Victor Wembanyama is a French professional basketball player, and the National Basketball Association wants him. Some critics are saying he’s the “most hyped NBA prospect since LeBron James,” Yahoo reported. NBA scouts have been courtside in France watching Wembanyama work.
The San Antonio Spurs won the 2023 NBA draft lottery on May 16, giving them the No. 1 pick in June’s draft and the right to select Wembanyama. The NBA draft is on June 22.
The 19-year-old Wembanyama was born in Le Chesnay, France, and began his professional career in 2019. And it seems basketball is the main passion for the 7-foot-3 Wembanyama.
“It’s just something that’s inside of me that’s always been there,” Wembanyama said during one interview in October 203 in Las Vegas, between a set of exhibition games that marked his American introduction. “It could be basketball or just a card game. Under pressure, I’ve been twice as good.”
He’s one of France’s top players. Wembanyama plays for the French national basketball team. At the youth level, he has led his team to championships.
Athleticism and baseball are family legacies. Wembanyama’s father is of Congolese descent and was a track and field athlete. His mother is a French basketball coach and former player. His older sister, Eve, plays basketball professionally, and his younger brother, Oscar, has played basketball and handball at youth level. His grandfather, Michel de Fautereau, played professional basketball, and his grandmother, Marie Christine, also played the sport.
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Wembanyama played soccer and practiced judo before focusing on basketball. At age seven, Wembanyama began playing. In the 2019–20 season, Wembanyama gained his first professional experience.
He was attracted to American basketball early on. In fact, he started pondering the NBA draft back when he was just 14.
“This is a country of dreams, of the American dream, you know?” Bouna Ndiaye, Wembanyama’s agent, told The New York Times. “‘I’m, the best.’ They all want to be the best. Victor, he has this attitude in him every day, doing his best to be unique, and yeah, that’s very different from the French culture. But I think it just fits where he is going now.”
Boulogne-Levallois’ Victor Wembanyama, watches the ball as he faces Lyon-Villeurbanne’s Yves Pons during the Betclic Elite basketball match Boulogne-Levallois against Lyon-Villeurbanne at the Marcel Cerdan stadium in Levallois, Jan. 9, 2023 outside Paris. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)