Today’s society is characterised by over-analysis on social networks, exaggerated hype and the need to create idols and generational talents at the drop of a hat. Every year, we can find the “next big thing”, not only in basketball, but in the majority of mass sports. But, on the other hand, when absolutely all the analysts and professionals of a sport detect one, we need to show our distrust and bet on the opposite in order to try to look like a connoisseur and score a possible hit in the future. It is the “I told you so” society. Victor Wembanyama is the best example of this.

All the experts agree that the No. 1 pick in this Draft has the physical and technical qualities (size and technical ability never seen before in one body) to be a rarity in basketball history, but there is a segment of the world that needs to feel different. They want to be the fish against the tide.

“I don’t think Mbappé is that good”, “LeBron is just there because of his physique, he wouldn’t even play in the 80s”, “Pogacar? Nothing compared to the cyclists of the 2000s”. You can’t enjoy the best without listening to their pleas to defend how knowledgeable they are about the sport and how they know how to distinguish the good ones.

This is still a variation on the classic barroom coach, but now, with social media, these opinions don’t just stay in the local bar, but we have to listen to these “cracks ’til they fuck up their knee” ad nauseam.

There is a consensus from all the pros that, if “Wemby” stays healthy physically, he could change the outlook for big players in the NBA.

But a bad game in Summer League (nine points, eight rebounds and five blocks with two losses and 15.4% shooting), the equivalent of a friendly game in the USA where only the substitutes go, is used to judge a player’s future. Can you imagine if Mbappé arrived at Real Madrid and people started talking about him as a mediocre player because of a bad game in pre-season?

To the same people who took advantage of that bad game to say “I told you so”, “it’s not that bad”, “he’s not good enough for the NBA” or “in five years he’ll be back in Europe”, I don’t know what their opinion will be after the second game of the French alien: 27 points and 12 rebounds with 58.3% from the field and 50% in three pointers.

Will Victor Wembanyama live up to his hopes of being one of the most hyped prospects in history? Will he be a perennial All-Star and MVP candidate? Or will he simply remain one of the best rim protectors in the world?

It’s impossible to know, but please don’t listen to those with categorical statements and ask them to do the rest of the world a favour and keep their “alternative” opinions to themselves. Listen to me and only listen to people who know what they are talking about.

Eternal death to the barroom brother-in-law.

Translated by Marcos Rodríguez.

Main image: @spurs.

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