With each passing day, NBA fans all over the world wait in anticipation for superstar prospect Victor Wembanyama to join the ranks of the league.
The 7-foot-2 star out of France is projected to be the shining prize of the 2023 NBA Draft, and some believe that he is the best prospect in the history of the modern game.
When it comes to Wembanyama himself, he clearly already has a strong connection to the NBA and its history. During a recent interview with L’Equipe, Wembanyama talked about his respect for late Los Angeles Lakers great Kobe Bryant, starting by saying that he’s an “absolute fan.”
“I think about him almost every day since his death,” Wembanyama said, as translated by Eurohoops. “His disappearance shocked me. I admire his spirit, work ethic, and game philosophy. … Following his example every day, I try to push my limits. When I suffer, when I have doubts, I often wonder what Kobe would have done. And I know I would have done more.”
It is a sentiment that a lot of young basketball stars have echoed in the years following Bryant’s passing. He clearly was not just an inspiration to an entire generation of basketball players on the court itself, but also in life.
The cruel irony for Lakers fans regarding Wembanyama is that if the team had not dealt its 2023 first-round draft pick (in a pick swap) to the New Orleans Pelicans in the Anthony Davis blockbuster deal a few years ago, the team could very well be in the running for the 18-year-old star now.
The Lakers are currently looking very much like a lottery team with their dismal season record of 2-9. The Lakers could make one or more trades to vastly alter their roster and season outlook at any point. However, if they opt not to do that, they will likely continue to struggle for the rest of the 2022-23 campaign.
As for Wembanyama, he will surely continue to stun fans and experts with his combination of size, skill and athleticism. Whichever team ends up winning the upcoming draft lottery and snagging the No. 1 overall pick will get the chance to add a generational talent to its roster.