creve Coeur, Missouri, right outside of St. Louis. It’s the same high school that Beal, who went to Florida, attended five years before Tatum.
The pair were discussing the decision by prospect Jalen Green to forgo college and instead enter into the G-League’s developmental program, which will allow Green to play for a G-League team and receive NBA-level development before entering the draft in 2021. Green was reportedly given a $500,000 contract to join the league.
Tatum told Beal that if he’d had that option before deciding to go to Duke, he’d probably still have been a Blue Devil.
As The Athletic’s Wizards writer Fred Katz noted, Beal responded with, “So Duke gave you $600K?”
To which Tatum said, “Hey, Duke might be the only stand-up school in the country.”
And Beal had the last word: “Listen man, I was born, but I wasn’t born yesterday.”
Beal and Tatum: Long History Together
Tatum and Beal’s histories are intertwined. Not only did Beal and Tatum both attend Chaminade, but both won state championships there. Beal led the Red Devils to the 2009 championship, a run that included a miracle comeback from a 55-37 deficit, with Beal scoring 15 points in the final 8 minutes of the state semifinals to beat Rock Bridge High School by one point.
Tatum’s Chaminade Class of 2016, which included top recruit Tyler Cook (who had a brief stint with the Cavaliers this season) was expected to match that feat multiple times but suffered playoff setbacks each of his first three seasons. Tatum was a wrecking ball in the state tournament, though, scoring 40 points with 14 rebounds in the championship game as the Devils won their four postseason games by an average of 22.0 points.
And their roots together go even deeper. In the 1990s, Beal’s mother, Besta Beal, coached volleyball at University City High in St. Louis. One of her players was Brandy Cole—mother of none other than Jayson Tatum.
Both players grew up to be All-Stars, and Beal has been a mentor to Tatum going back to before his NBA career began.
“When you think about it, Jayson looked up to Brad — and continues to look up to Brad in so many different ways,” Chaminade coach Frank Bennett told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in 2017, ahead of Tatum being drafted into the NBA. “And rightfully so, because Brad’s the man, you know? So he kind of showed Jayson the ropes a little bit. So for the young guy to go up against the vet? You won’t be able to get me away from the TV when that game is on.”
Beal, Tatum Helping St. Louis Food Bank
Tatum and Beal announced recently that they’re teaming up to help the St. Louis Area Food Bank and will match donations made to the organization. Tatum has pledged $250,000 and Beal will match another $250,000.
“Just trying to find a way that I could be of some assistance during this time,” Tatum said, according to the Boston Globe. “Always trying to find a way to give back.”