Why Victor Wembanyama Had The World Watching His NBA Debut For San Antonio Spurs

San Antonio Spurs' 19-year-old debutant Victor Wembanyama has already evoked comparisons with all-time NBA greats like Michael Jordan and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and is being considered as the most exciting basketball talent since LeBron James

San Antonio Spurs' Victor Wembanyama in action against the Dallas Mavericks in San Antonio.

At seven feet and three inches, Victor Wembanyama is a towering presence on the basketball court. But he is not the first ultra-tall player to grace the sport, which is replete with examples of such soaring figures. So what's special about this 19-year-old, who made his NBA debut for the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday, that's got the entire basketball fraternity excited about him?  (Basketball News)

“The way he moves for (someone who is 7-foot-3), he moves incredibly. He moves like a point guard almost. It’s pretty amazing to see. He’s going to be amazing, he already is,” gushes Dallas Mavericks' All-Star Luka Doncic. Dallas beat the Spurs 126-119 in the Thursday game, but that didn't stop Doncic from appreciating Wembanyama's talent.

The French player was the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft, and showed why in his very first outing. Wembanyama scored 15 points - nine from three-pointers and nine points in the fourth quarter - and notched up five rebounds, two assists and a block in about 23 minutes of gametime. 

The block came in the very first minute of the game and sent the crowd into raptures. At the 35-second mark in the first quarter, Wembanyama blocked Dallas star Kyrie Irving's shot. The 19-year-old barely had to jump off the ground to thwart Irving’s two-point attempt.

Wembanyama then scored his first NBA points with a 26-foot three-point basket at the 8 minutes, 25 seconds mark of the first quarter. Six minutes later, he added another three-pointer from the right wing. The youngster did not score again up until the fourth quarter due to a string of fouls. He was forced to exit after picking up his fourth violation with eight minutes, 37 seconds left in the third quarter off a touch foul on Derrick Jones Junior. 

He returned halfway through the final quarter and soon scored seven points to delight the crowd. After the game, the rising star said: “I was just focused on being the best I can be when I stepped back on the court.” 

Such was the craze and media attention around Wembanyama's debut that San Antonio received over 200 media accreditation requests from eight countries. San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich agreed that the Frenchman's first game in the NBA had the world watching. Popovich said: “How can I deny that. It’s pretty obvious. Victor’s had a lot of attention pointed toward him for a very long time and that’s not going to change. Fortunately for us, he’s a really mature, prioritized young man that knows what he wants. He’s already a pro.”

(With AP inputs)