It’s been a whirlwind of a year for James Wiseman. The No. 1 recruit in the country — who will stay home to play his college ball for Penny Hardaway and the Memphis Tigers — has lived up to that title, playing in a whole lot of high school All-American games and stocking his trophy shelf with a collection of honors that can only be won by a talent as special as the big man. The most recent honor came from Gatorade, which named Wiseman the National Player of the Year.
Amid all the craziness, Wiseman took some time to chat with Dime about his desire be a philanthropist, his game, what he’s learned from Penny Hardaway, being named the Gatorade Player of the Year, and season three of Stranger Things.
I read in an interview with The Undefeated that you want to be a philanthropist some day. So I want to know, where did the interest in that come from?
This is because I have a vision. I mean, I want to give back to the unfortunate. Especially the people in the next generation, really just try to put a smile on their face and just teach them that they can dream big, that they don’t need to ever lower their standards in terms of their dreams and give the next generation more resources to be able to obtain or venture out and just be able to explore. I have learned some of that from Kobe Bryant and LeBron James. They have inspired me a lot to do that type of stuff. So that is why I wanted to that. I was really interested.
Are there any people outside of LeBron and Kobe who really inspire you like that?
I’d say Warren Buffet as well, and I’d say Bill Gates. All sorts of people like that. They inspire me, in terms of coming from a business perspective.
When James Wiseman looks into his future, one year, five year, ten years, twenty years from now, what does he see both on and off the basketball court?
On the basketball court, just trying to be the best version of me. Just trying to develop my game and get better. But outside the basketball court, just trying to be the best person that I can be in this world and just trying to impact the community or the world in a positive manner.