“I felt like an animal in a zoo, it was too much”

Sometimes difficult to accept by some young players, the sudden notoriety offered by the NBA is sometimes nothing of a test for others, already well seasoned. This is for example the case of a nugget of the league, accustomed to the dark sides of celebrity!

Despite all its positive aspects, it can also turn into a real nightmare for its young members. The NBA certainly makes it possible to receive large sums and thus increase its fanbase for its newcomers, who can however suffer from all this. Unless they have already had to deal in their journey with the excesses that these benefits entail.

Paolo Banchero, freak at the university

1st choice of the last Draft, Paolo Banchero has so far justified this status in his performances, for some historic and better than LeBron James. So it looks like he’s having no trouble adjusting to the league and the spotlight on him. New to his teammate RJ Hampton’s podcast, the 19-year-old winger justified this facility… by his time at Duke:

In high school, even when you ranked well, everyone knows you because you grew up in the area. Suddenly, no one looks at you as a big superstar. (…) But at Duke, it was totally different. It was like I was a celebrity. You are seen as a king when you play on the basketball team. And in my case, as the best-selling player everyone knew, it was even worse.

If he affirms that this treatment prepared him for what awaited him in the NBA, Banchero nevertheless regrets the extent that it could sometimes take:

I love Duke, but sometimes I felt like a zoo animal. In class, I always saw people talking behind my back and staring at me. I even caught some who were filming me in secret.

I was like, “Yo, just talk to me, bro. You don’t have to film me in scred. Come and talk instead. Honestly, that was too much.

Beyond this constant attention – even excessive according to him – that he received, Banchero also often saw strangers coming to disturb him… in an even more intimate place:

People found where my dorm was. So my classmates started bringing their families there. Like, one Sunday morning, I heard a knock on my door, I opened it, and there was a mother, a father, their daughter who studies at Duke and her little brother. “We just wanted to say hello! (…) It was nonsense, brother. But hey, it’s still a good experience that I really enjoyed.

A star on the Duke campus last year, like Kyrie Irving or Zion Williamson before him, Paolo Banchero was able to acclimatize to the attention he now receives in the NBA. No wonder, therefore, that he displayed so much ease at the start of the season!

Leave a Comment