Even if they have not played against each other, the comparisons between LeBron James and Victor Wembanyama have intensified as the NBA season started. The 2023 No. 1 pick made his regular season debut for the San Antonio Spurs and drew remarkable attention. However, this feat was only eclipsed by LeBron James’ debut game back in 2003.
By the numbers, Wembanyama’s NBA debut garnered an average of around 2.99 million viewers, with peak viewership hitting 4.3 million, marking a milestone as the most-watched regular-season game since the Dallas Mavericks took on the San Antonio Spurs in 2011.
Back in 2003, LeBron James made his presence felt in the NBA and was able to get 3.03 million viewers on his debut game against the Sacramento Kings.
The enthusiasm extended to Wembanyama’s homeland in France where NBA League Pass viewership surged by an impressive 220% compared to last season’s average.
More so, Wembanyama’s online presence soared, amassing a staggering 214 million views and it is the highest among any NBA player since the preseason started.
Comparing LeBron James and Victor Wembanyama’s NBA debut performance
The much-anticipated NBA debut of Victor Wembanyama has drawn comparisons to LeBron James from almost all angles. But among the two, the four-time NBA champion bests the French rookie in in-game statistics.
LeBron’s debut in 2003 saw him score 25 points, nine assists, six rebounds, and four steals despite losing to the Sacramento Kings which had Peja Stojakovic, Mike Bibby, and Vlade Divac.
Victor Wembanyama started slowly in his debut game against the Dallas Mavericks as got into foul trouble early on. The Spurs lost to the Mavs with the rookie tallying 15 points, five rebounds, two assists, one block, and three triples on the night. Luka Doncic stole the show with a triple-double performance of 33 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists
By the sheer amount of comparison between the two basketball prodigies, fans will be expecting more to come as the season progresses.
The Spurs and the Lakers will be a much-anticipated matchup this season as they face each other three times. The first encounter will take place on December 13 and another follows two days after. The Spurs will host the Lakers for their last meeting on February 23.