The San Antonio Spurs awarded Victor Wembanyama with the Rookie of the Year trophy at the planetarium of San Antonio College

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Victor Wembanyama adressing media after getting NBA Rookie of the year trophy

The San Antonio Spurs awarded Victor Wembanyama with the NBA Rookie of the Year trophy at San Antonio College’s planetarium on Saturday. It seemed fitting for a player nicknamed “The Alien.”

The 7-foot-3 center from France received a unanimous selection, becoming the sixth player in NBA history to earn every first-place vote for this award, which has been given out since 1953.

He joins a prestigious list of players including Houston’s Ralph Sampson (1984), the Spurs’ David Robinson (1990), the Los Angeles Clippers’ Blake Griffin (2011), Portland’s Damian Lillard (2013), and Minnesota’s Karl-Anthony Towns (2016).

Wembanyama is the third player from San Antonio to win this award, following in the footsteps of Robinson and Tim Duncan (1998).

Despite the Spurs’ 22-60 record this season, which matched their performance in 2022-23, there is optimism for the future with Wembanyama living up to expectations as the top overall pick in the draft.

“While I naturally want to win as soon as possible and see the team succeed, I didn’t expect us to become champions in my first year,” Wembanyama commented. “This award represents our progress throughout the season and the collective efforts we all put in on the court.”

Victor Wembanyama enjoying videos with local kids

Wembanyama achieved a remarkable feat by becoming the only rookie in NBA history to maintain averages of at least 21.4 points, 10.6 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 3.6 blocks, and 1.2 steals per game.

Robinson praised Wembanyama in a tribute video, acknowledging his representation of the Spurs, himself, and France. “Great job. I couldn’t be prouder of you,” Robinson remarked.

San Antonio had a remarkable streak of 22 consecutive postseason appearances from 1998 to 2019 under the leadership of Robinson and Duncan. However, the team has missed the playoffs for five consecutive seasons. Nevertheless, Wembanyama feels privileged to play for a franchise with a rich history, including five NBA titles and a highly respected coach in Gregg Popovich.

“I notice a distinction between us, the Spurs, and around 90 percent of the league,” Wembanyama commented. “We emphasize team play and involve all players on the court. I’m pleased to see that the coaches are committed to continuing this approach and not relying solely on isolation plays. This team philosophy has been a part of the Spurs for years.”


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