The All Star France team came to the end of the All-Star World team (136-128) and Victor Wembanyama maintained his legend by being awarded the MVP award at not even 19 years old.
For its 20th anniversary in Paris, the All-Star Game kept all its promises. From its beginning with the point guard contest won by Cholet’s T.J. Campbell against Nadir Hifi in the final, to the MVP title awarded to Victor Wembanyama for his 27 points and 12 rebounds in the All-Star Game. The latter was won by Team France of an equally scintillating Juhann Begarin, with 38 ratings. As a good sniper, Nicolas Lang from Limoges won the three-point contest.
The public was spoiled from the start. A pass between the legs of David Holston, a slam dunk from Ismaël Kamagate, seven points from Markis McDuffie and the gala game was launched on very offensive bases for the World team which led 11-20 after 4 minutes. But the first major event of the game was the work of Wemby who, after a series of dribbles between the legs, went to slam a raging dunk … with some complacency of the opposing defense.
The French had made up some of their deficit at halftime (64-75), but it’s nice to devour the opponent on the rebound (29-17), to score 48 points in the rack against 26 to the opponent if it’s a disaster behind the three-point line (3/21). As for James Palmer, he had already doubled his capital with 10 points.
Finally the French were the strongest in the moneytime. A pass in the back from Victor Wembanyama, a dunk from Hugo Besson, a three-pointer from Juhann Begarin, two more from Nando De Colo and Victor who then made a 2+1 and the French were ahead for the first time at 87-86. Nothing seemed to stop the French team (100-91 and 106-99, 30th).
“I hope that my future titles will overshadow this performance, but it was an enjoyable experience overall. That’s what I remember more than the MVP award which I don’t really understand when I see that Juhann (Begarin) had 38 and I had 32. I can guess why he wasn’t voted MVP but he deserves it anyway. I’m sure he does.”Victor Wembanyama in press conference on his MVP award
Air Pons flew over the Accor Arena
The attractions and especially the dunking contest are effective in revitalizing the evening. The image of Yves Pons propelling himself in the air to recover the ball on Victor Wembanyama’s head – slightly bent – and his 2.21 m to go dunk cleanly, in the first try, will certainly make the world go round. Just as extraordinary when the Villeurbannais managed this dunk of Julius Erving and Michael Jordan’s legend by taking call from the free-throw line – without biting. And when he dunked from behind… barefoot like Vince Carter. He had to do such masterpieces to beat Juhann Begarin by one point in the finals, 204-203.
“Since I was a child, I have been an artist. I’ve always been immersed in art, whether it’s music, dance or photography. So I have a bit of a creative side. For me, it was normal that I came up with an innovative idea. Combining all of that, it makes for a good result.”
Still very young (23 years old), despite a few appearances in the NBA (12 games), Yves Pons is not one of the best known Villeurbannais, even if his aerial flights are already famous for those who follow the French and Euroleague championships closely, but he left his mark on the minds of those who took part in this 2K Dunk Contest.
Photo : LNB