From elation in a packed bar on the north side to a mural of the Frenchman that’s been up for weeks at a south-side restaurant, the Alamo City is ready for Wemby.
SAN ANTONIO — San Antonio is still buzzing after getting the number one pick in the NBA Draft Lottery. Victor Wembanyama, a generational talent is likely a San Antonio Spur, and the city had its hopes up well before the pick was announced Tuesday night.
400 people were packed into Roo Pub after the bar announced it would pay for everyone’s tab if the Spurs got the first pick.
“I was like, man, I’m going to pull my inner Mattress Mack out,” said owner Chip Ingram. The idea started after brainstorming with regulars about what to do for the bar’s 10-year anniversary in September. Once the bet was announced, the promotion “took on a life of its own” by putting the word out on local radio and on social media.
Ingram says it was surreal when the Spurs won the lottery.
“I was just quite frankly in shock. It had nothing to do with paying for the tabs, it was a fun thing to do for my regulars and the customers,” Ingram said.
Prior to Tuesday night—the city was hoping Wembanyama would become the new face of the Spurs franchise. Artist Nik Soupe painted a mural of the future Spur outside Rudy’s Seafood on the south side well before the lottery.
“I remember him saying, ‘you sure you want to do that?’ I said yeah let’s put him up, what the heck? Who would’ve thought he’d be the number one draft pick and we’d get him!” Roland Ramirez, owner of Rudy’s Seafood says several people stopped by the restaurant to take a picture with the mural after last night’s announcement.
“It’s a good feeling. In a way it’s like you’re giving back to the community, because a lot of people enjoy this,” Ramirez said.
Other local businesses including Rose Hip Market ran their own promotion, offering $1 coffee in honor of the #1 pick. Customers like Michelle Martinez took advantage.
“I think San Antonio is such a unique city because we’re ride or die for our Spurs…so it’s really exciting to see us on a high note right now,” Martinez said.
When the team is doing well, all bars and restaurants reap the benefits. Ingram is buying into the Wembanyama hype.
“It matters to our sales, our employees and how much money they make, it’s a whole different feeling. When the Spurs are good, the city is operating at a different level,” Ingram said.
We asked Ingram exactly how much did the tabs cost. He’s keeping it a secret.
“It was a lot, but that number will stay between me and the computer forever and I’ll just let people guess,” Ingram said it was totally worth it.
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