Review: The Wemby Spectacle Begins with a Bang, First Night Resembles a Spectacle

by Andrew Wright
Victor Wembanyama's debut

Victor Wembanyama’s Summer League debut wrapped up with these stats: nine points with a 2-for-13 shooting rate, eight rebounds, five blocked shots, and three assists.

Outside of the statistics: the myriad of photos and videos captured on mobile devices, the frequent applause he gave to his teammates, and all the signatures kindly provided by San Antonio Spurs’ coach Gregg Popovich during halftime for children and fans.

The Wemby Spectacle has begun. Friday night’s result isn’t significant and will likely be forgotten in a few days – for the record, the Spurs defeated the Charlotte Hornets 76-68. But for the 17,500 ticket holders, many of whom attended primarily to witness Wembanyama’s first appearance in a Spurs uniform, it was a memorable evening.

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A memorable evening indeed for the No. 1 draft pick.

“An extraordinary moment,” Wembanyama expressed. “Truly extraordinary to don that jersey for the first time. It’s a genuine honor.”

Wembanyama performed remarkably in various aspects, which was to be expected. He provided effective screens, passed efficiently (including a left-handed shovel pass for an assist), and defended well occasionally. He even blocked a 3-pointer attempted by Charlotte’s Brandon Miller, the No. 2 draft pick, with impressive ease. His four-point play with just 2:50 left essentially sealed the Spurs’ victory.

“Victor is a great person, both on and off the court. I think he will have an excellent career, and his willingness to rise to the challenge really speaks volumes about his character,” said Miller, in a post-match comment, slightly exaggerating Wembanyama’s official height of 7 feet, 3-1/2 inches.

Wembanyama encountered some struggles, airballing two 3-point attempts in the fourth quarter and missing out on a few rebounds. Despite these hiccups, there were numerous learning moments.

“Overall, I think he did well. … You can see his basketball IQ is top-notch,” said Spurs summer coach Matt Nielsen.

However, none of it held much weight, neither the good nor the bad. Wembanyama’s performance in France over the last three years has already confirmed his tremendous potential. A 30-point game or an 0-for-30 game on Friday night would not have altered anything.

The venue was bustling with excitement, with hundreds of fans aiming their mobile phones at the tunnel for his six-minute warm-up prior to the game. Some tickets sold for over $200 on the resale market, a price unheard of for a Summer League game.

“I’m delighted that so many people could witness us play,” Wembanyama shared.

NBA legends Jerry West and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar were present courtside and will join Wembanyama on stage at the NBA Con on Saturday for a discussion between an established legend and a promising future legend.

The individual numbers were secondary. Wembanyama stole the limelight. He was the star of the show.

Under ordinary circumstances, the miraculous finish by Jabari Smith Jr. and Tari Eason in the preceding game would have been the talk of the Summer League. However, these are not ordinary times.

Across the arena, a simultaneous game between Cleveland and Brooklyn was noticeably less crowded; only the most dedicated Cavaliers or Nets fans, or friends and family of the players seemed to be present. Meanwhile, in the main gym, spectators filled up to the topmost row.

The debut was an expected spectacle, the buzz only amplified by Wembanyama’s unexpected encounter with pop star Britney Spears at dinner two nights prior. Despite the world’s gaze upon him, Wembanyama navigated the night with remarkable composure.

“He’s pretty cool,” praised Spurs teammate Julian Champagnie, adding that “he deserves to enjoy this moment.”

Wembanyama is a rookie. An incredibly tall and immensely talented one. He will have ups and downs in San Antonio, but his NBA journey has officially begun, and the Spurs are betting that it will only get more thrilling.

“I just want to improve every time,” Wembanyama commented, “and learn as much as I can.”

Tim Reynolds is a basketball correspondent for The Big Big News. You can reach him at treynolds(at)ap.org

AP NBA: https://bigbignews.net/nba and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Victor Wembanyama’s debut

What were the final statistics for Victor Wembanyama in his Summer League debut?

Victor Wembanyama ended his Summer League debut with nine points, eight rebounds, five blocked shots, and three assists.

Who is the coach of the San Antonio Spurs?

The San Antonio Spurs coach is Gregg Popovich.

What was the result of the match between the San Antonio Spurs and the Charlotte Hornets?

The San Antonio Spurs defeated the Charlotte Hornets 76-68 in the match.

Who was the No. 1 pick in the draft?

The No. 1 pick in the draft was Victor Wembanyama.

What were some of the struggles Victor Wembanyama faced during the game?

During the game, Wembanyama had a few struggles such as airballing two 3-point attempts in the fourth quarter, getting moved out of the way on a few rebound opportunities, and missing a defense against Charlotte’s Kai Jones.

Who will be joining Victor Wembanyama at the NBA Con?

NBA legends Jerry West and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar will be joining Victor Wembanyama on stage at the NBA Con.

How did Victor Wembanyama react to his first game?

Victor Wembanyama expressed that he was delighted that so many people could witness them play and he just wants to improve every time and learn as much as he can.

More about Victor Wembanyama’s debut

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RookieWatch July 8, 2023 - 2:02 pm

victor seems really grounded. his quote about just wanting to improve and learn is impressive. let’s see how he grows.

CharlotteHornet July 8, 2023 - 6:56 pm

Miller Vs Wembanyama, now that’s a matchup I’d love to see more of. This is gonna be an exciting season!

AllThingsNBA July 8, 2023 - 7:23 pm

Anybody catch the ticket prices? $200 for a summer league game?? This Wemby Show is something else.

LegendLover July 8, 2023 - 9:34 pm

Can’t wait for that NBA Con convo. Kareem and Jerry West with the kid Wembanyama? its gonna be epic.

MikeBballFan34 July 8, 2023 - 10:02 pm

Wow, Wembanyama’s gonna be a beast! Kid’s only 19 and already showing so much potential. spurs got lucky this time…

BritneyFan101 July 9, 2023 - 6:26 am

lol, Britney Spears poking at him? Bet he didn’t expect that at dinner 😀

PopIsTheGOAT July 9, 2023 - 7:34 am

Pop being pop, always there for the fans, signing autographs. No wonder the spurs are so loved.


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