Film studios would reject the Hassan Whiteside story for being too preposterous.
We're talking about the most treasured prize in the sport -- an athletic 7-footer who can finish alley-oops, rebound and block shots at an elite level -- slipping through the cracks. No NBA team wanted him.
Labels like "immature" and "low basketball IQ" kept him from being taken seriously. There were rumored D-League fights that tarnished his résumé. Whiteside was forced to do two stints in China. There, he told ESPN Radio, he ate pig lungs thinking it was a ribeye steak. Whiteside went to Lebanon -- not once but twice -- to play professionally and try to get his career back on track. There, he witnessed a car bomb explode.
Now he's an overnight sensation on the level of "Linsanity." On Sunday, Whiteside blocked 12 shots in a rousing triple-double performance in 25 minutes against Chicago. A week earlier, he hung 23 points and 16 rebounds on the Los Angeles Clippers in their building, becoming the only player besides DeMarcus Cousins and Kevin Love to do that in the last five seasons.
After setting a franchise record for blocks Sunday, Whiteside's encore Tuesday was a 16-point, 16-rebound outing against the Milwaukee Bucks. The 25-year-old has shown no signs of slowing down.
Whiteside -- whom Dwyane Wade still calls "rook" despite this technically being Whiteside's third season in the league -- already leads the Heat in dunks (32) and blocks (46). The fact that he's enjoying success now in Miami, of all places, doesn't make much sense, either. Four years ago, he couldn't even finish his first workout with the team.
Everyone wants to know: Who is Hassan Whiteside? And how good is he really? Let's take a look.