When Lindell Wigginton stepped on the floor for his first-ever NBA, the last thing on his mind were nerves.
“It was on my mom’s birthday, so I was glad I got to give her that gift,” the 23-year-old point guard told Global News Morning in a one-on-one interview.
“I worked so hard for this opportunity, so I wasn’t really nervous. It was just a blessing.”
Wigginton, originally from Dartmouth, N.S., became the second Nova Scotian to ever score points in an NBA game. He netted his first-ever bucket against the Golden State Warriors, the same day he signed a standard NBA contract with the Milwaukee Bucks.
“I worked my whole life for this opportunity and just to be able to be on the NBA floor, score my first bucket in my first game, it’s just a blessing,” he said. “It was definitely hard work, but God’s work mixed into that.”
In signing his contract with the Bucks, Wigginton became the first player to sign a standard NBA contract from the Canadian Eastern Basketball League. He finished his game playing more than five minutes and adding a steal to go along with his basket.
But shortly after making his debut, like many NBA players before him, Wigginton found himself in the league’s COVID protocol. It’s a part of the process he’s taking in stride.
“It’s not ideal, but I’m here, I’m in good spirits, I’m healthy, I got a healthy body so I don’t have any symptoms or anything like that,” he said. “Definitely just watching my team from home right now.”
Wigginton joins Bedford’s Nate Darling with the Charlotte Hornets as the second Nova Scotian to score in an NBA game. The pair have played alongside each other for years, dating back all the way to their days at the community YMCA.
“When I first signed, (Darling) congratulated me,” he said. “We both got to this point of our careers so far, we just have to keep working and just keep being the best players and people we can be.”
It’s been a long journey to get to where he is today. Before signing with the Bucks, Wigginton was named top Canadian for the 2021 CEBL season. He was also nominated for player of the year. Before that, he played two seasons at Iowa State, where he averaged more than 15 points per game.
But he’s never forgotten his roots — playing for the Panthers at Prince Andrew High School in Dartmouth. Wigginton says the love he’s received from Nova Scotia since making his NBA debut hasn’t gone unnoticed.
“They’ve always been supporting me throughout my whole career, so I’m definitely in tune with the love that they do show me,” he said. “When I signed, I couldn’t get to everybody because there was so (many) messages … but I definitely felt all the love and support.”
In signing with the reigning world champion Bucks, Wigginton joins the likes of all stars Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday, to name a few. He says the leadership they’ve brought him since signing has been unmatched.
“Just to be able to learn from guys that have been on this stage for so long, been in the position that they’ve been in … it’s been a blessing to learn from some older guys that have been on the stage and know what it takes to stay here,” he said.
Wigginton says he’s proof that anyone from Nova Scotia can make it to where he’s at if they dream big.
“Believe in yourself more than anyone else can believe in you … The way I believe in myself and the confidence I have in myself, nobody else can have that,” he said.
“Just be humble, be the best player and the best person you can be, and, like I said, dream big.”