Long before they became stars in their respective fields, the rapper Nelly and Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal were just a pair of kids walking to school together. Per the WaPo:
Most know him as Nelly, platinum-selling rapper and part owner of the Charlotte Bobcats. Bradley Beal also knows him as Cornell Haynes, the family friend who would occasionally walk him to elementary school before hitting it big. Nelly was a former star athlete at University City High in suburban St. Louis, where Beal’s mother, Besta, was a physical education teacher and athletic director. So, Beal can’t remember the first time he met Nelly, only that it was “ages ago.”
“I knew who we was, but I didn’t know,” Beal said of the now 39-year-old Nelly. “He used to walk me to school sometimes, when I was a little kid. He wasn’t as big as he is now, but he was an up-and-coming rapper and eventually ‘Country Grammar’ came out” in 2000.
Even Wizards television broadcaster Steve Buckhantz is aware of Nelly these days and tried to pass along his knowledge to partner Phil Chenier after spotting him seated courtside during Washington’s 97-83 victory over the Bobcats at Tim Warner Cable Arena. But Tuesday’s victory also was the first time that Beal could remember Nelly actually attending one of his games – and he bounced back from a slump with 21 points on 10 of 18 shooting.
“Yeah, I needed him to be able to show up to games,” Beal said with a laugh, when asked about Nelly, “but nah, I just stayed with it. My teammates did a great job of setting me up. And I was shooting the ball with a lot of confidence and was fortunate to get a couple to fall.”