ESPN’s Brian Windhorst does it right. He gets on a beat covering the most compelling basketball player on the world and then rides the rollercoaster. He spent so many years chronicling LeBron James and it was hard to imagine there’d be another prospect worthy of such attention and investment but then Victor Wembanyama came along and, hell yeah, everyone’s going to be intensely interested in a 7-foot-4 unicorn who can somehow do everything on a basketball court except — I don’t know — lift as many courtside chairs as some grunt named Larry or something.
The Spurs’ rookie sensation had the best game of his young NBA career last night, scoring 38 points and grabbing 10 rebounds as his team beat the vaunted Phoenix Suns for a second straight game. And Windhorst was on Get Up this morning to gush, justifiably.
Windy called the breakout peformance “the stuff that dreams are made of” and compared Wemby’s early progress to James’.
It’s a long road and the first five games won’t tell the story, even if early returns that any acclimation process is going to be on turbo speed. With Wembanyama the biggest concern is his health – and that’s not going to go away until he puts together a few full-participation seasons. For right now it’s just … incredibly fun to watch someone like we’ve never seen before be everything that that was promised right off the bat. He’s one of those athletes who sparks honest-to-goodness joy to watch because every 20 minutes or so you’re struck by just how absurd the body and game are in concert.
Windhorst reflects that as you can hear how earnestly thrilled he is to be bearing witness to such a new career. We look forward to many seasons of having greatness explained and contextualized by someone who got the best front-row look at the measuring stick.