Basketball stars and the American public are huge fans of lanky alien Victor Wimpanyama (19 years old).

Basketball stars and the American public are huge fans of lanky alien Victor Wimpanyama (19 years old).

Victor Wimpanyama of the San Antonio Spurs (right) versus Kevin Durant of the Phoenix Suns.Image by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

It is almost impossible to express the value of Victor Wembanyama in money, but by bidding at the famous auction house Sotheby’s, it is still possible to place an amount on him. The 19-year-old rookie’s first jersey, which he wore in the second half against the Dallas Mavericks, was sold for $762,000, equivalent to more than 700,000 euros.

In advance, the auctioneers expected a sum of around €100,000 for the San Antonio Spurs jersey. It ended up being seven times that amount. register. In comparison, jerseys from other rookies have not fetched more than $30,000.

The popularity of the French miracle in the United States is enormous. Wimbanyama himself seems to find the hype and excitement surrounding his person normal. “My goal is to become something you’ve never seen before,” the San Antonio Spurs playmaker said at the start of the season. “I always try to be original, something unique, something that has never been done before.”

Eagle’s wings

The Parisian is unique in the NBA. Wembanyama’s height is 2.24 metres, making him the tallest player, alongside Boban Marjanovic (Houston Rockets). Its wings are not inferior to that of an eagle. With his size 55 shoes, he barely has to get off the ground to dive. American media describe the basketball player who took first place in the annual competition Draft Talents were selected, such as a skinny alien.

Miami Heat basketball player Nikola Jokic, one of the best players in the NBA, also expressed his deep admiration for Wambanyama’s game last week. “He’s only 19 years old, but he’s going to change the game 100 percent. So, all the fans, just enjoy and watch the show.”

At the age of 15, Wimbanyama was already a professional in the French league. A YouTube video put the son of Congolese high jumper Felix Wembanyama and French basketball coach Elodie Di Vottorio, on the radar of NBA clubs at the age of 16. In the match against Rudy Gobert, the French basketball player, Wembanyama proved to be his equal.

Although Spurs are at the bottom of the Western Conference after 19 games, Wembanyama is living up to his high expectations. He outperforms his teammates by averaging twenty points per game.

Different from usual

A month ago the teenager experienced his temporary peak. In the match against the Phoenix Suns, he scored 38 points. The number earned applause from his idol and rival Kevin Durant: “He’s different from anyone he’s ever played. He’s going to make his own way.”

copy print? LeBron James? Wembanyama might get better. Spectators deliberately arrive very early at the Frostbank Centre, the site of home games, to enjoy the French sensation in the warm-up.

Despite his tall stature, his versatility and dynamism stand out in his first season in the NBA. It combines length and technique. Wembanyama can dribble, shoot, including three-pointers, and defend without tripping over his limbs. He also scores highly in the world rankings for rebounds and assists.

This was not lost on James, the best scorer in the history of the NBA. “He can do it all,” says the Los Angeles Lakers player. “No one has ever seen such a tall player move on the floor with such fluidity and grace. He laughs all the time, and it is clear that he loves the game.”

The San Antonio Spurs will face the Minnesota Timberwolves on Dutch Night from Wednesday to Thursday. Wembanyama is out there trying to be unique and original again.

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