The Legend of Zion

Whether or not he has a great professional career is yet to be seen, but one thing is for sure, the legend of Zion Williamson will be stamped in basketball folklore for eternity

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Elijah Shabazz

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The game of basketball was gifted a prodigy that became the biggest phenomenon in sports during the past decade; an 18-year-old man-child by the name of Zion Williamson. In January of 2018, the social media sensation sent shock waves through the college basketball landscape when he decided that he was headed to Duke University to play under the legendary Coach Mike Krzyzewski. How would the kid who had gone viral because of his amazing dunks in high school perform against collegiate competition?

Before Williamson even stepped foot onto the Duke campus, he was already a brand. With over 2.6 million Instagram followers, multiple high school games nationally televised on ESPN, and even Grammy-winning artist Drake posting a picture of himself in a replica of Williamson’s high school jersey, Zion was dubbed the most hyped athlete since LeBron James. His charismatic persona, and his clean image, has had shoe companies and other brands impatiently waiting for Williamson to become a professional basketball player. Former Duke star and current ESPN commentator, Jay Bilas, said it best, “there’s never been a player like Zion Williamson.”

Zion Williamson’s first college highlight put the social media world in a frenzy, and it didn’t even occur in an actual game. Following a practice during Duke’s trip to Canada, Williamson dunked from the free throw line. This dunk was only the beginning of what would become one of the greatest seasons by a college basketball player ever, let alone, a freshman.

On the court, there was the sheer dominance he portrayed, with opposing players literally moving out of his way because of the fear of being another victim that stood in the way of he and the rim.”

In the duration of Zion Williamson’s freshman year, Duke had its many ups and downs. No player in the history of college basketball was under the eyes of the media more than Williamson, and rightfully so. As the widely projected number one overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, every move that Williamson made was under a microscope. Off the court, there were screenshots of Williamson on face-time with a girl. On the court, there was the sheer dominance he portrayed, with opposing players literally moving out of his way because of the fear of being another victim that stood in the way of he and the rim. In addition, there was also an all-time high demand on Duke Basketball tickets. But the most talked about incident of Zion Williamson’s career at Duke occurred during the first meeting of college basketball’s greatest rivalry, Duke versus the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

36 seconds into the game, Williamson made a quick move and fell down in extreme pain. All the fans watching saw Williamson grab his knee, but then the replay appeared. Zion’s foot had completely busted through his shoe. Former president, Barack Obama, who was in attendance for the game, became a meme when he pointed at Williamson and supposedly said, “His shoe broke.”

Williamson averaged 22.6 points and 8.9 rebounds per game and shot an incredibly efficient 68 percent from the field (during his freshman, and likely only season at Duke). Unfortunately, Duke lost to Michigan State in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament, but the basketball world is still fixated on Zion, as he most likely will declare for the 2019 NBA Draft. Williamson will have the eyes of the world watching his every move as he begins his NBA journey. Whether or not he has a great professional career is yet to be seen, but one thing is for sure, the legend of Zion Williamson will be stamped in basketball folklore for eternity.

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