Victor Wembanyama, an international phenomenon in France

Victor Wembanyama (2.21m, 18 years old) is changing the world of basketball on and off the court. Friday night, thanks to him and his 41 evaluations Boulogne-Levallois led Limoges (78-69). His teammate Lahaou Konate, his coach at Boulogne-Levallois and the France team, Vincent Collet, and his opponent from Limoges and teammate in blue, Nicolas Lang testify.

The phenomenon was already present in Nanterre, Villeurbanne and Levallois at the beginning of the season, but it was the showcase in Las Vegas in October that was an incredible multiplier. Americans, and particularly the NBA, are aces to promote a product, an event, a star. Victor Wembanyama instantly became a global celebrity, starting in his home country.

In previous seasons, there were matches in the Marcel-Cerdan sports hall with two, one and even no journalists in the stands. Last week, in Nanterre for the match against Gravelines, we were two media representatives at the post-match conference. A change of scenery. Friday, for the reception of Limoges, there are about thirty accredited with a team of photographers. Matthieu Marot from Popular with the Center and Jerome Ostermann from France Blue Limousin follow CSP on the track, but everyone else came for the eighteen-year-old who became 7e wonder of the basketball world. MAY The team and in Parisianregulars of the area, joined FranceTV, RFI and become a Greek journalist from gazette. journalists from New York Times and a Briton for Associated Press has come to report on the Metropolitans player performance for their readers. Most powerfully, it’s clear that this cameraman is filming this exclusively for the NBA application. He took a position behind the Mets’ attack panel and switched sides in the second half. It’s something crazy to see Vincent Collet’s team bypassing the national championship to go to Las Vegas for two friendlies arranged for the sole purpose of showing Americans who this Victor Wembanyama is with supernatural gifts.

It is also from this jump in Nevada that the Marcel-Cerdan sports hall plays its sold-out matches. You have to put the enthusiasm into perspective because it only has 2,814 seats, but the excitement at Le Mans and Bourg confirmed that this is a completely different phenomenon. The Mets were completely shocked, unable to meet the ten thousand orders that came from all directions and without publicity. On their site, Victor’s jersey at 65 euros is declared out of stock.

Apart from the few dozen Limougeauds scattered in the stands, Friday night’s spectators were focused solely on him. In the past, VIPs included former Prime Minister Lionel Jospin and this time American actor Michael Douglas came to discover the rock star. At the presentation of the teams, he was held to enthusiastic applause, the others were only polite.

Unreal say the Americans

Victor Wembayama wears number 1, which means he will probably go first in the next NBA draft and, meanwhile, MVP of the Betclic Elite era. Because our young man came back more confident in his talent from his stay in the United States. He does everything on the pitch. He clearly grabs rebounds (12 against Limoges), leads the league in blocks (2.9), makes free and decisive passes, signals that he wants the ball, advises as much as he is advised, drives, and when he shoots, he is the one who decides whether the ball will enter the circle because nothing can block his viewfinder. He was first in the evaluation, at the age of 18. Forget Alain Gilles, Hervé Dubuisson, Antoine Rigaudeau and even Tony Parker, we have never seen that in France. And the only player who comes to mind for that combination of height and skill at the same age is Arvidas Sabonis, but that’s for another time.

We even had a scare at the end of the first quarter. Wemby went to a counter, landed on his butt and hurt his ankle. He spent some time in the locker room, made some moves to straighten his bruised leg, gave his coach the signal that everything was fine, and went back to work. Without him, the first space did not evolve, with him, it was only increased.

He scored his first three-pointer with a defender in the saddle. Cubic Desi Rodriguez or Will Yeguete are too small to compete against him properly. But it was his award-winning one-foot basket after a series of between-the-legs dribbles that thrilled the public… and American internet users. We don’t write UNREAL, it’s Sports Illustrated, an American reference. Like this dunk tap after recovering one of his missed shots. He broke his personal record this time: 33 points.

The next stage will be held on November 11 in Lithuania for a qualifying match for the 2023 World Cup. You can be sure that the whole world will soon follow his first choice in blue. Luckily for us, it will be clear on France 4. Then, for a thousand reasons, the Mets’ upsets against ASVEL and Monaco will be like the All-Star Game at Paris-Bercy. From Victor Wembayama, you have to take full advantage of it.

Here are the testimonials revealed:

Image: Basketball Europe

Lahaou Konate: “What he is doing is unheard of and I hope it continues like this for him”

When you have a player like Victor Wembanyama in your team, does that require special adaptation or is he a “normal” player?

Lahaou Konate: He is not a normal player because he is 2.21, 2.23 m. No, we don’t fit. We know the instructions, we know how to use it. Victor knows better how to adapt. Tonight, we know that Limoges has a weakness, size. We targeted them

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Opening photo: Tuan Nguyen

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