There is at least one person with deep pockets who is extremely bullish on Victor Wembanyama.
To be fair, a lot of people are bullish on the San Antonio Spurs rookie, who has so far delivered on the hype as arguably the most-anticipated NBA prospect since LeBron James. But those people didn't spend roughly three-quarters of a million dollars on a key piece of his memorabilia.
Wembanyama's Spurs jersey from his NBA debut auctioned for $762,000, according to the Sotheby's website, shattering initial expectations for a sale between $80K and $120K. The jersey was apparently only one of the jerseys Wembanyama wore against the Dallas Mavericks on Oct. 25, as the Sotheby's site notes he wore this one during the second half.
The price is a record for a player's rookie jersey sold during his rookie season, though it falls well short of the price for a rookie jersey overall. That would be the $3.69 million paid for Kobe Bryant's only known photo-matched jersey from his rookie season.
To put it another way, the jersey sold for more than Bill Russell's Olympic gold medal.
The buyer here, who is currently unidentified, could very well be an eager fan, or a speculator, or some combination of the two. Even though Wembanyama has looked like a wonder early in his career, expectations are high enough that he could make multiple All-Star teams and still be considered a disappointment.
If speculation is the name of the game, spending this amount of money is essentially a bet Wembanyama is on a Hall of Fame track. Returns have been good through 14 games, as the Frenchman has basically been the Spurs' top offensive option from Day 1 while looking like an elite paint defender in the making.
That hasn't exactly translated to a huge turnaround for the Spurs, though. After going 22-60 last season, the team's record sits at 3-11 after not doing much beyond adding the No. 1 overall pick. Fortunately, it's not like you have to buy all their jerseys.