Jun 22, 2023 - Sports

San Antonio Spurs officially draft Victor Wembanyama

Victor Wembanyama sits behind a microphone laughing.

Victor Wembanyama is coming to San Antonio. Photo: Timothy A. Clary/AFP via Getty Images

San Antonio's Wembymania has reached its climax — Victor Wembanyama is officially a Spurs player.

What's happening: As expected, the Spurs used their No. 1 NBA draft pick to select the 19-year-old, French basketball phenom Thursday.

  • Why it matters: This could be the Spurs' most substantial, possibly transformative draft pick since 1997 when San Antonio used a No. 1 pick to select Tim Duncan.

State of play: Wemby is the most hyped prospect since LeBron James in 2003.

  • The 7-foot-4 French prodigy has an 8-foot wingspan and was described by Yahoo Sports as "Rudy Gobert mixed with Kevin Durant and Anthony Davis."

Flashback: The Spurs won the NBA draft lottery on May 16, with the right to the first pick.

  • After finishing the 2022-2023 season with a 22-60 record, the worst in the Western Conference, the Spurs had a 14% chance of winning the lottery.

Between the lines: In addition to Wemby's obvious skill set, the star power the basketball player will bring to San Antonio is expected to translate into more nationally broadcast games and marketing opportunities and increased exposure for a team that's long been considered a small market.

  • The Spurs received 2,136 season ticket membership deposits the morning after the lottery.

Context: The Spurs, Houston Rockets and Detroit Pistons, were in a three-way tie for the top draft pick.

  • Ultimately, the Pistons and Rockets got the 5th and 4th picks, respectively, on May 16.

What they're saying: Shortly after being drafted, Wembanyama shared his teary-eyed first reaction with ESPN's Monica McNutt.

  • "It's a tough league, it's tough to win this league. Many players have tried to win for years, for decades and haven't made it. My goal is to learn as quick as possible because I want to win that ring. I'm a damn Spur."
  • Wembanyama also told reporters that he's excited to have breakfast tacos in San Antonio.
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