I hereby request that Victor Wembanyama stay on my TV

I can’t remember when I first heard about Victor Wembanyama, but it was immediately hard to believe that he was real. A French teenager who is 7ft 4, can handle the ball on the edge and shoot it all over the floor? That’s not a basketball player, man. This is a cryptid. Finally, there were highlight clips to inspect from anonymous French gyms, which seemed to prove that there really is a dude out there who’s taller than Joel Embiid but plays like a guard. But could you really trust that? Anyone can look good in a 30-second clip. The big question remained: is this guy actually a gamer or just an oddity?

As of this morning, this question seems to have been answered. On Tuesday, the Wembanyama team traveled to Nevada for an exhibition match against G-League Ignite. It was a game that also featured some real stakes, as it put Wembanyama in a head-to-head match against Ignite’s Scoot Henderson, the other guy that NBA teams are eagerly preparing for their season to refuel. So there he was: Victor Wembanyama, in high definition, in a full 48-minute game against a worthy rival. If I had to use one word to describe the viewing experience that all this adds up to, I would probably say “hallucinogenic”.

Wembanyama scored 37 points, blocked five shots and hit seven of the 11 three-pointers he attempted. Everything I’d seen Wembanyama do in truncated climaxes happened suddenly, over and over again, in the flow of real, competitive play. I’m lost in it. It’s an objectively absurd thing for a person to raise their hands to the sky and yell “bang!” in response to every shot taken at any point during an exhibition game between a G-League team and some French, and yet that’s exactly what I did when Wembanyama took over the fourth quarter and his team nearly reclaimed a double-digit deficit.

The experience made me realize that Wembanyama is unlike any NBA prospect I’ve encountered before, as I’m currently less concerned about what his later NBA career will be like than I am about who he is now. He’s a wonder, so much so that it doesn’t matter where he plays or who he plays against, I just want to see him play. Because of this, ESPN or another sports broadcaster has to work out a broadcasting deal with the French professional league and televise every single game of Wembanyama this season. I got a glimpse of this vast impossibility and now I need to see more. We all do that!

https://defector.com/i-hereby-demand-that-victor-wembanyama-remain-on-my-tv/ I hereby request that Victor Wembanyama stay on my TV

John Verrall

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