BEFORE VICTOR WEMBANYAMA could properly introduce himself to the basketball world last October, first, he had to warm up.
Curious onlookers at the Dollar Loan Center outside of Las Vegas -- many of whom were NBA scouts -- congregated early on the floor to find Wembanyama going through somewhat unusual paces ahead of his debut on American soil.
Of course, there were dunks and jumpers and typical pregame basketball activities. But Wembanyama's systematic, full-body warmup also left an impression.
Cameras flashed as Wembanyama bent forward onto his palms, bear crawling with his bare toes, crawling methodically along the sidelines. He spent a large part of the time barefoot, specifically warming up his feet that wear size 20.5 shoes.
Later, the 7-foot-5 Wembanyama juggled three tennis balls at once before he turned his back and began catching them over his shoulder with his back turned, a drill that seemed intended more for center fielders than centers.
Victor Wembanyama juggling tennis balls pic.twitter.com/hJn8xyVyla— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) October 6, 2022
While his style of play can be heavily improvisational, every aspect of Wembanyama's preparation is planned. Shadowing him in every viral warmup video has been Guillaume Alquier, the mastermind behind the whole routine. Metropolitans 92's strength and conditioning coach was hand-picked by Wembanyama's team to prepare the future No. 1 pick of the San Antonio Spurs for the rigors of an NBA workload.