Zion ‘Wants’ To Stay In NOLA For Entire Career

Photo Credit: Yahoo! Sports

Zion ‘Wants’ To Stay In NOLA For Entire Career

 

Zion Williamson, this year’s top overall pick, declared that he wants to stay with the New Orleans Pelicans for the entirety of his career.

 

“Personally, I’ve always told myself I want to stay with one team,” Williamson said. “Growing up, I loved what Kobe [Bryant] did and Dirk [Nowitzki] did, and I think if anybody’s a Michael Jordan fan, they kinda erase the Wizards thing . . . . My intentions are to stay with the Pelicans my whole career, but if something happens, I wouldn’t leave because I hate the place.”

 

Both Bryant and Nowitzki famously spent their entire careers with only one team. Bryant played 20 seasons for the Los Angeles Lakers before retiring in 2016. Nowitzki, on the other hand, spent his entire 21-year career with the Dallas Mavericks before retiring in May. This means Williamson and the Pelicans look destined for a long marriage — one that can potentially produce a championship for New Orleans.

The Duke alum is confident that the Pelicans will be competitive, if not championship-caliber soon.

 

“I have high expectations for us, but you gotta see how we’re gonna work, ” Williamson noted. “I think we are going to work, but it does take time to adjust to each player — knowing what they like to do, finding out their tendencies. So I think the quicker we find out those things, I think we have a very high ceiling.”

 

But for the Pelicans to reach that “high ceiling,” Williamson will have to meet, or even exceed, expectations. No less than NBA coach Steve Kerr set the bar extremely high, with Bleacher Report reporting how Kerr dubbed Williamson the next LeBron. Williamson showed he’s ready for the NBA in his lone season playing for Duke, further fanning those LeBron comparisons. LeBron, of course, has gone on to become one of basketball’s most successful stars. Ladbrokes list LeBron James among the most bankable stars in the sports world, and is currently the world’s most recognizable star. Intense scrutiny for such lofty stature has followed LeBron as a result, but it is something he has dealt with gracefully ever since his rookie season in 2003. Williamson is dealing with that same scrutiny, which means his every move will be analyzed. How he responds to the hype will likely determine how his career will play out. It will also determine whether or not the Pelicans will be championship contenders in the future.

 

 

Williamson has been saying and doing all the right things, and that should be encouraging for the Pelicans. Also encouraging is Williamson getting acclimated to the city, even spending time with the NFL’s New Orleans Saints. Williamson looked right at home interacting with New Orleans legend Drew Brees and the rest of the Saints. This rapport, in turn, might prove helpful in convincing the rookie that staying in New Orleans is a good idea.

That is looking too far ahead, though. Given the hype surrounding Williamson, it’s easy to forget that he hasn’t even played a single NBA game yet. But the potential and physical tools are there, and they are tantalizing. Although most would suggest Williamson can meet the hype, and that would be great for New Orleans — more so if the rookie spends his entire career in the city.

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