An NBA player who scored 22 points on his debut would not normally make international headlines, but when that player is Zion Williamson and his debut years ago, things are a little different.
- NBA Zion Williamson stardom has been marked since he was a child
- He impressed in the preseason, before a knee injury, saw him miss the first half of his debut season
- His NBA debut was relatively uneventful, until he scored 17 points in a row in just over three minutes of the fourth quarter.
Williamson entered the league with a ridiculous amount of pressure on him, but at 6 & # 39; 6 "and 129 kg he has the shoulders to carry him. And he proved it in his professional debut.
He played his last college game in March last year, but basketball fans were looking forward to his first NBA start since he was a kid in high school.
The 19-year-old is already a physical freak who can effectively jump from the gym and is already the second heaviest player in the league, although he is nowhere near the tallest.
Zion picked up a shoe in college, causing a knee injury and a drop in Nike's stock. (AP: Gerry Broome)
But that considerable weight cost him when, after scoring 93 points in four preseason games, he took what turned out to be a meniscus in his right knee.
This kept him out of the first 43 games of the 82-game season, but he was never far from public awareness.
Gone talk about him having to be taught to reshape his walk, a grainy video of him playing a typically weird wet in the pre-game warm-ups or a hint of shame on Twitter, Zion's hype was real and spectacular.
Williamson is such a big deal that blowing your sneakers had a tangible impact on Nike's stock price. He is the type of athlete who, even in a world where everyone has a camera, there is still a mythical nature in the way people talk about him. The kind of player who can have a three-minute blast in his first NBA game and render anything in the league null and void for at least one media cycle.
He made his first basket with spectacular disapproval in the second quarter and seemed more concerned with playing within the flow of the New Orleans Pelicans attack, even though most of the crowd had seen him happy to catch the ball every time on the ground.
Suddenly, in the fourth quarter of the game against the San Antonio Spurs, fans screaming at the Smoothie King Center (that's really his name) got their wish.
The Pelicans dropped eight points when Williamson received a pass at the top of the three-point arc, with 8:55 on the clock and Patty Mills challenged him to shoot. The shot fell and the crowd went up.
His athletics was well known, but it was not foreseen four to four of the three point range. (Reuters: Derick E. Hingle / USA today sports)
In the next possession, Williamson showed his intelligence and elegance when entering the key, deflected veteran DeMar DeRozan and deftly placed the ball in two more points.
Another trip down, and bang; three more points straight into the barrel.
A point of defense on one side and the Pelicans' next game were played by the great man, supporting his path with Jakob Poeltl, seven feet, who really managed to block the first attempt at lay-up, before Williamson rushed to recover the ball and place with four Spurs one meter from it.
Williamson took down three others to make the crowd so excited that his coach was really mad at him. He wanted to go up to keep his minutes low, but he couldn't stop running.
If the crowd could get any higher, they would have it when Williamson hit the fourth quarter of three points on the wing, with 6:15 remaining in the game to give the team an advantage of one point.
Thirty seconds later, he went to the line to take down one of the two free throws, the fans started a strident "MVP".
He scored his team's last 17 points in just over three minutes and the substitution was suspended again.
When "Zion" became the number one trend topic in the world, Gentry finally managed to put a time limit on his next tenure and had a long conversation with his young star. He was eliminated and the Pelicans ended up losing the game, but he couldn't have cared less.
Zion has arrived and it is great news for fans, better news for pelicans and horrible news for the rest of the league.