When the Los Angeles Lakers agreed to a deal with former No. 2 overall pick Michael Beasley on Friday, the signing was met with a flurry of jokes and jabs directed at the 29-year-old and his fit with the already eccentric cast of characters in L.A.’s locker room.
While most of the jokes were made in good fun, Beasley himself isn’t a fan of the narrative surrounding him and his teammates going into the season, and he especially doesn’t appreciate that the media have also seemingly joined in on the storyline.
Here’s what Beasley had to say to Tania Ganguli of the L.A. Times about what he feels the media’s role in covering players should be:
“If everybody does their job right and stops judging some players, me mainly, you’ll figure out that guys like me and Nick Young and JR Smith and Lance Stephenson and guys like that actually know how to win basketball games and actually know how to get along with others.”
Some of Beasley’s new teammates can also be lumped into that crowd of players with less than favorable reputations in the NBA, including Rajon Rondo, JaVale McGee and Lance Stephenson.
However, despite their reputations, Beasley isn’t the least bit worried about how he and his new teammates will get along and doesn’t think it should be a legitimate concern for anyone else either.
Beasley also responded strongly when @taniaganguli asked about the potential for drama in the Lakers locker room: "For that to even be a narrative of the personalities in this room is judgment enough for me, and I just don’t want to be a part of it."— Bill Oram (@billoram) July 23, 2018
My ? was more about the narrative that there's a potential for drama. At the end off the call, Beasley added "I just want to let y’all know I’m not trying to be difficult or anything like that, I just wanted to make the interview about having fun and playing basketball." https://t.co/HXs6v2A4gT— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) July 23, 2018
To an extent, Beasley’s right to feel the way he does. A player’s reputation can be the difference between an NBA contract and playing overseas.
We’ve seen this with players like McGee, whose NBA career was almost derailed in part due to constant public teasing from Shaq. Ultimately McGee’s talent won out, but not all players get so lucky.
That being said, it’s worth noting that Beasley’s “bad boy” reputation didn’t just appear out of thin air. Beasley’s fall from heralded NBA prospect to fringe role player had more to do with his own personal problems, some marijuana-related, than the way the media portrayed him.
He’s also far from a perfect player on the court, which also played a huge factor in how he’s viewed among NBA fans.
But aside from a handful bonehead plays and the occasional “What the hell did I just watch?” interview, Beasley really isn’t a problem and hasn’t been for the last few years.
Sure, he might always be a walking meme, but at this point in his life, he’s more than earned the right to not have his character questioned.
You can follow this author on Twitter at @RadRivas.