NBA – Victor Wembanyama, the French phenomenon who panics the United States


Soon drafted in the prestigious North American championship, the 19-year-old player cracks the Americans, like Tony Parker in his time.





By Adrian Mathieu

At only 19 years old, Victor Wembanyama unleashes the passions of world basketball.
© JEFF PACHOUD / AFP

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IIt was not yet in the NBA that his name was on everyone’s lips: Victor Wembanyama unleashed passions and aroused the curiosity of the basketball world. It must be said that the young French player has impressive characteristics by combining large size (2.19 m) and span with outstretched arms (2.44 m) with a certain agility in front of the baskets.

At 19, Victor will soon change dimension by joining the famous North American championship next June during the draft. Tipped to be selected in first or second position, the current player of the Metropolitans 92 of Boulogne-Levallois is announced as the great talent of the next decade.

“A player who can change the face of the NBA”

While waiting to welcome it to its soil, the NBA has relocated to Paris for a regular season match between Chicago and Detroit. If this event does not directly concern Victor Wembanyama, each conversation with a player or manager inevitably ends up lingering on the one who made his debut for the France team last October. At the Bulls, star DeMar DeRozan is even convinced that the 19-year-old player can become an attraction. “He’ll play in the NBA for sure, he’s going to be amazing. From what I’ve seen of his few games, he’s clearly a player who can change the face of the league again. »

His teammate Zach LaVine agrees and fears future clashes with Wembanyama. “We’ve all heard of him. He can do anything on the pitch. He will be in the NBA very soon, but we do not yet know how we will do against him, ”he admits, laughing. Rarely has a youngster had such great unanimity even before his debut in the prestigious championship. For Adam Silver, commissioner of the NBA, you even have to go back twenty years to find such euphoria. “He hasn’t even been drafted, and we are already labeling him as a great player. It was the same with LeBron James, but of course he later confirmed that he would be one of the greats. Victor has all the potential to be at this level. »

With 21 points and 9 rebounds on average per game in the league, including a record 33 points, Wembanyama already displays impressive statistics at his age. Nevertheless, his entourage seeks to protect him from all this media frenzy. A position that Adam Silver encourages: “I know from what I have been told that he is not only a big player in size, but also a very good young man, very intelligent and very implicated. When I see him, I’ll tell him to take it step by step, even if it’s a set phrase. I am impressed with everything he shows: he knows he has to work on his body, his game and become more mature as a player. »

Everybody wants to see him play

His notoriety has even exceeded the world of basketball since personalities such as actor Michael Douglas, former Prime Minister Lionel Jospin and rapper Travis Scott have come to the Palais des sports Marcel-Cerdan in Levallois-Perret to see him play. The Ile-de-France venue is very often sold out this season. “Can he change this sport? We will see, continues Adam Silver. There are codes in basketball, but also a certain artistry, and great players take advantage of their abilities. For Victor, it’s partly his height, his stature, his athleticism, but also his brain. »

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In The Parisian last December, Victor Wembanyama returned to his status as a rising star, but also this pressure to manage which will increase tenfold over the months. “I’m aware of that, of course, but I feel like I’ve been preparing for all of this forever. It is perhaps for this reason that I live it quite serenely. And nothing is certain, I work hard to achieve my goals. Pressure ? If I didn’t find it normal for me, it would mean that my mind is not at the level of my basketball. However, I absolutely want both to be at the same level and for it to be as high as possible. In any case, Victor Wembanyama has not finished making people talk about him. See you on June 22 to discover the NBA franchise which will have the pleasure of recovering this 19-year-old giant.




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