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Did the NBA miss a chance to spotlight Victor Wembanyama in Paris?

The NBA is back in the French capital on Thursday night, featuring the Cleveland Cavaliers and Brooklyn Nets. 

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at Cleveland Cavaliers David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Over the past three decades, the NBA has made remarkable strides in globalizing the game. This effort is reflected in the exceptional rise of international players, with over 125 players from 40 different countries making the opening night rosters this season. Notably, the league’s top-tier talent includes the last five MVPs from abroad and Victor Wembanyama standing at the forefront of this international influx.

Witnessing the NBA’s evolution, from Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls’ groundbreaking visit to Paris for two preseason games in 1997 to the recent return of the Bulls to Paris in January 2023, marks a significant shift in the league’s global engagement with Wembanyama sitting courtside for the game.

Looking ahead to 2024, the NBA plans to host another overseas match, this time featuring the Cleveland Cavaliers and Brooklyn Nets. While some might question the choice of these teams for an international showcase, this matchup extends the league’s outreach beyond premium games.

However, the league found itself in a unique scenario with international superstar Victor Wembanyama joining the San Antonio Spurs this season. Given Wembanyama’s ties to Paris and popularity, it seemed an opportune moment to feature him in an overseas game. A match in Paris, practically in Wembanyama’s backyard, presented a compelling chance for the league to spotlight his talent.

The upcoming game scheduled for this Thursday could have been a perfect showcase for Wembanyama, especially considering his recent standout performances. His presence in his hometown would undoubtedly have captivated fans. While this opportunity may have been missed this time, next season will be different.

Let’s run it back! Adding Dejounte Murray would be an excellent move, complementing Wemby and Devin Vessell.

Victor has been dominating against big men all season, with Jarren Jackson Jr. leading the way in this unfortunate category.

Giannis better keep an eye out because Victor is poised to lead in scoring near the rim. It might not happen this season due to minutes restrictions, but next season, expect relentless scoring from close range.