By the time Al Harrington signed with the Wizards, the NBA already announced Washington would play a preseason game in Brazil. There were obvious basketball reasons for the 15-year veteran to join up. Any chance a free trip to South America factored into the decision.
"You know what, man?," said a stone faced Harrington before breaking into a large grin a couple of days before the Wizards left the country. "Nah, it didn't have nothing to do with it. We're bring our families and stuff, so it's going to be a good trip. Good bonding time for not only the guys but the wives and stuff. So we're looking forward to it."
Based on his Instagram account, Harrington and teammates like his "nephew" Bradley Beal are indeed having a good trip. It officially turns back into a business trip on Saturday as the Wizards face Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls.
**NBATV has the game starting at 5 p.m.**
Even after all these years in the league, the business of basketball remains a constant in Harrington's thoughts and a reason for his longevity.
"You can't take nothing for granted in this game," said Harrington, who at 33 is the oldest player on the team "I've seen a lot of guys more talented than I am fall by the wayside. So for me, I feel like I'm always in a contract year. Mentally, that's the way I attack every season. I always got something to prove. I'm always just trying to get ahead and I think that's what allowed me to be here this long, is by me having that attitude."
Harrington scored nine points in 14 minutes against the Nets in the season opener. The Wizards sought out the veteran big man because of his stretch-four capabilities. Harrington can also help at center, a key with Emeka Okafor sidelined.
"Coach hasn't really gotten into roles yet, but those things will be predetermined by the way we play in the game and that's all you can ask," Harrington said. "You want to battle and compete for your minutes. And that's an environment I'm comfortable in, so I take it seriously and when I go out there, I bring it every day and all these guys bring it to, so we're just pushing each other."