The Minnesota Timberwolves fans can take a lot of pride in their young star, Anthony Edwards. It appears as though the young man has grown up, matured, and developed the wisdom of 10 years his senior over the past six months. Just 21 years old, he is playing in his third NBA season, is leading the Minnesota Timberwolves in scoring, and is one of the team’s best defenders to boot.
But now he is showing leadership in a brand new spotlight and stage. He is showing leadership in the NBA.
Now, we are not trying to place Anthony Edwards, (a.k.a. Ant-Man, A1, Ant) on a pedestal or make him out to be a modern-day superhero. We covered the fact that he was fined for unwisely using homophobic slurs and then posting the event on social media. Young adults sometimes make bad choices, learn from those mistakes, and mature into wiser adults as a result.
But Edwards, in his first NBA All-Star performance, did not toe the line. He stood up for something that he believes in, the controversial practice of giving some of the highest-paid NBA elite stars nights off. That doesn’t sit well with Anthony Edwards, and when the microphones were turned on and he was given the chance to speak, he let the NBA know it.
I, for one, am glad that he did.
Can NBA reverse an alarming trend?
Let’s be honest with ourselves. The NBA is not trending in the right direction on this subject. More and more often, some of the games’ top stars are not playing, and that is not always due to injuries. Some NBA stars sit on the second game of back-to-backs. Some simply sit just to sit. But when it comes to playing, Anthony Edwards does not just talk the talk. He walks the walk.
He has played in and started all 61 games for the Minnesota Timberwolves this season. That is surprising because he fought through a hip and tailbone bruise against the Milwaukee Bucks that limited his playing time in games for two-three weeks. But he suited up all the same, refusing to take a single game up long enough to heal. He played through the pain and continued to battle alongside his teammates.
The more I see Anthony Edwards on the basketball court, and hear him speak, the more I like this young man. He is a throwback to the best years of the NBA, when players took pride in playing every game and how they withstood the grind of competition, not in the millions taken in by showing up and mailing it in. Edwards takes pride in himself, and in the game of professional basketball.
I love to see it. And based on the outpouring of support on social media, a lot of NBA fans do too.