Victor Wembanyama gets emotional as NBA Rookie of the Year winners congratulate him in surprise fashion

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Victor Wembanyama, the San Antonio Spurs‘ No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, is this year’s Rookie of the Year after a stellar debut season in the Association. 

Wembanyama enters an elite club of Rookie of the Year winners who have developed into legends of the game, some of whom are still in the NBA

To celebrate this achievement, Fanatics decided to invite “Wemby” to take a look at a special exhibit called “Fanatics Beginnings,” which he believed was simply looking at memorabilia from past Rookie of the Year winners. 

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Victor Wembanyama looks at screen with Kevin Durant

Victor Wembanyama listens to video message from Phoenix Suns star Kevin Durant (Fanatics)

Little did he know the entire exhibit was just for him. 

As Wembanyama began looking through the rookie cards of Allen Iverson, Shaquille O’Neal and Kevin Durant among others, the exhibit started to come to life. It began with Jason Kidd’s voice being heard from his Dallas Mavericks case, where the mouth started to move on the screen. 

“Victor, hey, Jason Kidd here,” the picture said as Wemby stood there stunned. 

“Vic, how you doing man? This is Vince Carter here,” the next voice said. 

Finally, LeBron James said, “Yo, what’s up Wemby?” From there, the lights dimmed and video messages from past Rookie of the Year winners began popping up all over the exhibit. 

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“Hey Victor, just want to say congratulations on a fantastic rookie season,” Grant Hill said. “I watched you come in with all the hype and all the talk. You’ve lived up to it.”

Fellow Spur David Robinson also had a message for Wembanyama. 

“You’ve represented the Spurs, you’ve represented yourself, you’ve represented France. Everybody,” he explained. 

Victor Wembanyama looks at screen with Lebron James

Victor Wembanyama listens to video message from LeBron James (Fanatics)

Everyone from Iverson, to Carter, to O’Neal, to Pau Gasol gave their praise for Wembanyama, who led the entire NBA in blocks this season (3.6 per game) while leading all rookies with 21.4 points per contest as well. 

“You will, when it’s all said and done, be one of the greatest big men ever,” O’Neal said.

At this point, the 20-year-old Wembanyama was clearly getting emotional listening to the message, and then LeBron James — the 2003 Rookie of the Year with the Cleveland Cavaliers — popped up on the screen. 

“Just want to say congratulations to you, man,” he said. “Happy to have you a part of the beautiful league. Keep doing you. Keep getting better. Want to say congratulations to you, man. Rookie of the Year. Well deserved. 

Victor Wembanyama looks ahead

Fanatics surprised 2024 NBA Rookie of the Year with various winners of the award congratulating him during a surprise exhibit. (Fanatics)

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“This is just the beginning.”

Wembanyama couldn’t believe the love he got from NBA legends and Hall of Famers, but he deserves his flowers after living up to all the hype he received before joining the NBA out of France. 

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