VICTOR WEMBANYAMA has gotten me to watch the National Basketball Association (NBA) for the first time in a long time.
Okay, I did follow the Chicago Bulls during DeMar DeRozan’s first year with the club when they were taking names during the early part of the season before injuries derailed whatever title aspiration they had.
I used to be a die-hard NBA fan but in the last 10 years, have followed it intermittently. I can chalk that up to being busier than ever and a lack of success by the clubs that I followed (Chicago and then Philadelphia). I would sleepwalk through the regular season and ratchet up the interest come the playoffs.
As much as I am in awe of Giannis Antetokounmpo, marveling at the sustained greatness and durability of LeBron James, and the all-around game of Luka Doncic, I would not follow the NBA on a regular basis.
Because of Wembanyama, now I follow the Spurs’ matches (no, I am not a fan of the team but I am keeping tabs on the Frenchman).
How he played against that loaded Phoenix Suns team left me shaking my head and watching those highlights again and again. And those moves…sweet!
I was thinking while watching him play, “And this kid is still learning the game.” And to think that he is only 19 years old!
Then, “Does this mean France will become the world’s top basketball power?”
The last time a center got me excited and followed NBA basketball was when the Houston Rockets drafted Yao Ming in 2002.
In my opinion, the San Antonio Spurs are going to win a title with Wembanyama. I mean, they should, right? After all, they have a player who is changing the game.
How lucky can San Antonio get with these centers? First, David Robinson and then Tim Duncan and now Wembanyama.
There was a time when I thought that the Los Angeles Lakers were the luckiest basketball team as they have acquired some of the best all-time centers from Wilt Chamberlain to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to Vlade Divac to Shaquille O’Neal to Pau Gasol to Anthony Davis. The Lakers won a title with every center save for Divac.
Now, the Spurs.
Yes, they are only 3-2 as of this writing, but as they surround Wembanyama with better talent, they’ll be even more awesome.
Have you checked the internet for all these Wembanyama memes? I even saw one on Instagram today of how this guy would shoot high high (yes, double high) arcing shots with Wembanyama guarding him. And there’s this one of Victor moving in to reject Ray Allen’s shot for the Miami Heat that “hypothetically would have not given the Heat a title.” And there’s another one where this player pretends Wembanyama is looking to block his shot.
They are hilarious but that all points to the impact he is having.
Of course, everyone is also waiting for that player to posterize Wembanyama. For sure that will go viral. Hahahaha.
It is all part of the game.
Now that I am older, I have discarded a lot of the NBA memorabilia that I have stored over the decades (save the Michael Jordan stuff). I have sold almost my entire NBA jersey collection.
Guess what? I am going to get a Wembanyama jersey! And I will wait for San Antonio’s game (I am still not a Spurs fan) against the Indiana Pacers this Tuesday, November 7.