19 years old and on top of the world. That pretty much describes Victor Wembanyama.
The 2023 #1 NBA draft pick is 7’5” tall. That means he looks down at 6’9” LeBron James. To boot, he has an 8 ft. wingspan – that’s more than a bald eagle. Does he even need to jump to reach the hoop? (That is a rhetorical question)
Who is this teen sensation?
Wembanyama was born in Le Chesnay, a suburb of Paris, to a Congolese father and a French mother.
His bi-racial family is highly athletic:
- His grandfather played professional basketball in France in the 1960s
- His 6’5” father was an athlete who competed in track and field as a triple jumper for the Democratic Republic of Congo national team and also represented the Country at the 1995 All-Africa Games
- His 6’3” mother played professional basketball for Entente Le Chesnay Versailles and Nanterre 92, before transitioning to coaching youth basketball
- His older sister plays professional basketball for the Monaco BA in the Ligue Feminine 2 de Basketball
With years of basketball experience already under his belt, at 13 Wembanyama joined the French U15 national team and never looked back. He turned pro at age 15, first playing for Nanterre, then moving to ASVEL and Metropolitan 92.
Last year Metropolitan held 2 exhibition games in Las Vegas against the G League Ignite NBA development team. Wembanyama’s performance was electric. Afterwards, the NBA began streaming all Metropolitan games on its app.
Wembanyama is considered to be a once-in-a-generation asset with the potential to be one of the best players in the NBA.
“I think probably the same as everybody else thinks. Everybody’s been a unicorn over the last few years, but he’s more like an alien. No one has ever seen anyone as tall as he is but as fluid and graceful as he is on the floor. He’s for sure a generational talent. Hopefully, he continues to stay healthy. That’s the important thing for him.” (LeBron James, America’s highest paid athlete and NBA star)
Now that his growth spurt is mostly over, Victor is going to need to develop muscle to support his tall frame, withstand the rigors of the NBA and avoid injury. Muscles generate power, maintain balance, protect joints, increase endurance and improve coordination. And he’s going to need to keep his sensible head on his shoulders. That may be the biggest challenge of them all.
Victor, be you, be human, be your best. We wish you well.
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Next Tuesday’s blog will be all about Wimbledon, which will be held from July 3-16th at the 155-year-old All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in London. Netflix has just released more “Break Point” episodes, by the same Box to Box Films team that brought you “Drive to Survive” and “Full Swing”.