From Michael to Kobe to Anthony: The Baton is Passed

There’s this idea that the main, legendary ballers in the league consist of players like Lebron James, Stefon Curry or Jimmy butler. All of which made or won the playoffs at least once during their NBA career. While these players will always be living basketball artifacts, the up and coming Anthony Edwards may be next in line to becoming the next dominating legend.

Originally from Atlanta Georgia, Edwards proved to be one of the best athletes of his generation. While only in high school he became a five-star recruit (very rare) and was rated the best player of his 2019 high school class. Anthony Edwards signed with Georgia State after high school, becoming the college’s most valuable player and going on to win SEC Freshman of the Year at the beginning of his college career.

Surprisingly enough though, Edwards didn’t start off with basketball. Edwards played Football as a quarterback, cornerback and running back in his early adolescent years. It can be imagined that originally, he had his eyes set for the NFL, as he became one of the best running backs in the country through Pop Warner (The Largest Youth Football Organization in the United States) representing the Atlanta Vikings at just age 10.

Now watch this: How I know Anthony Edwards was just an athletic prodigy on all fronts; he saw his brothers playing basketball and changed gears saying it, “Looked more fun.”
What did Edwards proceed to do after that? Conquer the sport of basketball after not even one year of trying.

According to Edwards, he and his brothers often went over to their grandma’s house to play ball against each other. Their competitive nature motivated one another to be the best athletes they can be. Of course, all this showed when Edwards began to gain traction and attention when he played AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) basketball and was ranked a 4-star recruit after a year of playtime.

By Anthony Edwards graduation in 2019, every college in the book wanted him as their recruit. Prestigious athletic schools by the likes of Kentucky, UNC, and Florida State all wanted Anthony Edwards on their star teams. Despite this though, Edwards went with the homeland, opting to join the Georgia Bulldogs for his college career.

Edward’s freshman year with the Bulldogs was a blessed one. Edwards premiered scoring 24 points on his own and rebounding nine times with the added seasoning of four steals during a game against Western Carolina. This made history, as Anthony scored the most points as a Georgia freshman since the year 1979 in 2019. As a freshman, Edwards averaged 19.1 points per game, making him the top scorer of his team and soon winning him the SEC Freshman of the Year Conference Honors.
At this point, Anthony had the attention of every Sports journalist and NBA team in the nation. Much like Jordan, his dunks became his signature move, and rebounds his most valuable skill defensively. In 2020, Edwards was selected as the No. 1 overall draft pick for the Minnesota Timberwolves, and he left college behind to pursue a professional career in the NBA.

Now, the Timberwolves as we know, are not the best all around team in the NBA. The last time the Minnesota Timberwolves won a playoff series was in 2004—twenty years ago. Nonetheless, Anthony Edwards may be the best gift they’ve gotten since sliced bread. In his debut, Edwards scored 15 points and made 4 rebounds against the Detroit Pistons. In 2021, Edwards scored 42 points(!) and made 7 rebounds against the Phoenix Suns. This earned him a crazy second place finish in the Rookie of the Year award behind LaMelo Ball.

In the 2020-21 season, Edwards made his first appearance in the playoffs after only his second year of going professional. Although the Wolves lost to the Golden State Warriors, Edwards himself scored 48 points through seven three-pointers that game.
Game 2 of the first round playoffs is what put Edwards on the legend radar (if his other achievements hadn’t already) During a game against the Denver Nuggets(The eventual NBA Champions) Anthony Edwards put up 41 points in a 122 – 113 losing game. His points pulled off a Timberwolves Franchise record for the most points scored in a playoff game. He stepped on the platform with Kobe Bryant as he was ranked as the second most 30 point scorer in NBA playoff games before turning 22.

In 2023, Edwards continued to write his name in the sand of champions as he was named the NBA Western Conference Player of the Week after just three seasons.
Beyond the NBA, Anthony Edwards also became a member of the United States National Team in 2023 for the All-FIBA world cup. Edwards averaged 19 points per game as the top scorer and the team finished in fourth place.

All in all, Anthony Edwards is shaping himself to be the GOAT of the NBA. He’s a beast both offensively and defensively and his scoring average only increases with every game. Edwards clearly has Kobe’s ‘Mamba Mentality’ and I can see him following the footsteps of Kobe’s greatness. Edwards completed an insane amount of achievements in his very short and beginner career span and could be the prodigy the Timberwolves need to put themselves on the map as champions.

So, let’s grab some popcorn because we may be shaping up to see one of the most legendary players to ever grace the NBA court since Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan. Watch out Curry, I think the baton might pass over to Anthony Edwards sooner than we think.

Photo Credit – Getty Images

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