San Antonio Spurs newbie Victor Wembanyama is poised to rewrite the record books as he aims to become the first NBA player to earn a billion-dollar contract solely through his on-court performance. The 20-year-old, 7-foot-4 French sensation known as “Wemby” made an impressive debut when he was drafted by the Spurs as the first pick in the 2023 NBA draft.
There’s major buzz around the new NBA player with the 8-foot wingspan. His lucrative rookie contract is just the beginning of what could be a historic and immensely lucrative career in professional basketball.
Wembanyama’s journey to potential basketball billionaire status began with his debut NBA contract — a four-year deal worth $55.2 million, the maximum allowed under the current NBA labor agreement. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg for the young French player.
Under the current NBA contract limits, Wembanyama’s future earnings potential is staggering. After his initial four-year contract expires, he becomes eligible for a five-year rookie max extension deal worth approximately $316 million. He could in the future secure a supermax contract, says experts. This could be valued at around $529 million over five years. This trajectory would bring his career earnings to just over $900 million, Bloomberg News reported. This would put him in billionaire range.
“It’s not something I’ve thought about before,” Wembanyama recently told Bloomberg News. “It widens the range of possibilities and impact I can have.”
To reach the billion-dollar mark, Wembanyama would need a second supermax deal worth an $760 million over five years, estimated Bloomberg.
Career Highlights So Far
He hasn’t been playing profession for all that long and he’s already being compared to legends like Wilt Chamberlain, according to Rolling Stone, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
“We’ve never seen a player like Wemby before. He is like Kevin Durant crossed with Rudy Gobert, making him a Gen-Z Kareem Abdul-Jabbar or Ralph Sampson raised on YouTube videos,” praises The Ringer.
Regarded as one of the most promising basketball talents in his generation, Wemby started his professional journey with Frances’ Nanterre 92 in the LNB Pro A in 2019. After two years, he transitioned to ASVEL, contributing to the team’s victory in the Pro A title during his sole season with them. In the 2022–23 season, Wembanyama joined Metropolitans 92, setting a record as the youngest player to claim the Pro A MVP award.
Beyond his club success, Wembanyama was also a key player for the French national team. In youth competitions, he propelled his team to two silver medals at the 2021 FIBA Under-19 World Cup, where he established a FIBA record for the highest blocks per game in a single tournament.
According to Sports Illustrated, “the way in which Wembanyama operates has always been remarkable. He moves and handles the ball like a guard while getting into his pull-up jumper like he’s Devin Booker. Defensively, he brings a fortifying rim presence while retaining elite mobility. One might say his archetype breaks the game of basketball. After all, he mixes strengths of players from the different positions into one massive frame.”
In his first season with the Spurs he has averaged 19.3 points, 10.1 rebounds, 3.3 blocks and 2.8 assists in 31 regular-season games.
Not Just Any Endorsement Deal
Despite the potential for lucrative endorsements and business opportunities, Wembanyama has said he won’t take just any deal; any deal he takes has to align with his personal values. “I would rather do nothing than to do something meaningless,” he said.
Global Reach and Growth
Wembanyama’s influence extends beyond the basketball court. As the NBA seeks to expand its international audience, players like Wembanyama who hail from abroad, play a crucial role in expanding the league’s global appeal. His participation in the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris could further boost interest in the NBA, especially in France. This could lead to larger TV deals and increased player earnings.