Monday's meeting between the San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder didn't mean anything in the grand scheme. Yet, the game felt like just a small sign of great things to come over the next couple of decades.
Victor Wembanyama and Chet Holmgren are rightfully considered favorites for the NBA's Rookie of the Year Award -- something the Spurs haven't seen since Tim Duncan in 1997. On Monday night, even in limited minutes in a meaningless game, they both showed why.
The two combined for 41 points on 15-of-23 shooting, and the game was full of highlights galore from both.
In the end, the Oklahoma City Thunder got the better of the Spurs with a narrow 122-121 victory, but the real winners were both fanbases that got to see the future longtime rivalry begin in glorious fashion.
While Wembanyama playing at power forward made it so the two didn't go head-to-head often, the loudest play of the night came when Victor took it right at Chet's chest to give him the business. The result was an and-one that led to a flex from the 229-pound Frenchman.
Holmgren playfully adds fuel to the budding fire with Victor Wembanyama
In watching the play, there's certainly a legitimate argument to be made that Wembanyama may have gotten away with an offensive foul here. A couple of hours after the game, Chet Holmgren made sure to plead his case.
Taking a headbutt to the face would certainly explain why Holmgren was bleeding from the mouth for the next few plays before ultimately being treated. Still, Chet looked like all he was advertised before last year's injury and more throughout the rest of the game.
While some drama-craving NBA fans will be hoping for a fierce rivalry complete with petty comments and questionable behavior, something tells me this playful comment from Holmgren might be as scandalous as it will get.
In fact, Chet later went back to add some emojis to the post -- something we all do when we want to keep things light.
The rivalry is already here, and it's going to be extremely competitive but still friendly.
The Spurs and Thunder are both classy franchises, and Victor and Chet are both first-class individuals. Still, you can definitely see the competitiveness is there with that tweet. Holmgren doesn't appreciate the indication that he was "flexed on", and Wembanyama certainly would feel the same way if the situation was reversed.
Still, any little morsel we can cling to for this rivalry will be welcome as these once-powerhouse organizations continue their trajectory back to where they belong.