18 years old and without a college scholarship, but French rising star Victor Vembanyama is the talk of the town in the US, including royal anthems of praise.
Knighthood came from the king himself. “Everybody’s been called a unicorn in recent years, but he’s more like an alien,” LeBron James said of Victor Wembanyama, “he’s definitely a generational talent.”
World famous without NBA game
Victor Vembanyama has never played an NBA game, he didn’t attend an American college and he’s only 18 years old, but every basketball fan in the US knows his name. “King” James, too, of course, whose praise Vembanyama seductively took casually;
However, the 2.21m giant has earned the recognition of the basketball-crazy states. He made his first US appearance in early October in Henderson, Nevada. There, he and his team Metropolitans 92 from Paris faced the G League Ignite development team in two friendlies.
And Vembanyama proved himself comfortable in the limelight. He outscored everyone in the two contests, totaling 73 points, 15 rebounds and nine blocks. Just in time, he capitalized on the headlines in the US, because despite the upcoming start of the NBA season, the question now is where does the alien land?
Everyone wants great talent
A question that could have a big impact on the upcoming season, as feared in the US. Poor teams are projected to lose games on purpose in the hope that massive talent will emerge in the 2023 draft. It seems certain that Vembanyama will be the first player selected next year.
Some NBA officials have already addressed the management of “Vembanyama” with absurd demands. “They want us to take him out,” his agent Buna Ndiaye told ESPN, “we’re not going to do that.” He’d look at us and say, ‘What are you talking about?’ NBA teams fear for the health of the coveted talent, who will appear in the first league of France next season.
Compare to Durant or Porzingis
His massive height with a 2.42m wingspan combines Vembanyama with quickness and agility that usually only point guards have on the court. Top players like Kevin Durant (Brooklyn Nets) or Kristaps Porzingis (Washington Wizards) have offered a comparable overall package in the NBA for years, including frequent major injuries.
Young Wembanyama is already being compared to the superstars of the industry. “He’ll be the most popular player since LeBron James,” ESPN’s CEO claimed. Basketball expert Steven A. Smith even described the Frenchman as “a bigger version of the great Kevin Durant”.
Vembanyama himself does not compare himself with anyone. His goal is to be “something you’ve never experienced before.” Just like a real alien.
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