Canadian Andrew Wiggins returns home an NBA champion


Hundreds of kids saw the Larry O’Brien Trophy and got to meet a real, live NBA champion up close on Saturday, and that’s neat and will provide memories that may last a lifetime.

But what the few hundred local youths need to take away from a weekend of interactions with Andrew Wiggins goes much deeper than any basketball skills or tricks they may have picked up, and will last longer than a brief meeting on a sweltering summer weekend.

What they should take away is that the Golden State Warriors all-star is the embodiment of staying above the fray and true to yourself, relying on a small, tight circle of friends and family to help block out the noise and negativity.

“I feel great,” Wiggins said Saturday during a break in two days of youth camps in Vaughan and Mississauga. “There’s been a lot of ups and downs, a lot of people had counted me out, but to be back and … winning a championship? All the sacrifices, all the ups and downs, all the stuff was worth it. It makes the story that much better.”

The story has been fantastic, even if at one point it seemed unlikely.

The 27-year-old Wiggins came in for more than his share of scorn and ridicule in 5 1/2 seasons with the perennially adrift Minnesota Timberwolves before a trade to the more stable and exponentially more successful Golden State franchise, where he has been surrounded by all-stars and champions and future Hall of Famers who coaxed more out of the first overall pick from the 2014 NBA draft.

Wiggins — who was born in Toronto and raised in Vaughan — has thrived in San Francisco as a player and a person. He was a vital cog in the Warriors’ six-game victory over the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals in June, and a conquering hero back among friends and family this weekend.

“When I step on the court, I’ve always been confident in what I can do,” he said. “When I was in Minnesota, I put up numbers. But people said, ‘He put up numbers on a bad team.’ So, I go to Golden State and I’m not scoring as much, but I’m doing a lot at a more efficient rate, so the whole world gets to see.”

The trip home was a celebration of an NBA title, sure. It was also a celebration of Wiggins’s belief in himself when so many others didn’t.

“It’s good morals,” he said. “Not letting little things bother me. I’ve always been one to not really care what people think too much … I listen to my family, I listen to my friends and God. The circle is tight; that’s the way it’s always been.

“I can go home and I can talk to my mom (former Olympic track star Marita Payne). I can talk to my dad (ex-NBAer Mitchell Wiggins), my brothers, my sister. We’re a really tight family and I have them to lean on if I need anything. That’s my support group right there.”

The support group was supplanted by a group of star-struck fans who got to see Wiggins and the trophy on Friday and Saturday.

He made a triumphant return to Vaughan for an outdoor event at his old stomping grounds on Friday, then posed for pictures and hung out with kids at a Life Time Fitness facility in Mississauga on Saturday.

Sitting next to the trophy for a short conversation — laughing and joking with everyone around — it was clear how satisfied, happy, proud he was.

In himself and for being able to share his success.

“It’s been a different type of summer, but the best summer of my life,” he said. “It’s been amazing coming down here and feeling all this love and positivity. It’s been great. Just being able to bring the trophy back home to where it all started for me … where all my friends and family are that helped me get to the place where I’m at now.”

Wiggins was one of the big hits during a joyful post-championship time in San Francisco.

“It’s hard to win in the NBA. It’s hard to win in the regular season, even harder to win in the playoffs, even harder to win in the Finals. To accomplish that and come out on top? The celebration was much needed,” he said.

And he was like the Pied Piper in his hometown and the surrounding area this weekend. His smile made it apparent just what it meant to him.

“Man, back to Vaughan, back to the rec centre, it was amazing,” he said. “I’ve seen people I haven’t seen in years. I’ve seen my seventh grade elementary school teacher. All these people you haven’t seen in a decade, now they’ve got kids that are taller than them. It’s amazing to see.

“I was happy I was able to bring (the trophy) back, and hopefully I get to … do the same thing again next year.”


Conversations are opinions of our readers and are subject to the Code of Conduct. The Star does not endorse these opinions.

Source link

Denial of responsibility! Planetconcerns is an automatic aggregator around the global media. All the content are available free on Internet. We have just arranged it in one platform for educational purpose only. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials on our website, please contact us by email – [email protected]. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Leave a comment