For those who were perhaps not overly familiar with BearDaBeast at the season’s onset, it didn’t take long for the T-Wolves Gaming rookie point guard to introduce himself to the world.
“I don’t care about a demon, an angel JT, a Dayfri, a Friday, a Saturday. They’re about to get the 2-for-1 special and get that smoke,” he said, referring to his upcoming opponents, Demon JT and Dayfri of Wizards District Gaming, in an interview on the league broadcast during THE TIPOFF.
In that moment, a star was born. He immediately became recognizable as supplier of the league’s best soundbites, tying in ad-libs and trash talk in rapid succession in showcasing his one-of-a-kind personality. He hasn’t turned off the bravado ever since.
So, just who is BearDaBeast? From dealing with the disappointment of not making the league in Season 1 to his now infamous turn as a Man on the Street host, here are seven things that help define the North Carolina native.
He used last year’s minor setback for a major comeback
“Going back to last year, I played with a lot of the guys that made the 102. I knew I could play with them, so when it came to making the cut to get into the league and I wasn’t the guy to get in, it was devastating. It hurt, just knowing you can compete with people and you’re good enough to play with them but you just didn’t make the cut. That was a tough pill to swallow.”
“Adversity hits, so that’s where true character comes out. It was never a moment to stop and think, let’s quit, let’s give up. It was more a moment of what do I need to do to improve? I know I can compete with them, I already proved I can beat these guys. So it was, how do I make myself better, how do I get myself noticed even more outside of just playing 2K? At the end of the day, it’s a business.”
His super-sized personality comes from his father
“My dad is like that. I grew up with my father, and my father was a salesman. So seeing his personality, he could talk to anybody. He could talk a cat off a fish truck. He literally could speak to anyone, it didn’t matter. He later became a pastor, so being a salesman, being a pastor you’re used to talking and being around a lot of people. I give all of that to him. So before I got to the 2K League I was selling myself, I was selling mattresses and furniture. Just being able to speak to people, just being able to read people and understand the supply and demand, figuring out who the audience is and that type of thing. If you see two people and one is smiling and the other has a frown on his face and you’re in a happy mood, you’re going to be more inclined to talk to the guy that’s smiling. You’re going to approach them more. So that’s kinda how I look at it.”
He was born to be in front of a camera
“I’m not a shy person. Once you get somebody out of their comfort zone, I think there could be a lot of stars in this league. There are a lot of guys who don’t speak up as much and that I actually know are shy in front of a camera but have amazing personalities off the camera. It’s like, what’s the difference? The only thing is there is a (camera) in front of your face, but nothing changes at all. I wish I knew what I knew now. Me and my buddy hung out every single day for five, six years straight and we filmed everything. I have so many videos from that, so that’s probably my training from that. We had Snapchat way back, about 10 years ago.”
“The Timberwolves have done a great job of recognizing who to put in place and recognizing what our audience wants. The audience wants to get to know the players, so with me and the Timberwolves it’s like a perfect mix. They’re ready to do content and I just want to be in front of the camera at all times. I can play the game all day, shoot content, shower, sleep, wake up and do it again. The Man on the Street stuff is just to spread awareness on 2K. I’ve sat back and watched the league for a year, so I wanted to not only get into the league, but make an impact. One of the perfect situations for me was that, where I can go out and have a little fun, joke with people, interview them, but at the same time spread awareness on 2K for people who haven’t heard about it. Just being able to spread the awareness and put my personality on camera is a perfect mix.”
He’s having the time of his life
“I’m having a blast, I’m not going to lie. I had a whole year to sit back and watch, and it’s like ‘man, I want to be there.’ I had a whole year to wait and watch them do it. One of the cool things going into next year is some guy is going to have that built up for two years going into Season 3. I know that feeling of wanting to be there and when that opportunity comes, don’t take it for granted. Everything right now, I don’t want to live in the past and I don’t want to look too far in the future. This is a moment that I want to soak in, I want to enjoy this. It’s amazing, I’m not going to lie. We like being here, the environment is amazing. It’s completely different than what I thought when I got here. The love that I received makes the experience so much better.”
He’s comfortable in his own skin
“There was like the hype man for THE TURN (in Las Vegas), he’s trying to get the crowd to stand up. I’m like ‘give me the mic and get out of the way.’ So I got the mic when they were having that live musical performance. I got people on their feet for two or three minutes. It wasn’t like the biggest moment, but to me it was a great moment because a lot of these guys have personalities. I don’t care about the next man’s opinion. There is only one BearDaBeast in the world. I don’t want to shy away from that, I want to embrace that, I want to own who I am. Just accept it and roll with the punches. All the players sitting down before were standing up. They got out of their comfort zone, they were standing up. (My teammate) JoJo was on stage, he’s doing the goofy dancing. I get to see it every day, so that fact that everyone else gets to see it was amazing. That was probably my favorite moment this year.”
Best dance moves of the day go to @NachoTraynor🕺
— NBA 2K League (@NBA2KLeague) May 9, 2019
He’s formed a brotherhood in Minnesota
“We’ve had a lot of things happen. Adversity hits, you have two options: you tuck tail and run or you can stand up and fight. There is no way I will run from this situation or quit or back down. I’m not going to lie and say it’s been easy, there’s a reason people make plan B, C and D because plan A doesn’t always work. I understand that. The guys that we have and the people that have been put in position right now is amazing. It was a moment for our guys, it could have made us or broke our bond. We didn’t leave each other, everyone could have went their own ways. The team chose to stay together. Through that adversity, it made this group of guys bond and get even tighter. I’m closer with these guys than people I’ve known for years throughout my life and I’ve only known these guys for a couple of months. It just speaks volumes to the type of people that they are. We’ve still got a fighting chance and I don’t think these guys will ever quit, so I couldn’t ask for better teammates.”
He hopes to be an example for future league hopefuls
“Let’s go back to last year, I was a guy who quote-unquote was unmarketable, can’t market that guy, I’d be bad for a team to take a chance on me. Everyone was doubting me in that aspect. It wasn’t a factor of talent level, it was a factor of marketability. I just want people when I leave to get it, you don’t quit, you never give up no matter how hard the situation looks. If you keep fighting you can achieve it. That’s probably the biggest thing that I want people to grasp. Just never quit, you can push through it. And that relates to so many things in life. Always push forward, you can apply that to anything in life.”