Victor Wembanyama, ‘one of the loudest voices in the dressing room’ of the San Antonio Spurs

Victor Wembanyama’s first season in the NBA was a great success on a personal level, and he won over his team-mates at the Texan franchise, who are full of praise for the French basketball player.

Spurs French center Victor Wembanyama on March 15, 2024 during a game in San Antonio, Texas.

Spurs French center Victor Wembanyama on March 15, 2024 during a game in San Antonio, Texas. 

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It took Victor Wembanyama less than a season to conquer the NBA. And it’s not among his team-mates that the French phenomenon will find critics. At the same time as opponents and followers of the great North American basketball league, the Frenchman was quick to put his San Antonio Spurs partners firmly in his pocket. “During a preseason yoga session, we were all lying down and he asked if anyone needed water or a towel,” said power forward Doug McDermott, interviewed in late March. Transferred from San Antonio to Indianapolis at the beginning of February, the veteran American player (32) admitted to having “preconceived ideas about number 1 draft picks” – the annual scholarship offered to young players wishing to enter the NBA – and insisted that such attention to the rest of the team was “pretty rare for a rookie. It immediately shows the person he is.”

Voted Western Conference rookie of the month for the third time in a row in March (averaging 23.2 points, 11.7 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 3.8 blocks), Wembanyama is racking up top-notch performances. Despite his budding star status, the 20-year-old Frenchman, who scored 17 points on Friday, April 5, during the Spurs’ win against the New Orleans Pelicans’, is the unanimous choice in the Texan dressing room.

Never averse to a little joke, always willing to teach his fellow travelers a few words of French, the giant (2.24 m) is as relaxed off the pitch as he can be focused in the game, observe his partners.”I’m pretty nervous when I y, but Victor likes to have a laugh about it,” said Spurs’ Georgian player Sandro Mamukelashvili (24). Both a “joker” and “quick-witted,” according to McDermott – visibly marked by his four months at the side of the world’s new basketball phenomenon – Wembanyama has a “very calming” presence. He has also become the Spurs’ spearhead both oensively and defensively

‘I draw inspiration from him and learn a lot from him’

Propelled into the leadership of the league’s youngest squad, he has quickly shed his initial reserve, sometimes oering his teammates dinner and not hesitating to quip about their dubious pronunciation of certain French wines. “He’s one of the loudest voices in the dressing room, he knows how to motivate us,” said small forward Julian Champagnie (22), whose locker in the dressing room adjoins that of “Wemby.” “Victor can tell us when we’re doing something right or wrong, and takes criticism in his stride. We’re all able to tell each other the truth, because we all love each other.” You have 46.23% of this article left to read. The rest is for subscribers only.

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