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In the middle of the third quarter of the San Antonio Spurs’ home opener, the stands seemed to blanch. A wave of seats across the bleachers became vacant, covered only by the white T-shirts that had been given to everyone in attendance. Rookie phenom Victor Wembanyama was in foul trouble and was now consigned to the bench. Many took the opportunity to purchase hot dogs, water, team gear, or otherwise to walk off a growing sense of restlessness, the anxiety of delayed excitement. The seven-foot-four French rookie, whose debut was among the most anticipated in NBA history, had wooed fans to the stadium but, two thirds through the game, it felt as if he’d rudely stood them up. Wembanyama’s arrival in San Antonio was a near-celestial…
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