At Paris-Bercy, the eyes of the NBA turned to Victor Wembanyama

For the NBA match relocated to Paris on Thursday night, Chicago easily dominated Detroit (126-108) at the Accor Hotel Arena in Paris Bercy. Killian Hayes, the only Frenchman on the floor, did not shine at the Pistons, under the eyes of many stars present, including the attraction of the evening Victor Wembanyama, great hope of tricolor basketball.

During a time out, midway through the second quarter, his face appeared on giant screens, and the ovation Bercy gave him was surpassed only by those received by basketball legends Tony Parker and “Magic” Johnson. Shortly before the relocated meeting in Paris, NBA boss Adam Silver was asked about the young prodigy’s arrival: “I heard of a young man, I never had the opportunity to see him play, (…) I would be delighted to shake his hand”.

Not for long in France

The young French basketball player, promised a bright future in the best championship in the world, watched from the edge of the field as the Chicago Bulls won against the Detroit Pistons (126-108). In the packed stands of Bercy, eyes were also directed towards the nugget of Boulogne-Levallois, having played the day before in Elite, in Fos-sur-Mer (11 points, 7 rebounds).

“It’s good to be able to see him tonight, I would like to go see him in Levallois but it’s impossible to get seats!”, Explained Stéphane Viel-Servant, 40, placed behind a basket, to a few meters from the French giant (2.21 m).

“If necessary, we will go see him there (in the United States). I had the dream of seeing Tony Parer in San Antonio, but a career passes quickly, I hope I can see Wembanyama”, has added this Bulls supporter from Essonne. “I’m a fan of the Blues, and I think that with him, (Rudy) Gobert and (Joel) Embiid, we can beat the Americans,” he enthused.

“Magic” already a fan

Meanwhile, on the field, another Blue, Killian Hayes, did his best to keep the Pistons in the game. A poorly ranked franchise, and therefore among the most likely to welcome “Wemby” during the draft in the offseason.

Asked about this before the meeting, Detroit coach Dwane Casey preferred to evade the subject with a smile. It must be said that the whole NBA is watching with interest the young man who passed through Asvel last season.

Special attention that sometimes leads to surprising situations: “Earvin “Magic” Johnson will be at the game tomorrow and he told me he was looking forward to shaking his hand”, laughed Adam Silver the day before the game. encounter. A wish granted for the mythical leader of the Lakers during the meeting. Victor Wembanyama impressed the Americans in October, during a two-game tour against a team made up of young basketball hopefuls in Nevada, among others.


“I was lucky enough to be able to watch him play when he came to the United States, and all you can say is ‘Wow’…” ex-playmaker BJ Armstrong said. Chicago and three-time NBA champion with Michael Jordan. “What a talent, I don’t know how to describe him, he is unique, (…) I have never seen a player of his size move like that”, he added.

In the opposite camp, a former glory of the Pistons also came to greet the young interior of the Metropolitans: the quadruple best defender in the League, Ben Wallace (2002, 2003, 2005, 2006). “I would have loved to play against him but above all I would have loved to play with him, he is a very good player, very talented,” he told AFP two days earlier.

Accompanied by his little brother Oscar (15) who plays at Asvel, Wembanyama was able to experience, in immersion, what could await him for the rest of his career.

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