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Saturday, May 25, 2019

Zion Williamson

Zion Williamson autograph snub story being taken out of context?

Zion Williamson

An old quote Zion Williamson had a few years back about signing autographs went viral this week, but the way it is being presented is not entirely accurate.

Williamson made it a point to spend extra time signing autographs during his lone season in Duke, and that is something he has been passionate about since high school. When he was 16, Williamson said in a documentary about his team that he tries to sign every kid’s autograph because he knows how he would feel if an athlete he looked up to snubbed him.

“When I was little, I looked up to high school players and wanted their autographs and sometimes I couldn’t get it, I’d be hurt,” Williamson said at the time, via Marc Berman of the New York Post. “I said when I grew up, I don’t want to be like that. I want to sign every kid’s autograph. No matter how long it takes me.

“I try to sign every kid’s autograph. I don’t want to turn a little kid down because I know it will hurt them because it hurt me. Anthony Davis, John Wall turned me down. So I try to sign everybody’s.”

Apparently what Williamson said came off wrong. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, he didn’t mean that Davis and Wall actually turned down his autograph request. He was simply using them as part of an analogy.

That makes sense, because Williamson said in the video clip that he never actually got a chance to see Wall and Davis play:

Everyone can relax now. Davis and Wall aren’t heartless autograph snubbers — at least not that we know of.

For such a young guy, Williamson seems to have the right attitude about being a superstar player. We saw that with the way he handled his unique situation at Duke, and the fact that he goes out of his way to sign as many autographs as possible is another great example.

Zion Williamson told HS coach he will be ‘honored’ to play for Pelicans

Zion Williamson

Zion Williamson is doing everything he can to put to rest any talk about him not wanting the New Orleans Pelicans to draft him.

On Thursday morning, Williamson’s stepfather told ESPN Radio that Zion returning to Duke for his sophomore season is “nothing that we have even considered.” There was also a report that Williamson had a positive meeting with the Pelicans this week, and now we have the 18-year-old’s high school coach saying he spoke with Williamson’s family and Zion would be “honored” to play for New Orleans.

In other words, that narrative can go away.

Williamson went against the advice of many people by even playing an entire season for Duke last year, as he was considered the consensus No. 1 pick all along and was risking a potential injury. While he remained committed to Duke, playing another season when he is about to become the top pick in the NBA Draft would be an insane decision.

The reports about Williamson reacting a certain way during the draft lottery may have been true, but that does not mean he is going to go to great measures to avoid playing for the Pelicans. Every star player would like to hand-pick the team that drafts him, but it doesn’t work that way.

Richard Jefferson had hilarious reaction to talk of Zion Williamson returning to Duke

Even if Zion Williamson was initially disappointed that the New York Knicks did not land the top overall pick in the NBA Draft, it seems crazy to think he would potentially return to Duke for his sophomore season to avoid playing for the New Orleans Pelicans.

Just ask Richard Jefferson.

Jefferson, who played 17 seasons in the NBA and now works as an analyst for ESPN, had a hilarious reaction on “The Jump” this week when reporter Brian Windhorst began talking about Williamson’s “options” for boycotting New Orleans. We’ll let Jefferson’s facial expressions speak for themselves.

Jefferson also mocked the narrative on Twitter.

During an appearance on ESPN Radio Thursday, Williamson’s stepfather Lee Anderson said returning to Duke is “nothing that we have even considered.” A report also stated that Williamson had a positive meeting with the Pelicans and spoke highly of New Orleans prior to the draft lottery.

There was endless talk during the college basketball season last year about the risk Williamson was taking by not sitting out. Now that he is healthy and a lock to go first overall, playing another season of college ball would just be absurd. It’s not going to happen.

Sean Payton wastes no time recruiting Zion Williamson to Saints

Sean Payton

Like LeBron James, Zion Williamson is the type of freak athlete who could probably excel at just about any sport he tried to play. He certainly has the body type to match up with opponents on the football field, and New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton has taken note of that.

When the Pelicans landed the top spot in the NBA Draft Lottery Tuesday night, it seemed like only a matter of time before someone began recruiting Williamson to play two sports in New Orleans. Payton got in on the fun on Wednesday.

Williamson is listed at 6-foot-7, 285 pounds. For comparison, Rob Gronkowski is 6-foot-6 and weighed about 265 pounds when he was playing for the New England Patriots. There is obviously a lot more to excelling at a professional sport than physical makeup, but you get the point.

If you remember, one former Saints player said years ago that he believes LeBron would break records in the New Orleans offense. Payton was in charge of that offense then and still is now. What do you say, Zion?

Newspaper perfectly sums up Knicks’ disappointing draft lottery with back cover

Knicks logo

A New York newspaper perfectly summed up the reaction to the outcome of the NBA draft lottery for the New York Knicks.

The Knicks entered the lottery as one of three teams with a 14 percent chance of landing the top pick in this year’s draft, which meant the opportunity to select Zion Williamson. Needless to say, Knicks fans weren’t happy to find out that New York would be picking third.

As a result of the Knicks’ recent stretch of bad luck continuing, the New York Daily News will run a back page headline that encapsulates how many Knicks fans felt after Tuesday’s lottery.

The No. 3 pick could still be used to select Ja Morant or R.J. Barrett, both of who are projected to have bright futures. However, the No. 1 pick and dreams of Zion Williamson playing home games in Madison Square Garden are what Knicks fans hoped for. It’s something he also reportedly was hoping for too. Unfortunately for them, that will not be happening.

Report: Zion Williamson was hoping for Knicks to win draft lottery

Zion Williamson

Zion Williamson has been great in his dealings with the media about not tipping his hand regarding his preference of which NBA team he wanted to play for. But one report says he had a preference, and it did not come through the way he had hoped.

According to ESPN’s Marc J. Spears, Williamson was hoping the New York Knicks would win the draft lottery.

Instead, the Knicks ended up with the No. 3 overall pick, while the New Orleans Pelicans won the top pick.

Any team that won the lottery has been expected to take Williamson with the top pick, as he’s believed to be the best player in the draft class. He’s also a huge ticket draw, just like this video could tell you.

Even if he had his preference, it probably won’t take long for Williamson to get used to the idea of playing for the Pelicans. Now that they have a new front office person in charge in David Griffin, they should be on a much better path moving forward. Williamson is a great starting point.

Zion Williamson hoping to get drafted by Atlanta Hawks?

Zion Williamson

Zion Williamson is an extremely polished young player, deft with handling the media and answering difficult questions. And while he’s already professional in interviews and with reporters, he may have inadvertently tipped his preference about what NBA team he would like to play for.

Williamson was in Chicago for the NBA draft lottery and walked across the line of podiums set up for the teams in the lottery. He did something notable upon seeing the Atlanta Hawks logo, giving it a double tap.

That didn’t seem to be accidental. He was looking at each one as he walked by and gave the tap specifically for the Hawks.

Atlanta had the 5th-worst record in the league and a 10.5 percent chance of winning the top pick, where they would be able to get Williamson. They have John Collins and Trae Young, and Williamson, the former Duke star from South Carolina, would fit in perfectly with them.