Andrew Wiggins is an 81 overall in NBA 2K16. It’s safe to say that any 81 would blow out average fans in a game of HORSE.
But what if only half of Wiggins faced off against fans? Is the average fan better at HORSE than a 41 in 2K? Turns out, the answer is probably yes.
Minnesota fans took on half of Wiggins in a new commercial for Buffalo Wild Wings. In anticipation of National Chicken Wing Day Friday, the spot features fans competing with the young Timberwolves star who had his right hand tied behind his back, his right eye blindfolded, and only had use of one foot when shooting. And—spoiler alert—Wiggins did not fare well.
The 2015 NBA Rookie of the Year spoke to Complex about taking Ls in HORSE (albeit with an asterisk), his decision not to play for Canada in the upcoming Olympics, his namesake shoe, and the Timberwolves’ off-season changes.
(This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.)
I just saw your Buffalo Wild Wings ad on YouTube and it was pretty entertaining. How did this partnership with B-Dubs begin?
We got in touch and it was something I was interested in. So they offered me the option.
When was the last time you lost that badly on the basketball court?
Never. Never. Usually I can just rely on myself. They had the upper-hand and took full advantage of the situation.
Who were the people you were playing against? Were they actors or people who won a contest? Who were they?
They were just fans that Buffalo Wild Wings chose. The first one was Tyler, the second one was Chris, and the third one was Jazzy. They all had a little bit of hidden talent in them.
Who wins in a game of HORSE: you with your hand behind your back or Kevin Garnett?
It wouldn’t be close. It wouldn’t even be close. If I can’t even beat them why could I beat him? I would try though.
Now switching gears into this offseason, what have you been up to?
I’ve just been really working out. Working out, lifting, I was training in L.A. and Vegas and I went to Myrtle Beach for a little bit. Just training hard.
Our season wasn’t great last year, but we beat the big names. We beat the best teams on their home court. We beat a lot of good teams. So we have to build on that going into this year.
Now that you have two seasons under your belt are you doing anything different this offseason? What have those two years taught you?
Those two years taught me patience, responsiveness, what it takes to win no matter how hard it is.
Now this year you decided not to compete for Canada in the Olympics, citing the coming season. How difficult was that decision?
It was very difficult. Obviously I wanted to play for my country, but I just had too many plans I had to commit to prepare for my season next year.
How much did the setting in Rio have to do with your decision to not play?
That had nothing to do with it. It was really just a personal choice for me.
Did any fellow Canadian players try to get you to change your mind?
No, they respected [my decision.] They respected it. The whole program did.
When your shoes came out this offseason they got fairly lukewarm reviews. How did you feel about that?
Not everyone’s going to like anything, so I didn’t really worry about it. There’s always going to be some difficulty. But I like them. They’re different.
How much input did you have on the design of the shoes?
Not that much because it’s not my signature shoe. Not my face on the shoe. So [Adidas made the shoe] and when I thought about it, I liked it.
What does having a signature shoe mean to you?
It means a lot. Because that’s one of the things you [see] growing up and watch everyone else play. The people you looked up to growing up, every great player has a signature shoe. That’s why I wanted one. I want to walk around and see people wearing my shoe.
Now switching gears, I'm sure you watched the NBA Finals when the Cavs won it all. Did you ever wonder how they would have done had they not traded you?
Nah. I don’t. I just like watching good basketball being played.
Obviously the big news this offseason is Kevin Durant going to Golden State. What’s your take on that and more generally on players leaving their teams to go to other teams that are maybe more ready to contend?
It is what it is. At a certain point in one’s career, you want to win, not just have a great season. You want to win a championship. Maybe it’s harder to win a championship. You can’t be mad, he made his decision. So everyone’s going to have their own opinion.
Now with the Timberwolves, they bought in Tom Thibodeau this offseason. I’m sure you’ve been around him at least a little bit this offseason. What changes has he bought so far and what changes do you think he is going to bring to that team?
He brings a seriousness to the team. He does things a little different than some of the past coaches I’ve had in my career. Every coach has a different style. The way he carries himself is different. I’m really looking forward to the season with him; he’s a very defensive-minded coach. We just drafted Kris Dunn who’s a great defender coming into the NBA, so I’m looking forward to it.
How does Kris Dunn fit in with the core of you and Karl-Anthony Towns?
He fits in perfect. It’s great to have another athletic, responsive guard on the floor that’s defensive-minded too. That’s what we need. That’s [a good thing] because last year, we struggled in that area.
I know there’s a lot of enthusiasm with you and Towns, a lot of people really like your core. Do you feel this year is kind of a playoffs-or-bust year with Thibodeau, you guys and the fact the Timberwolves haven’t made the playoffs since 2004?
Yeah, it’s been a while, but I think this year we can do it. Just keep at it, keep getting better and keep building off what we did last year. Our season wasn’t great last year, but we beat the big names. We beat the best teams on their home court. We beat a lot of good teams. So we have to build on that going into this year.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learned from KG as he’s come back to Minnesota where he has gone from being the superstar and the face of the franchise to being a mentor and the last guy off the bench.
He taught me patience. On the floor and off the floor. He taught me professionalism. He’s always the first one in the gym and the last one to leave. Just the way he carries himself.