From Chesnay to the NBA: L’Équipe recounts the early life of Victor Wembanyama

From Chesnay to the NBA: L’Équipe recounts the early life of Victor Wembanyama

June 22, 2023. The silhouette and face of Victor Wembanyama stretch several dozen meters high on the billboards of Times Square, in the heart of New York. It’s the big day. The day when, amid general euphoria, the prodigy trained in Nanterre becomes, at 19, the first Frenchman selected number 1 in the NBA draft.

“I just want to be me. » This is Wembanyama’s profession of faith, as he expressed it during an interview with L’Équipe. Doing things differently: an obsession that has inhabited this extraordinary size since his childhood in Chesnay [2,23 m] with supernatural abilities, which earned him the nickname “alien”, bestowed by LeBron James himself.

But before being the global phenomenon who went through his last French season with the Metropolitans 92 like a rock star, before the “Wembamania” which gripped Big Apple like San Antonio, where his destiny will follow in the footsteps of greatest French basketball player, Tony Parker, before “Wemby”, there was simply Victor.

It is this first life, which took him from Yvelines to Texas via Hauts-de-Seine, that this work aims to retrace, solely from original content, collected in the field. Interviews, reports, stories, decryptions highlighted by L’Équipe photos, enhanced by the graphics and illustrations of the artist Greg.

Yann Ohnona has been a senior reporter at L’Équipe since 2010. He followed Victor Wenbanyama for two years, questioning his inner circle (coaches, trainers, agents, teammates, family, etc.), and accompanied him to the 2023 draft, to draw up the portrait of one of the most fascinating characters that French sport has had.

“Wembanyama. Exclusive behind the scenes of his arrival in the NBA” – L’Equipe and Solar Editions – By Yann Ohnona – 17 cm x 26 cm – 144 pages – 16.90 euros – Publication on September 14, 2023

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