March 02, 2024

Future top NBA pick Victor Wembanyama looking to give France special Olympic moment

Future top NBA pick Victor Wembanyama looking to give France special Olympic moment
Associated Press

Victor Wembenyama is the consensus number 1 pick in next month’s 2023 NBA Draft for obvious reasons. He is a freak of nature, a 7-foot-3 (no shoes) teenager with the wingspan of a condor, the handles of a point guard, the touch of a two-guard, and the athleticism of a wing.

And, from the looks of it, the prodigious Frenchman is not one to shy away from the challenge—even the most daunting ones.

One challenge the 19-year-old seems to have penciled in is to win the top hoops prize in the biggest sporting conclave of all: The Olympics.

"You know the Olympics are in Paris in 2024," Wembanyama told French journalist Pascal Giberné in an exclusive interview for ESPN. "And there could be no more perfect occasion for me to win my first title with the French national team."

If recent history is any indication, though, France will need to beat mighty Team USA, which has won basketball gold in the last 4 Olympiads—and 16 of 20 overall.

Not that Wembanyama cares.

"My goal is to beat Team USA in the final," said the teenage prospect.

That is quite the goal for a 19-year-old, even one as hyped up as Wembanyama.

The Les Bleus, though, might have something brewing, especially if it can cull together its best players for next year’s Olympics in France. In this case, Wembanyama could be anchoring a pretty good team with NBA-level talent in Joel Embiid, Rudy Gobert, Nicolas Batum, Evan Fournier, Guerschon Yabusele, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Frank Ntilikina, and Killian Hayes.

That is a good team. But it goes from good to great if Wembanyama proves as good as advertised.

It might even be good enough to beat all comers—including Team USA.