He did land with the Wizards and chose 3, but the number he used his entire childhood wasn’t in reference to Jordan. It was a tribute to LeBron James.
“I never watched Michael Jordan growing up,” said Beal, in a recent episode of Wizards Magazine. “I grew up, ‘23’ was LeBron. I always knew about Michael Jordan, but I can’t necessarily model myself after him. I always admired LeBron and the way he played all the time when he was in Cleveland.”
Considering the legacy Jordan left in Washington and the hard feelings Wizards have towards James, giving up the number was a smart move regardless of which player Beal was wearing the number for.
Here’s the full episode of Wizards Magazine, which includes a visit to Beal hometown of St. Louis.