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Victor Wembanyama gets red-hot welcome

SAN ANTONIO Spurs fans greet Victor Wembanyama as he arrives at the San Antonio International Airport shortly after being tapped as top overall pick in the NBA Draft. Photo by Patrick T. Fallon / AFP

SAN ANTONIO (AFP) – Hundreds of San Antonio Spurs fans braved sweltering temperatures to greet Victor Wembanyama on Friday as the French basketball prodigy and newly minted No. 1 National Basketball Association Draft pick touched down in Texas.

Around 300 excited fans gathered at San Antonio Airport in ferocious 38-degree Celsius heat as a private jet carrying Wembanyama touched down.

While media were allowed near the airport tarmac to report on Wembanyama’s arrival, fans equipped with parasols and drinks coolers were kept behind a fence.

Cheers greeted the plane’s arrival and a huge roar went up from fans when Wembanyama’s brother Oscar appeared from within the plane, mistaken momentarily for his sibling.

When Wembanyama finally appeared he was greeted with more cheering before being hugged by San Antonio’s team mascot, a coyote.

Wembanyama then obliged his fans by posing for selfies and giving autographs before shaking hands with police escort riders.

Wembanyama, who will be formally presented by the Spurs at an event in San Antonio on Saturday, was then whisked away as fans continued to cheer.

The teenager’s selection by San Antonio at the draft in Brooklyn has sparked huge excitement in the Texas city, with Spurs fans hoping he will lead a revival of the club’s fortunes.

The 7-foot-4 forward is widely regarded as a once-in-a-generation talent, the most sought-after No.1 draft pick since LeBron James entered the NBA in 2003.

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