Canada, you have your newest NBA All-Star.
On Thursday, it was announced that Toronto native Andrew Wiggins has been selected to represent the Golden State Warriors as a starter in the 2022 NBA All-Star Game. It’s a crowning achievement for Wiggins, who is averaging 18.1 points per game while shooting a career-best 40.4 percent from 3-point range for a Warriors team that is among the NBA’s elite.
It’s also important to take a step back to look at the gravity of this moment for basketball in Canada.
Wiggins becomes the first Canadian All-Star since Nets head coach Steve Nash, who made his final All-Star appearance 10 years ago in 2012. Raptors assistant coach Jamaal Magloire is the only other Canadian to earn an All-Star selection, representing the New Orleans Hornets in 2004.
MORE: Celebrating Nash and Magloire – Canada’s first two All-Stars
While Wiggins is just the third ever, there are many more to come, with players like RJ Barrett, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Jamal Murray standing as the Canadians most likely to earn such an honour in the coming years.
Wiggins’ All-Star selection is yet another tangible reminder that Canada is currently in a golden age of basketball.
MORE: Team Canada head coach Nick Nurse speaks highly of Wiggins
Now let’s dive more into what this means for Wiggins.
While it shouldn’t come as a surprise that a former No. 1 overall pick has been voted into the NBA All-Star Game, Wiggins’ path to this point hasn’t exactly been conventional.
Two months after being selected first by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2014, Wiggins was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves before ever suiting up in the wine and gold. Less than a year later, he was named 2014-15 Rookie of the Year. Despite the fact that he was averaging 23.6 points per game by his third season, Wiggins wasn’t receiving the league-wide recognition that many of his accomplishments warranted.
In Year 6, he experienced yet another change of scenery.
Since the Warriors motioned to acquire Wiggins at the 2020 trade deadline, he has embraced a new role and contributed to Golden State’s winning culture. In his second full season with the Warriors, Wiggins’ play has been a key component of the team’s standing as a legitimate NBA title contender.
MORE: Wiggins receives high praise from Andre Iguodala
While Klay Thompson was sidelined for the first two and a half months of the season, Wiggins stepped up as the team’s second offensive option behind Stephen Curry while still managing to take on a number of difficult defensive assignments.
Looking at the bigger picture, you have a player recognized as an All-Star by the fans, media and his peers. How poetic is it that Wiggins will make his All-Star debut in the same city that he was introduced as the No. 1 overall pick some eight years ago?
We may not have seen it happening like this, but this day is the representation of a long time coming.
Let’s celebrate Andrew Wiggins, NBA All-Star starter.
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