Miami Heat big man Hassan Whiteside is one of the more compelling figures entering free agency this summer. For a player who was plying his wares at the YMCA just a couple of short years ago, his ascendance as one of the NBA’s premier centers is nothing short of remarkable. And it’s just that sort of rags to riches narrative and blue-collar work ethic that keeps him hungry.
Indeed, Whiteside credits his time wallowing in overseas basketball obscurity and working out at local gyms for getting him this far. He sees a lot of corollaries between himself and a certain other hero of the common man, as he told Jason Lieser of PalmBeachPost.com in a recent interview:
As confident as you are, did you ever expect to be in this position?
Whiteside: “I kinda hoped it’d be like this, but I never thought they’d be talking about the free agency numbers and all that stuff like they are. That all happened really quick. The preparation took so long, but my time here has been quick. When you’ve been training like Rocky, when it’s finally time to fight the Russian, you ready. When I got my Heat contract, it was time to fight the Russian.”
Whiteside has all but TKO’d that towering metaphor for adversity and is quickly playing his way into a max contract this summer, whether that be with the Heat or elsewhere.