via Mark J Rebilas/USA Today Sports

by Angel Diaz

Andrew Wiggins coulda played for a contender. The Cleveland Cavaliers drafted him with the first pick in the 2014 NBA Draft to flank Kyrie Irving on the wing—or so he thought. Cleveland had other plans. It traded the 6’6” pogo stick before the season began to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Kevin Love and to make room for perennial MVP candidate LeBron James. On paper, it seemed like the right move. Wiggins only played one season at Kansas and was unproven. Love seemed like the safer bet. But, all that glitters ain’t gold. The Cavs and Love struggled to find chemistry for most of the year while Wiggins ourished in Minnesota. He averaged 17 points a game and ran away with the NBA Rookie of the Year award. 

This season, he’s proving it wasn’t a fluke. Wiggins is averaging close to 21 points per contest and is easily one of the most electrifying players in the league. With the 2016 All-Star Game in Toronto, Wiggins will feel right at home. The Canadian-born baller will be in the Rising Stars Challenge, where he and other international players will face off against American up-and-comers in the NBA 

Adidas is making sure he’ll have the right sneakers to rep the North. Wiggins’ exclusive colorways (pictured right) of the adidas Crazylight Boost 2.5 pay homage to his mother, Marita Payne, an Olympic-sprinter who helped Canada win two silver medals in the 1984 Games. The other is a subtle tribute to Wiggins’ native country with details like cascading maple leaves on a shoe that matches his blue Timberwolves uniform. 

Since he’s down with the Three Stripes, Wiggins teamed up with Champs Sports and DJ Khaled to promote their “Originals” collection. We caught up with him to get his take on his favorite adidas sneakers, the first time he dunked, and what’s on his pregame playlist. 

(This feature appears in special edition Sole Collector issue 48, which is available exclusively at Champs Sports)

via Brad Rempel / USA Today Sports

First time I dunked a basketball... I was 13. My brother went for a visit to Florida State and I was in the gym shooting with my other brother. He threw up an alley to me under the rim. After that first one, it came smoothly. It just got easier and easier. 

Best place in Toronto to get a good basketball run ... Dufferin Clark Community Centre. I learned how to play there. 

via Dan Hamilton / USA Today Sports

Players I admire the most ... Vince Carter and Kevin Garnett. I watched VC growing up, and KG is teaching me a lot now. 

First sneakers that I fell in love with ... Shell Toes. They’re smooth and classic. I had on a red pair in my Champs commercial with DJ Khaled. 

Being on set with DJ Khaled ... was very positive and very energetic. It’s very professional how he does things. He taught me a lot. 

Songs that are always on my pregame playlist ... Drake’s “Back to Back” and some Eminem songs. 

Ricky Rubio alley oops make me feel like... I could dunk anything. You know he always gives the perfect pass. Sometimes you don’t even know they’re coming.