Former Kansas Jayhawk Andrew Wiggins became the 14th former KU player to win an NBA championship on Thursday night, following the Golden State Warriors 103-90 over Boston in Game 6 of the 2022 NBA Finals.
Wiggins was sensational throughout the Finals — on both ends of the floor — and likely only missed out on winning the Finals MVP award because he’s teammates with one of the greatest players in league history in Steph Curry, who won this year’s MVP honor and his fourth NBA title.
With the game in the bag, the two players smiled big and embraced on the floor with 1:01 to play and the Warriors leading by a dozen. Wiggins then checked out for the last time this season — replaced by NBA veteran Andre Igoudala — and went to the bench with an blinding smile on his face.
"This is a dream come true," Wiggins told ESPN on the celebration stage after Thursday's win. "I wouldn't be here without my teammates and everyone around me, so I'm just enjoying the moment and loving it."
Drafted No. 1 overall in the 2014 after his lone season at Kansas, Wiggins was quickly traded by Cleveland to Minnesota and he spent six seasons with the Timberwolves before being traded to the Warriors in 2019. While in Minnesota, Wiggins scored plenty — averaging 19.7 points per game there — but did little else and did not win.
That all changed when he went to Golden State, where he has averaged 18 points a game but also emerged as a defensive stopper and now a winner.
There are plenty of analysts, fans and Wiggins teammates who would say — and have said in no uncertain terms — that the Warriors would not have won the title without Wiggins' strong series. Curry was one of them.
"He’s shining on the brightest of stages in the playoffs," the Finals MVP told the Associated Press ahead of the Game 6 clincher. "You can tell how much he’s enjoying it. It’s just amazing to see things working out in his favor in terms of kind of dispelling all the narratives around him and who he is as a basketball player right in front of your eyes.”
After back-to-back double-doubles in Games 4 and 5, Wiggins finished Game 6 with 18 points on 7-of-18 shooting (4-of-9 from 3-point range) with with 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 steals and 3 blocks. His 3-pointer from the wing with 1:43 to play that put the Warriors up by 15 was effectively the dagger in a game Golden State dominated after crawling out of an early 12-point hole in Game 6.
The Golden State win ended former Jayhawk Aaron Miles’ bid to win a title as an assistant coach on the Celtics staff. Miles worked with the Warriors for a handful of years before joining the Celtics.
Wiggins becomes the sixth Kansas player from the Bill Self era to win a title — joining Mario Chalmers, Sasha Kaun, Brandon Rush, Wayne Simien and Markieff Morris — and is the first since Morris helped the Los Angeles Lakers win a title in the bubble in 2020.
Jayhawks to win an NBA title
Clyde Lovellette – 1954 with Minneapolis and 1963 and 1964 with Boston
Maurice King – 1960 with Boston
Wilt Chamberlain – 1967 with Philadelphia and 1972 with the Los Angeles Lakers
Jo Jo White – 1974 and 1976 with Boston
Bill Bridges – 1975 with Golden State
Wayne Simien – 2006 with Miami
Jacque Vaughn – 2007 with San Antonio
Paul Pierce – 2008 with Boston
Scot Pollard – 2008 with Boston
Mario Chalmers – 2012 and 2013 with Miami
Brandon Rush – 2015 with Golden State
Sasha Kaun – 2016 with Cleveland
Markieff Morris – 2020 with the Los Angeles Lakers
Andrew Wiggins – 2022 with Golden State