The 2023 NBA Draft is next month, but the festivities begin this week with the NBA Draft Lottery.
As we determine the top teams who get to pick amongst the best young talent, the player most likely to go first is Victor Wembanyama.
Wembanyama is a 7-foot-4 French phenom who’s got people so excited about his potential that they’re saying this may be the most pivotal NBA draft since 2003, when the Cleveland Cavaliers chose LeBron James with the first pick.
Now the hype around the Frenchmen has gained the 19-year-old an extensive profile with ESPN to learn more about all it took to get him this far.
The profile takes it back to Wembanyama’s 6’3″ mother, who played basketball professionally in France. As a middle child, he’s got an older sister and younger brother who also hoop, but he didn’t notice he had a true passion for it until he was around 11 years old when he got a glimpse at the “professional expectations.”
Around that age, he began playing in tournaments in northern France with kids 3 or 4 years older than him, and not only did he keep up with them, he dominated the competition.
“It was my first time playing in front of people, and I really loved the experience,” Wembanyama told ESPN. “But I’ve got maybe one regret. I didn’t end up being the MVP, even though my team won, and I think I deserved it.”
After dominating France his Mets 92 team came to the States to play two games against the G League.
The Las Vegas-based games played a huge role in his hype exploding in America. He dropped 36 and 37 points, and NBA fans began salivating at his potential. It was then that Wembanyama knew he’d fit right in when he decided to declare for the 2023 NBA draft.
“[Vegas] just confirmed the thoughts that I had about the NBA,” Wembanyama says. “I think it fits my game so well. I love playing these games. I feel like I got so much to express on the court. … So yeah, I’m excited, too. I know I’ve a lot to show.”
Read the rest of ESPN‘s Wembanyama profile here.
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