How Wizards’ Bradley Beal got his ‘Big Panda’ nickname


(Michael Conroy/AP)

For months, every die-hard Wizards fan has known that the team calls Bradley Beal “Big Panda.” Players even use the phrase in conversation; “C’mon Big Panda!” John Wall once screamed when beckoning Beal to a photo shoot.

And yet Nexis has no “Bradley Beal Big Panda” hits, and if you search the Web for “Bradley Beal” and “Big Panda,” you don’t really come up with much. (Until now. Now you will come up with this story. For ever and ever, hopefully. You’re watching the hot dogs get made, even as you read to the end of this sentence.)

Anyhow, a whole lot more people are suddenly paying attention to this team, and they might want to know more about this Big Panda thing. Which is why NBC Washington’s Dianna Russini asked John Wall to explain it.

“Whenever we go out to eat, he might get the biggest meal, and he’s gonna finish it,” Wall explained. (Pandas also apparently eat a lot.) “Sometimes I’m gonna be honest and I’m like, ‘Man I can’t finish, I’ve got to take it to go,’ ” Wall continued. “He finds a way to be the only one to finish his meal.”

“You got to get your second wind,” Beal chimed in.

“He finds his second wind,” Wall agreed. “It’s like playing in Denver, he finds that second wind and he keeps going.”

(Indeed, Beal is always hungry. Observe.)

Russini also asked Wall what Beal’s favorite food is.

“He’s a big pizza guy,” Wall offered.

“Aw man, that’s right actually,” Beal agreed.

Which reminds me, I asked Beal last week if he ate all the St. Louis pizzas he received in the mail during the Bulls series.

“They sent like five; I ate two. I’ve still got three left,” he said then. “You’ve got to keep them frozen and then you just throw ‘em in the oven.”

I also asked Beal if he has any favorite D.C. foodstuffs.

(Please say half-smokes, please say half-smokes.)

“Not really, nah,” he said. “I haven’t really branched out here yet.”

Dan Steinberg writes about all things DC sports at the DC Sports Bog.
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