"With the first pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, the San Antonio Spurs select… Victor Wembanyama."
Those words cement a new era for San Antonio and for the NBA.
Everyone knew Victor was going to be selected with the first overall pick, but Spurs fans around the world still rejoiced regardless. Moments after being drafted, Victor began to tear up, "Hearing that sentence from Adam Silver, I've dreamed of it so much," many Spurs fans feel the same way.
After the dust settles and Victor is in his new home in San Antonio, some people may have questions about "The Alien." How mature is this kid? How does Pop feel about Wemby? How does Wemby feel about the fans? Is there any pressure on him? Does he need to bulk up?
Well, one thing is certain, he is a superb basketball player and an even better person off the court. Here is some insight on Victor Wembanyama's character and addressing few concerns that some may have.
On the podcast featuring JJ Redick named "The Old Man and the Three," Victor describes himself as someone who has a good grasp on reality.
"I’m driven, from the inside of my heart. Nothing can push me out of my path. My totem is something bigger than basketball. it’s just life," he says. "When I need to fight on the court, I always remember I’m free in the universe. I know what I wanna do, and nothing is gonna stop me from doing it."
You usually don’t hear things like that coming from a 19-year-old teenager. So as far as maturity goes, it’s the last thing anybody will have to worry about when discussing Wembanyama.
When asked about dealing with the pressure of being touted as a generational prospect, on the show Good Morning America, Wembanyama responded by saying,
"I have such high expectations for myself, and I'm so determined that the expectations of others are nothing compared to what I place on myself... It's not that hard to be able to."
And when it comes to competing, he wants to win badly. In his post-draft press conference, Victor discussed his goals for the near future.
"Some players have tried to win championships, win a ring for years and haven't made it. I don't want to be one of those. So this is gonna be my goal, is going to be to get closer and closer every time to the ring. And to learn how to make it."
Again, the determination to win and the level of maturity he brings is unusual for a teenager and is something Spurs fans will undoubtedly be happy with if he is the Spurs headliner for years to come.
Wembanyama’s weight has always been a concern for people, and he is aware that he needs to make changes in his body, but it isn’t by packing on a bunch of weight or muscle. When asked in his post-draft interview on ESPN, he responded,
"It’s being more stable, more strong, more solid … I don’t need to bulk up, I need to get stronger," Wembanyama said on ESPN. "I need to get my core solid."
Wembanyama has been a professional since he was 15 years old. He’s been as professional as he could be. Especially when taking care of his body. I am confident the Spurs medical staff and the new $500M facility will help guide him to staying healthy.
Coach Pop has also been excited about having the possibility to coach Victor.
"We’re thrilled to have Victor on board..." "From what I’ve seen, I don’t think he’s going to need a lot of help from me, in handling pressure." Pop also stated, "We want Victor to be Victor. We are going to watch him and see what happens. I learned that from Manu. You can’t make players be what you think they should be."
To some, that last quote is a sigh of relief for those that had the idea that Pop was going to act like a basketball tyrant and misuse Victor, but that isn’t the case. The team will be better moving forward, and Pop’s enthusiasm is a great sign for this team moving as it continues to develop.
And lastly, when asked by Tom Petrini from KENS5 about the Spurs fandom and how much they already love him, Victor stated,
"I’ve felt so much love towards me by the Spurs fans ever since May 16. I think there’s murals of me in the city of San Antonio. This is incredible… I could not ask for a better welcome than this. I really love the fanbase man."
It feels rare that a player of his caliber is willing and wants to be a Spur. The past few years have been tough for San Antonio basketball, especially since it’s a city with such success for the past 20+ years, and Spurs fans just aren’t used to losing so much. Hopefully with the draft of Wembanyama, not to mention Sidy Cissoko, along with the rest of the young core back in San Antonio, the Spurs can not only come back to the success we’re all used to but a new era of fun, and an exciting new generation of Spurs Basketball.