You know him. Everybody in basketball knows him. Canadian-born Kansas freshman Andrew Wiggins is the next Big Thing in hoops with some claiming he’s the best high school player since LeBron James. The hyperbolic venerations appear to continue on the cover of this week’s Sports Illustrated.
Paying homage to former Kansas greats Wilt Chamberlain and Danny Manning, the famed SI cover signifies to many that Wiggins has finally made it. Too bad Jabari Parker — entering his freshman season at Duke — beat him to the cover more than a year ago.
We’d be lying if we didn’t tell you we’re worried about the hype surrounding Wiggins. We were worried for LeBron, too — stupidly, it turns out — as well as Sebastian Telfair. Telfair didn’t become a star, but he didn’t implode, so our reservations about Wiggins are somewhat muted.
That’s also because Wiggins appears to have a good head on his shoulders. This is partially a Canadian bias, since we grew up near the border, so we’re less worried about the flash of an SI cover encouraging his ego to grow. Since the cover leaked this morning, some have questioned placing Wiggins next to Hall-of-Famer Wilt and Danny Manning, who won an NCAA Championship with Kansas in 1988.
The author of the cover story, Luke Winn, tweeted out a clarification:
The cover is the cover … but the story doesn't call him the Next Wilt. It's about the arrivals of three No. 1 players in different eras.
— Luke Winn (@lukewinn) October 9, 2013
The RockChalkblog has more from behind the cover art after speaking with Brad Smith, the director of photography for SI. Here’s what Smith told them about the idea behind the cover and working with Wiggins:
Smith said that Wiggins was great to work with. He said that he was “friendly, happy and cooperative” and was all about basketball, which is unique for an 18-year-old.
Smith said that they aren’t trying to compare Wiggins to both Wilt Chamberlain or Danny Manning but rather trying to highlight their freshman paths and how similar they are in that way. Smith specifically said “this is not a comparison piece but rather a comparison piece of the three freshman years. It’s a cool and unique angle.”
The article itself speaks to what is like to be a freshman for all three: Wilt, Danny and Andrew. And the article ties him into each of the three classes.
The digital iPad/tablet interactive cover is pretty dope as well:
What do you think?
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