Andrew Wiggins is an NBA Champion. The Toronto, Ontario native was crowned a champion when the Golden State Warriors defeated the Boston Celtics 103-90 in Game 6 of the NBA Finals to take the series 4-2 and win the 2022 NBA Championship.
“It feels good,” Wiggins told the media postgame, hitting the podium in the press room with a Canadian flag in his arms. “It feels amazing. You put in so much work, so much time to make it here. The end result is becoming a champion. There's nothing like it. Now I'm going to celebrate like crazy.”
En route to the title, Wiggins was one of the best players on the floor for the Warriors in the postseason. This follows his first career All-Star selection, capping off a brilliant year for the eighth-year pro in his second full season with the Warriors after being traded to Golden State in February 2020 from the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Wiggins finished with 18 points, six rebounds, five assists, four steals and three blocked shots in a game-high 44 minutes in Game 6. He averaged 18.3 points and 8.8 rebounds in the Finals, including a 26-point, 13-rebound performance in Game 5 and a 17-point, 16-rebound performance in Game 4 on the road. In a series where the Warriors needed to find consistency, Wiggins was it.
“We could not be here without Wiggs,” Klay Thompson said. “That man made my life so easy. I used to have to do his job. I’m looking at him like, ‘That's exhausting, bro. You’ve got to get buckets and guard the best player?’ That’s crazy.”
The 27 year-old became just the eighth Canadian to win an NBA title. With his daughter in his arms as the team celebrated on court, the smile didn’t leave his face.
“Man, it’s amazing,” Wiggins said. “Just to have my family here to experience all of this stuff here with me. My daughter isn’t going to remember this, she’s only three, but these are memories for a lifetime. I’m so thankful for that.”
Finals MVP Steph Curry couldn’t be happier for him.
“He’s shining on the brightest stages in these playoffs,” Curry said of Wiggins after his Game 5 performance. “It’s just amazing to see things working out in his favour in terms of dispeling all of the narratives around him and who he is as a basketball player, right in front of your eyes.”
To say that Wiggins and the Warriors were a perfect fit would be an understatement. While Wiggins provided the defence and scoring that Golden State often needed in this postseason run, the Warriors gave Wiggins an up-close look, every day, at the purpose and pursuit of excellence that goes into being an NBA Champion.
“They challenged me,” he said. “Draymond, Klay, Steph, Andre, all the vets, they challenged me every day, every time I stepped on the floor. They challenged me. That’s motivational. The challenge,I just want to get it done, prove to them. Earn their respect. It’s been good.”
His teammates had spoken of him with admiration and appreciation for his work ethic all season. Now, the rest of the sports world can join them.
“It’s a feeling I can't describe,” Wiggins said. “Every day, that stuff is motivating. It puts fire in my eyes. I just want to prove people wrong and now I'm a World Champion. Everyone is going to have something to say regardless, but whatever they say, they’ve got to say I’m a World Champion, too.”