SAN ANTONIO – Spurs fans pulled out all the stops in hopes of landing the expected top overall pick in this year’s NBA Draft — Victor Wembanyama.
The French phenom is considered by many to be a franchise-changing prospect and has received comparisons to Kevin Durant and LeBron James.
Spurs fans are familiar with lottery luck. San Antonio has won two draft lotteries — one in 1987 when the Spurs selected David Robinson and in 1997 when the Silver and Black selected Tim Duncan.
For this draft lottery, Spurs fans lit candles for good luck.
“San Antonio is known for their belief and faith, and the Spurs are no exception,” said Yuli Garcia, senior manager at Papa Jim’s Botanica. “If, with their faith and belief, they are able to help their team, then that’s what they are here for.”
Papa Jim’s Botanica has become a popular destination for candles, incense and other methods of faith.
Garcia said many customers will buy Spurs candles for special events like the draft lottery or playoffs. The store had Wembanyama candles already prepared for lottery night.
“When they are in the playoffs, or it’s something important like this, they definitely want to have their input. And if a candle helps, we more than welcome it for them,” said Garcia.
It’s not just candles that hopefully will bring the Spurs good luck. Fans are already manifesting Wembanyama in silver and black at another South Side favorite.
Rudy’s Seafood is known for its popular Spurs murals and already has one of Wembanyama on the walls outside the restaurant.
“We’re kind of gambling on the fact we’re getting the number one pick, and he’ll be with the Spurs, but we’ll see how it goes,” said Roland Ramirez, Rudy’s Seafood owner.
As with all the other murals at the restaurant, local artist Nik Soupe created the Wembanyama mural in March, months ahead of the lottery.
Ramirez said he changes out the murals every few months based on the roster but hopes he doesn’t have to replace the Wembanyama mural any time soon.
“Right now, that’s what they are missing, that one piece, and I think he would fit in real good with the Spurs,” said Ramirez.
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