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Saturday, September 21, 2019

Zion Williamson

Zion Williamson shatters records with post-draft merchandise sales

Zion Williamson

Zion Williamson is already the most popular NBA draftee of all time, at least if you go by merchandise sales.

According to Fanatics, via Lisa Fickenscher and Nicolas Vega of the New York Post, Williamson shattered the record by selling more New Orleans Pelicans jerseys and shirts than any draftees in history. In fact, in the five days after the draft, people purchased more Williamson shirts and jerseys than they did for the entire first-round draft class of the 2018 NBA Draft combined.

No. 3 pick RJ Barrett also broke the previous record after being drafted by the New York Knicks, but was outpaced by his former Duke teammate.

It’s pretty clear already that Williamson is being anointed the new king of New Orleans sports. Considering the level of hype that surrounded him all year and followed him into the NBA, this isn’t a huge shocker, but it’s still an indication of the stature Williamson enters the league with already.

Drew Brees signed jersey for Zion Williamson with great message

Drew Brees

Drew Brees has been the King of New Orleans for more than a decade now, and it will soon be time for him to hand the crown over to someone else. That someone may not play for the Saints, however.

After Zion Williamson was drafted No. 1 overall by the New Orleans Pelicans on Thursday, Brees gifted him an autographed jersey with an awesome message on it. The 40-year-old quarterback told told Williamson he is “passing the torch” to him.

Williamson will turn 19 in a few weeks, which means he was only 9 when Brees led the Saints to their first championship in franchise history. It must be a surreal feeling for him to have a future Hall of Famer say something like that to him.

Brees isn’t the only admirer of Williamson that the Saints have, either. Sean Payton made it clear how he feels about Zion as soon as the Pelicans earned the top pick in the draft. The hype surrounding Williamson is very, very real.

Pelicans’ Twitter calls out Carolina Panthers for wishing Zion Williamson well

Zion Williamson

The New Orleans Pelicans nabbed Zion Williamson first overall in the NBA Draft on Thursday night, which led to a lot of wider attention from the sports world. Some of that attention came from a somewhat unlikely source.

As Williamson is a North Carolina native, the Carolina Panthers’ Twitter account saw fit to wish Williamson good luck after the Pelicans drafted him. The Pelicans’ Twitter account, however, was quick to ask why the NFL team hadn’t bothered congratulating any of the Charlotte Hornets’ draftees.

The New Orleans Saints, who in addition to sharing a city with the Pelicans are also the Panthers’ division rivals, wasted no time getting in on the fun.

Is it a bit excessive considering Williamson is from North Carolina? Maybe. But it’s fun, makes for some harmless Twitter drama, and increases the visibility of the accounts involved, which is the entire point.

Zion Williamson reveals what advice he would like from LeBron

Zion Williamson

Zion Williamson has more hype surrounding him than any top overall draft pick since LeBron James, and his game has also been frequently compared to LeBron’s. It only makes sense, then, for Williamson to seek advice from the man who is supposed to eventually pass him the NBA torch.

LeBron has offered to share some wisdom with Williamson, and the 18-year-old said after he was drafted by the New Orleans Pelicans on Thursday night that he is very open to listening. He also shared some specific questions he might ask LeBron.

In addition to having natural-born talent, James is one of the hardest workers in the history of the NBA. Williamson could do a lot worse than trying to model his game and work ethic after LeBron’s.

The way Williamson reacted after being drafted on Thursday appears to prove he has remained humble despite all the hype, and that should only help his career.

Watch: Zion Williamson gets emotional after becoming No. 1 pick

Zion Williamson

Zion Williamson and everyone else who follow basketball have known for a very long time that he would be the top overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, but that didn’t make the moment any less special for the former Duke star.

Williamson was interviewed by ESPN after the New Orleans Pelicans officially selected him with the No. 1 pick, and the 18-year-old was overcome with emotion. He had to pause several times to fight back tears.

Williamson said being drafted No. 1 overall is something he has been dreaming of since he was 5 years old, so you can understand the reaction. Even if it has been a foregone conclusion that he would be the top pick, knowing it’s coming and actually hearing the commissioner announce your name are two entirely different things.

Zion Williamson, Ja Morant, RJ Barrett expected to go 1-2-3 in draft

Zion Williamson

The top of the 2019 NBA Draft appears to be finalized hours before the draft takes place.

Zion Williamson has long been expected to go No. 1 overall, while the Grizzlies have been tied to Ja Morant ever since winning the No. 2 pick in the lottery. RJ Barrett has also been expected to be picked by the Knicks at No. 3.

The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported Thursday that those picks are already set, meaning the mystery won’t begin until the New Orleans Pelicans pick at No. 4.

Players like Darius Garland, Coby White, and De’Andre Hunter have been mentioned as potential picks at No. 4. New Orleans also has been interested in trading that pick.

The real fun will begin with that fourth pick.

Zion Williamson sets record straight about his first meal in New Orleans

Zion Williamson

Zion Williamson made sure to set the record straight about his first meal in New Orleans.

Williamson is widely expected to become the first overall pick in Thursday’s NBA Draft by the Pelicans. New Orleans is known for its cuisine, and Williamson was said to have ordered chicken strips during his first meal there. Word that Williamson ordered a fairly standard item rather than a city specialty did not sit well with the foodies out there, so Williamson had to clarify — he actually ate fried shrimp.

That’s what happens when you go out to eat with a 5-year-old child. Chicken tenders are a popular item for the youngsters.

More important than all the food nonsense though is that Williamson told the media he is ready to be the face of a franchise. That’s a massive responsibility and expectation for an 18-year-old, but Williamson seems to have the impressive character to take on that task and thrive.