Andrew Wiggins was battling expectations before he ever put on a Kansas Jayhawks uniform. He was touted as the best prospect since LeBron James prior to deciding where he would play in college, an expectation that could cripple any player, let alone an 18-year-old.
The preemptive crowning of Mr. Wiggins led to many a #HotSportsTake, each of them worse than the last.
There were moments when I had my doubts about the Canadian phenom, and it was difficult to maintain a single-minded desire when he drifted through a few games, content to float around the perimeter and toss entry passes. The image of Maple Jordan in a Philadelphia 76ers uniform faded, while visions of Twin Towers Nerlens Noel and Joel Embiid danced in my head.
I'm sorry, Andrew. I'm so, so sorry for ever doubting you.
Despite choosing to sit out the combine after Embiid and Jabari Parker declared they'd be passing on the festivities in Chicago, the folks at Peak Performance Project (a.k.a. P3) were not about to sit idly by and let Australian heartthrob Dante Exum steal the show. Not long after Thursday's combine coverage was wrapping up, they dropped this beauty on Instagram.
That image put everything we've been told about Wiggins and froze it in solid carbonite. This is the athletic equivalent of being part of the one percent, natural gifts so preposterous that they actually may exceed the hype. Is he actually playing basketball here? No. But he almost doesn't need basketball anymore. He's transcended it.
When I watch NBA games, I try to stay conscious of the fact that these men sweat, bleed and eat Chipotle just like us, that underneath the uniforms they're humans after all. But when a picture like this pops up, how do you not question that hypothesis? Is it possible that Jor-El sent another son to Earth, bestowing upon us a player who could leap tall centers in a single bound? Hide the Kryptonite.
Everything about his yet-to-begin career has been draped in hyperbole, so it's only fitting that he grabbed everyone's attention after deciding to pass on the formal Combine activities. If Harrison Barnes is the "Black Falcon", Andrew Wiggins must be a bald eagle, a majestic, soaring icon of freedom who is destined to be draped in red, white and blue. Having lost our last vessel of Americana to the shores of Erie, Wiggins is the hero we need and deserve.
Four days until the Lottery. Hold on to your butts.