Victor Wembanyama is targeting to win an NBA championship ring after being selected by the San Antonio Spurs as the number one overall pick in the 2023 draft.
The 19-year-old Frenchman is considered one of the game’s biggest prospects and one of the most coveted picks since LeBron James in 2003.
Wembanyama is listed at 7ft 5in and has an 8ft wingspan.
“My goal is to try and learn as much as possible because I want to win the ring,” Wembanyama said.
The NBA draft consists of two rounds of 30 picks, with 30 teams selecting players based on where they finished last season.
The worst performing teams pick at the top of the draft, where they have access to the best future talent.
The 2023 draft was held in Brooklyn with NBA commissioner Adam Silver announcing the picks.
“It’s achieved something I’ve been dreaming about all my life,” Wembanyama told ESPN.
“Hearing that sentence from Adam Silver, I wanted it so bad I had to cry, man.”
French president Emmanuel Macron congratulated Wembanyama for becoming “the first Frenchman to be the first pick in the NBA draft”.
In a social media post, he added: “You’ve made us dream, Victor Wembanyama. There’s no doubt about it: you’re going to change the game!”
Wembanyama played for Boulogne-Levallois Metropolitans 92 in France last season and averaged 20.6 points, 10.1 rebounds, 3.0 blocked shots and 2.5 assists in 44 games.
“We’re thrilled that we were able to bring Victor on board,” said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. “He’s obviously a talent, a mature young man.
“But like every draft pick, whether it’s the first pick or the 27th pick, or the 38th pick, we all have a responsibility to try to create an environment where they can reach their maximum potential.” very success is possible for them.
“We’ll take him to the court and we’ll see him play, and we’ll go from there.”
How good is the ‘alien’ Wembanyama?
LA Lakers star LeBron James watched when Wembanyama played in an exhibition game in Las Vegas last October.
“He’s more like an alien, he’s definitely a generational talent,” said James.
In basketball circles the teenager is known as a ‘unicorn’ – a player who can do it all – but Wembanyama recently said he prefers the description from James.
“First of all, I’m so glad he said that because I don’t like being called a unicorn,” Wembanyama told Sports Illustrated. “I like it because it’s something out of this world.
“I like being called an alien, yes. This is exactly what I strive for – something unique and original.”
Dr Lindsay Sarah Krasnoff, author of the forthcoming book Basketball Empire: France and the Making of a Global NBA and WNBA, speaking to the BBC World Service Sport program Sportshour about Wembanyama.
“He’s got the speed for the game, he’s got the technical skills of the game as much as any 19-year-old and then anyone else,” he said.
“He’s got the athleticism but also, most importantly, he’s got the basketball IQ. He’s good at reading the court.
“He has a great understanding, not only on the court, but where his teammates are and how he moves that long, lean body in ways you don’t normally associate with conventional bigs. basketball center, it’s just. amazing.”
Brandon Millera 6ft 9in 20-year-old star at the University of Alabama, was the number two pick in the draft and went to the Charlotte Hornets.
Scott Hendersonwho has played the past two seasons in the developmental ‘G-league’ of the NBA, was chosen by the Portland Trail Blazers as the third pick.
The 20-year-old identical twins Amen and Ausar Thompson consists of the top five selections.
Amen Thompson went to the Houston Rockets as the fourth pick in the draft, while his brother Ausar was selected by the Detroit Pistons in the fifth.