Andrew Wiggins has had a roller coaster of a season. Before showing the world what he was capable of and becoming a Golden State Warrior All-Star, Wiggins could have instead derailed the season—something Kyrie Irving might have already done in Brooklyn.
Back in September during the start of the season, a mandate was established by the city of San Francisco which prohibited players of home teams from playing in home games unless they were vaccinated. He had publicly expressed his doubt in modern medicine and a family background of negative reactions to medication. Wiggins had even tried to attain a religious exemption for the vaccine, which was ultimately rejected by the NBA.
At the time, Wiggins’ hesitance to get the shot was something that started to dominate the news circuit, and that was awkward for Wiggins.
Head coach Steve Kerr talked about how difficult the whole thing made Wiggins. Kerr mentions how his personality is super laid back, and he gets along with everyone, so the attention the situation carried with his hesitance to get the shot, made the former No. 1 draft pick super uncomfortable.
“I think for Andrew it was difficult to become embroiled in all that,” Steve Kerr tells Bay Area News group. “Everybody who knows him loves him, loves his demeanor, loves his approach to life, the way he treats people. He’s just a fantastic human being. I think you throw all that in the mix, and people move on.”
Nevertheless, Wiggins got vaccinated before the season got underway, and it became a non-story. Without Klay Thompson to start the season and Draymond Greens prolonged absence, Wiggins has been heavily relied upon and is a big reason why the Warriors are sitting comfortably with the second-best record at 42-17.
Even though, the first time All-Star got the shot, it doesn’t mean he still believes in the purpose it serves.
“I still wish I hadn’t gotten it,” Wiggins told Evan Webeck of Mercury News last week. “Bigger picture, it all worked out for the best. I’m here on the most exciting team in the league. I’m an All-Star. So, I feel like I made the right choice at the end of the day.”
Wiggins is right in his belief that his reversal on choice to get the shot opened the opportunity for him to become an All-Star and most importantly, kept the Warriors in the conversation as championship contenders.
Wiggins Stance on Vaccines Has Never Changed
Despite the success of the season up to this point and the uplift of support from Warriors fans, Wiggins stance still has never wavered on his dismissal of modern medicine.
During Media Day, Wiggins told everyone that he did comply and get the shot, but that he stood firm in his belief that the shot should not be forced upon people, and every individual had the right to decide amongst themselves if they should get the shot.
“Keep fighting for what I believe and for what I believe is right…What’s right to one person isn’t right to the other and vice versa.”
At this point, nobody is going to change how Wiggins feels about modern science, but what he will mostly be remembered for is how he sacrificed his personal beliefs for the betterment of his team. The crucial reason he was selected to start in the All-Star game was the help of 3.4 million Warrior fans, who voted him in. Most fans of teams watch closely with whatever choices players make, and this one served the purpose of the organization more than Wiggins himself.
Wiggins College Coach Comments on Wiggins All-Star Debut
Andrew Wiggins may have spent just one year in Kansas with Joel Embiid, but he definitely made his brief stay noteworthy, as his old coach had a lot to say. Kansas coach Bill Self talked with Gary Bedore of the Kansas City Star recently about Wiggins ascent from when he was drafted to where he is now.
“Even though he was good, people don’t know this: ‘Wiggs’ is averaging 20 (points) a game for his career (19.4 ppg) and he plays every game,” the KU coach continued. “He is the most durable player in the NBA for the most part because he never gets hurt. He got hurt one year and missed some games, but other than that he plays 80 to 82 games a year basically. He’s durable but doesn’t get the credit.”
In the past, people were quick to point out how Wiggins was a bust because he failed to live up to the No. 1 selection superstar projections. But what they overlook, is exactly what coach Self emphasizes. His ability to stay durable and average close to 20 in his career does not grow on trees.
“It’s so cool he (Wiggins) is being recognized for consistency because he has been a very consistent, big-time pro. But you don’t talk about guys that average 20. You talk about guys that average 25. He is kind of like the tortoise. He just kind of runs a steady race. Now that he’s got some guys around him, we are kind of seeing how important he is to a team. I think it’s great.”