Victor Wembanyama has arrived in the United States for the NBA draft.
The plane from France carrying Wembanyama – almost certain to be picked as No. 1 in Thursday’s draft by the San Antonio Spurs – arrived at Newark International Airport outside New York City on Monday.
And even before he became an NBA star, he got his first official taste of NBA stardom.
Some fans knew what flight he was on and when the plane would land, and many waited. Wembanyama happily signed autographs and scribbled his name on basketballs and Spurs jerseys – some even had his name on the back – before making his way to a waiting vehicle.
“I don’t know how they knew what flight I was on, but it’s fun.” Wembanyama said in a video shared on the NBA’s social media channels As he walked through the New Jersey airport, he ducked his head to avoid some of the signs affixed to the terminal’s ceiling. “It’s different considering you can have so much impact on people.”
It’s the start of hectic days for the 19-year-old French phenomenon, who has long been considered an up-and-coming talent in a way not seen since LeBron James entered the league in 2003, when LeBron James entered the league in media availability ahead of Wednesday’s draft, then the actual draft on Thursday and probably sometime on Friday in San Antonio.
The rest of his summer won’t be slow either.
Wembanyama has already been announced as one of the expected attendees at the first NBA Con in Las Vegas, scheduled for July 7-9 to coincide with the start of the summer league there, and he has said he wants to play basketball for France World Championship, which will take place in the Philippines, Indonesia and Japan from late August to September 10th.