Four-time NBA champion John Salley has expressed his admiration for Victor Wembanyama, this year’s highly-touted No. 1 draft pick, drawing parallels to the immense hype that once surrounded LeBron James in 2003.
Salley shared his thoughts on the 19-year-old French prodigy, who has already made waves with his extraordinary height and burgeoning skill set.
“I’m a fan because he’s Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s height,” Salley told Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson, “nowhere close to the talent of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, but some of his skill sets are that of a shorter fella. So the fact that he can build on it, and he got here early to do it, changes everything.”
Salley, who had a successful career as a versatile big man, emphasized the importance of Wembanyama’s physical development. He believes that as the young French talent strengthens his body and adapts to the American style of play, he has the potential to become a transformative force in the basketball world.
Acknowledging the challenges Wembanyama will face as a young player in the spotlight, Salley expressed optimism about his future, especially with the guidance of experienced coaches like Gregg Popovich.
“When I see a guy like Victor, I start thinking once he gets stronger — because everybody wanted me to get more muscle and my muscle is narrow and thin like the rope of a bridge,” he said.
“That’s what I used to tell ‘em like, You don’t see no big fat ropes on a bridge, you see thin… so I think once his body develops into this lifestyle of America — plus everybody has to pay attention that this kid is a KID. And he’s going to be thrown up against everything. So I am really going to look for him and he’s in the right place being down there with Popovich too.”