More than 13,000 spectators flocked to the Frost Bank Center in San Antonio on Saturday to watch Victor Wembanyama and the Spurs play an intra-squad training game in preparation for the NBA season.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve played in front of so many people,” Wembanyama, the 19-year-old French prodigy who was taken number one on the NBA draft by the Spurs.
“Of course, it’s even more valuable when it comes from the fan base of the franchise I’ve been following since I was a kid,” added Wembanyama, a player regarded as a generational talent who says his aim in his first NBA season is to make the playoffs.
In a low-intensity mini-game lasting four 10-minute periods between San Antonio players, Wembanyama scored nine points and grabbed five rebounds, drawing cheers from the 13,200 in attendance.
The Spurs open the season against the Dallas Mavericks on October 25.
They kick off pre-season matches on Monday against the Thunder in Oklahoma City.
While Wembanyama is focused on his own preparations for the season, he was asked Saturday about Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid’s announcement on Thursday that he had pledged to play for the United States at the Paris Olympics next year.
Embiid, the reigning NBA Most Valuable Player, was also eligible to play internationally for Cameroon or France.
Wembanyama said he was “sad for Cameroon” but otherwise had no opinion.
“If I’m selected, I’ll go and fight with other Frenchmen to win a title,” he said.
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