Wall, Beal the New Faces of Mural at Ben’s Chili Bowl

Washington Wizards guards John Wall (left) and Bradley Beal stand in front a mural depicting the two outside Ben's Chili Bowl in northwest D.C. on April 13. (William J. Ford/The Washington Informer)
Washington Wizards guards John Wall (left) and Bradley Beal stand in front a mural depicting the two outside Ben's Chili Bowl in northwest D.C. on April 13. (William J. Ford/The Washington Informer)

A mural on the wall of Ben’s Chili Bowl in northwest D.C. now showcases Washington Wizards guards John Wall and Bradley Beal, just in time for the team’s playoff run.

The two shooting stars stood outside the iconic eatery Thursday, marveling at the painting while dozens of fans cheered.

The diner remains a local attraction in the area where former President Barack Obama occasionally stopped by. The temporary Wizards mural — featuring the two clad in the team’s Stars and Stripes uniforms — replaces the previous painting of Obama, Bill Cosby, late D.C. music icon Chuck Brown and local radio host Donnie Simpson.

“It’s surreal to look up and you think about certain things and wonder how you got here,” Wall said. “It’s definitely an honor to be in a mural on the wall of Ben’s Chili Bowl in a landmark spot of D.C. It’s cool to see all the fans giving us this support.”

Washington Wizards guards John Wall and Bradley Beal pose with the Ali family, owners of Ben's Chili Bowl, outside the northwest D.C. eatery on April 13. A mural depicting the two stars now adorns a wall outside the local landmark. (William J. Ford/The Washington Informer)
Washington Wizards guards John Wall (third from left) and Bradley Beal (third from right) pose with the Ali family, owners of Ben’s Chili Bowl, outside the northwest D.C. eatery on April 13. A mural depicting the two stars now adorns a wall outside the local landmark. (William J. Ford/The Washington Informer)

Meanwhile Wall and Beal are readying for Game 1 of the team’s first-round playoff matchup against the Atlanta Hawks at Verizon Center on Sunday. The Wizards seek payback after the Hawks defeated them two years ago in the Eastern Conference semifinals when an injury forced Wall to miss the final three games of the series.

“We’re very excited for it,” Wall said. “The last two playoff [runs] we played, we started on the road, so to get a home game to begin it is great. This is a different ballgame in the playoffs. Every possession counts and you have a different focus. There’s no joking around. You have to lock in.”

Wall and Beal signed hats, basketballs and jerseys and even took a few selfies with fans such as Mark Bellinger of Northwest.

“Seeing Brad is cool [but] I came to see my man John,” said Bellinger, 24. “I’ve followed his career since he’s been in the NBA.”

Afterward, the backcourt duo walked inside and chatted with the Ali family, owners of the diner, and some of the workers.

While Wall and Beal perused the diner, former Washington Bullets legend Phil Chenier arrived and stood outside to take a picture and sign a Gilbert Arenas Bullets jersey worn by Jerry Dessy of Beltsville, Maryland.

Although Dessy, 19, never saw Chenier’s silky-smooth jump shot, he listens to him and Steve Buckhantz broadcasts games on CSN Mid-Atlantic. The broadcast duo of 20 years worked their last regular-season game together Wednesday in Miami, as Chenier will go on to conduct other work for CSN and Monumental Sports & Entertainment.

“I’ve heard [Chenier] and Steve Buckhantz my whole life. To see him in person was amazing,” said Dessy, who’s confident the Wizards will beat the Hawks. “I also got John Wall to sign my jersey, so it has been a great day.”

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About William J. Ford – Washington Informer Staff Writer 334 Articles
I decided I wanted to become a better writer while attending Bowie State University and figured that writing for the school newspaper would help. I’m not sure how much it helped, but I enjoyed it so much I decided to keep on doing it, which I still thoroughly enjoy 20 years later. If I weren’t a journalist, I would coach youth basketball. Actually, I still play basketball, or at least try to play, once a week. My kryptonite is peanut butter. What makes me happy – seeing my son and two godchildren grow up. On the other hand, a bad call made by an official during a football or basketball game makes me throw up my hands and scream. Favorite foods include pancakes and scrambled eggs which I could eat 24-7. The strangest thing that’s ever happened to me, or more accurately the most painful, was when I was hit by a car on Lancaster Avenue in Philadelphia. If I had the power or money to change the world, I’d make sure everyone had three meals a day. And while I don’t have a motto or favorite quote, I continue to laugh which keeps me from driving myself crazy. You can reach me several ways: Twitter @jabariwill, Instagram will_iam.ford2281 or e-mail, wford@washingtoninformer.com