In the wake of Victor Wembanyama, the enchanting season of French basketball, from Las Vegas to Roland-Garros

Despite the old saying, what happens in Las Vegas doesn’t always stay there. It will have been enough for two exhibition meetings, on October 4 and 6, 2022, between the Boulogne-Levallois Metropolitans 92 and a G-League team (the NBA’s development league) in “Sin City” for the whole planet falls in love with a French basketball player of disproportionate dimensions: Victor Wembanyama.

The great player (2.21 meters, and 2.43 m wingspan) with immense potential should be chosen, Thursday, June 22 (on the night of Thursday to Friday, at 2 a.m., Paris time) as first choice by the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA draft, this great purse for players not yet in the NBA. And begin, at 19, his American career, after a final season in France totally out of the ordinary.

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Since its outings in Las Vegas (37 points the first game, 36 the second), Wemby, as it has been renamed, has fascinated far beyond the sphere of orange ball fans. “Clearly, we have never seen such enthusiasmobserves Yann Casseville, editor-in-chief of basketball the mag. From Las Vegas to Roland-Garros [où s’est déroulée l’ultime rencontre de la finale], French basketball lived a season like a dream. »

“Sometimes we talked about the Beatles tour”

In the wake of its gondola head, the entire French championship (Betclic Elite) has benefited from this new attractiveness. When the Mets travel, their hosts are full, and on his name alone, Wembanyama twice fills the Accor Arena in Bercy (15,000 seats) – in less than a day, at the end of May, during the semi-finals of the championship against Asvel.

“Sometimes we talked about the Beatles tour”had fun Vincent Collet, the coach of Boulogne-Levallois after the epilogue of the season – and culmination of the “Wembamania” having swept over the country – disputed on the central court of Roland-Garros, in Paris, became a temple of basketball a few days after seeing the coronation of Novak Djokovic.

All of France wants to see this star announced, before his departure for the NBA. “Victor is an exceptional player. What he causes in people is a pleasureenthused Vincent Collet during the Mets’ first outing at Bercy in early May. He creates passion, it’s a real pride to see him. It allows people to dream. » The tricolor coach is no exception, he who agreed to extend his lease at Boulogne-Levallois this season to be able to follow and lead the one he called in Blue from the age of 18, in November 2022.

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