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

The 19-year-old player, who was soon selected in the prestigious North American Championship, is breaking Americans like Tony Parker of his time.





By Adrian Mathieu

Only 19 years old, Victor Vembanyama reveals his passion for world basketball.
© JEFF PACHOUD / AFP

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IEven in the NBA, his name was not on everyone’s lips: Victor Vembanyama aroused passions and aroused the interest of the basketball world. It must be said that the young French player has impressive characteristics, combining great size (2.19 m) and extended arms (2.44 m) with a certain agility in front of the baskets.

At the age of 19, Viktor will soon change his size by participating in the famous North American championship during the draft next June. The current Boulogne-Levallois Metropolitans 92 player, who is tipped to be selected in the first or second position, has been declared the big talent of the next decade.

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

While waiting to welcome him on home soil, the NBA moved to Paris for the regular season matchup between Chicago and Detroit. Unless this incident is directly related to Victor Vembanyama, every conversation with a player or manager inevitably revolves around the one who made his debut for the French team last October. Bulls star DeMar DeRozan is even confident the 19-year-old can become an attraction. “He’s definitely going to play in the NBA, he’s going to be amazing. From what I have seen of his few games, he is a player who can change the face of the league again. »

His teammate Zach LaVine agrees and fears future collisions with Wembanyama. “We’ve all heard of him. He can do everything on the field. He will soon be in the NBA, but we still don’t know how to treat him, “he admits with a laugh. Rarely has there been such great unanimity before the debut of a young man in a prestigious championship. For NBA commissioner Adam Silver, you have to go back twenty years to find such euphoria. “He never was compiled, and we already label 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 league averages of 21 points and 9 rebounds per game, including a record 33 points, Wembanyama is already putting up impressive stats for his age. However, his surroundings try to protect him from all this media frenzy. Adam Silver’s take: “From what I’ve been told, he’s not only a big player, but he’s a very good young man, very intelligent and very effective. When I see him, I will tell him to take it step by step, even if it is a certain phrase. I’m impressed with everything he’s shown: he knows he needs to work on his body, his game, and mature as a player. »

Everyone wants to see him play

His fame has even transcended the basketball world, with the likes of actor Michael Douglas, former prime minister Lionel Jospin and rapper Travis Scott flocking to Marcel-Kerdan Palace in Levallois-Perret to see him play. The Ile-de-France venue is often sold out this season. “Can he change this sport? We’ll see, Adam Silver continues. There are codes in basketball, but there is also a certain artistry, and great players use their abilities. For Victor, it’s partly his height, his height, his athleticism, but also his brains. »

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In Parisian Victor Wembanyama returned to his status as a rising star last December, but that pressure to manage will increase tenfold within months. “Of course I’m aware of that, but I feel like I’ve been preparing for all of this forever. Maybe that’s why I live it so quietly. And nothing is certain, I work hard to achieve my goals. Pressure? If I don’t think it’s normal for me, it means that my mind is not at the level of my basketball. However, I want both to be at the same level and as high as possible. Anyway, Victor Vembanyama is not done getting people to talk about him. See you on June 22nd to discover an NBA franchise that will be delighted to have this 19-year-old giant back.


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