SAN ANTONIO (AP) — The San Antonio Spurs presented Victor Wembanyama with the NBA Rookie of the Year trophy on Saturday at the planetarium on the campus of San Antonio College — an appropriate venue, perhaps, for a player nicknamed “The Alien.”

The 7-foot-3 center from France was a unanimous selection, the sixth player in league history to receive every first-place vote for an award that’s been handed out since 1953. He joined Houston’s Ralph Sampson (1984), the Spurs’ David Robinson (1990), the Los Angeles Clippers’ Blake Griffin (2011), Portland’s Damian Lillard (2013) and Minnesota’s Karl-Anthony Towns (2016).

He is the third San Antonio player to win the award, following Robinson and Tim Duncan (1998).

The Spurs finished 22-60 this season, matching their record in 2022-23, but there is plenty of optimism for the future after Wembanyama lived up to his potential as the No. 1 overall pick in the draft.

“Of course, I want to win as soon as possible, and I want the team results to be there, but I didn’t expect to be champions in my first year,” Wembanyama said. “This is one of the representations of our progression throughout the year and the efforts we all made on the court.”

Wembanyama became the only rookie in league history to average at least 21.4 points, 10.6 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 3.6 blocks and 1.2 steals per game.

“You’ve represented the Spurs, you’ve represented yourself, you’ve represented France, everybody,” Robinson said in a tribute video. “Great job. I couldn’t be more proud of you.”

After tying a league record with 22 straight postseason appearances from 1998 to 2019 under Robinson and Duncan, San Antonio has missed the playoffs in five straight seasons. But Wembanyama feels fortunate to play for a franchise that has won five NBA titles and has one of the league’s most respected coaches in Gregg Popovich.

“What I know is that there is a difference between us, the Spurs, the way we play and 90 percent of the teams in the league,” Wembanyama said. “I feel like we involve all players on the court. We have this will to share the ball and I can see that the coaches have this will to keep developing that and not become an iso-ball team, for example. I’m glad this is something that the Spurs have done for years.”

After receiving the award, Wembanyama stuck around with a group of children to watch a presentation on dark matter.

“I like these kinds of questions,” Wembanyama said. “Dark matter is a mass we can’t see, but we know it’s there because it’s got influence on gravitational pulls and the speed of gravitational orbits in every galaxy. Its presence inside galaxies is five times higher than regular seeable matter, so it’s a huge mystery. We can’t see it. We can’t observe it, but we can observe its influence. This is dark matter. Very sci-fi.”