Before the NBA draft, Victor Wembanyama declared himself “immune” to the expectations he raises

French basketball player Victor Wembanyama said on Wednesday he was “immune” to the immense expectations aroused by his extraordinary potential, on the eve of the NBA draft which should see him selected in first position by the San Antonio Spurs. “I’m not letting all of this go to my head, because I have such high expectations of myself that I’m immune to all this stuff,” the 19-year-old Ile-de-France resident said during an interview. a press conference in New York, in fluent English. “I do not care.” For several months, the former Boulogne-Levallois player has been presented as the biggest talent that world basketball has known since the arrival, twenty years ago, of LeBron James, who himself called him a “extraterrestrial”.

Fan fervor

As for the attention he generates, in general, “even if it is sometimes impressive, I expect to have this kind of reaction”, explained the giant of Chesnay. He has nevertheless appreciated the fervor of the fans since his arrival in New York on Monday. “It’s tenfold compared to France,” he enthused. “The enthusiasm is incredible. It makes you want to do good things to please all those people who believe in me and who give love. It’s incredible.”

The immediate story is already largely written for the finalist of the last championship of France which, barring a dramatic change, should be retained Thursday by the Spurs in first position of the draft, the event which allows franchises of the NBA to select young players who have never played in the league before. “For me, San Antonio is synonymous with winning,” summed up the man who was, in large part, trained in Nanterre (Hauts-de-Seine). “When Spurs got the first choice (after a lottery process) I thought I was lucky, because they have this culture, this experience of having developed good players. I can’t wait. .” “I’m going to have trouble sleeping tonight,” said Victor Wembanyama. “Tomorrow, something will happen that I have dreamed of for years. (…) From the day I understood what the draft was, I wanted to be the first choice.

“staying true” to himself

Very comfortable with the media, despite his young age, the greatest pure talent in the history of French basketball does not hide his ambition. “Nobody is going to stop me from dribbling, getting the ball up or shooting three-pointers,” said the former Mets de Boulogne-Billancourt number one shirt.

Evolving in a very atypical extended register for a player of his height (2.24 m), Victor Wembanyama explained that he often had to fight “battle” to be able to play his game and “stay faithful to (himself). is something I will never lose.”

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