Victor Wembanyama is preparing to go toe-to-toe with the NBA's top centers...by doing toe exercises.
Video of the 7-foot-5 French prospect's extremely-lower-body routine went viral Thursday, showing a barefoot Wembanyama warming up his toes on his size 21 foot.
Wembanyama, the consensus No. 1 pick expected to be selected by the San Antonio Spurs in the 2023 NBA Draft, wiggles his toes while keeping his legs together and his feet stationary as he shimmies down the court.
What does that do exactly? That wasn't exactly explained in the video, but it's one of a series of workouts that Wembanyama's recently hired athletic trainer has incorporated to focus on strengthening a pair of highly valuable feet.
Guillaume Alquier was hired to specifically care for Wembanyama, reported ESPN's Brian Windhorst and Jonathan Givony. In addition to requesting that Wembanyama get 10 hours of sleep a day, Alquier has designed an extensive body activation routine that includes fast-twitch muscle and hand-eye coordination warmups like the one seen in the video.
"We have unbelievable experience working on how to avoid stress [injuries], how to avoid them with those long feet," Bouna Ndiaye, Wembanyama's agent, told ESPN. "This is something that you have to work on. And we have been setting up a special program on Victor, on his feet these past three years...We have been working very specifically on his body to make him safer, and with a different approach."
Injuries to the feet are detrimental to any athlete, but they have been known to derail the careers of some of the NBA's top big-man prospects like Greg Oden and Bill Walton, who, like Wembanyama, have abnormally large feet.
Windhorst and Givony wrote Alquier has Wembanyama do workouts that target, strengthen and protect the feet. He has Wembanyama crawl on his fingertips and toes to strengthen his core.
He uses bands wrapped around Wembanyama's big toes to stretch them and create resistance.
He makes him do whatever it was he was doing in the video, which made the rounds on social media just as Dak Prescott's pregame hip exercises did in 2019.
Wembanyama, who plays for Metropolitans 92 in France, is a true "unicorn" prospect that has never before been seen in the NBA due to his unique size and skill set. He can put the ball on the floor to create, score inside and shoot from deep. He can defend multiple positions with a lateral speed typically not seen with players over 7-feet tall.
That's why, when it comes to taking care of his feet, he has to stay on his toes.