- Injury: knees make Zion Williamson tremble
Las Vegas, summer 2017. Fans have been queuing for six or seven hours. The number of people is such that the police and the Cashman Center security officials are forced to block the doors and prohibit the entry of more people for fear of a misfortune. On the street, LeBron James arrives in his car but before the mess that has been mounted, decides not to leave the vehicle and returns to his hotel. Inside, in the stands, NBA stars like Damian Lillard, Andrew Wiggins or Jamal Murray await. "I've never seen anything like it," they explain in the pavilion.
On the track, the boy of the moment. The teenager who has colonized YouTube with his mates. The highlights boy. "The new LeBron James" (at least off the tracks). Zion Williamson has just turned 17 and has not yet signed with any university. He has almost a million followers on his social networks and has been the great sensation of high school basketball during the last months . NFL, NBA players and artists from all walks of life have wanted to attend their matches, and even rapper Drake appeared on Instagram with a shirt of his. Brands fight to get a contract with him.
New Orleans, summer 2019. Zion Williamson has been chosen number one in the NBA draft and Jordan Brand, 2k Sports, Gatorade and Panini have managed to stamp his signature on the same role as him in agreements that exceed 100 million dollars . He is 19 years old and has not yet made his debut in the best league in the world, but his Pelicans shirt broke sales records after the draft and the franchise has already sold almost every seat of the season. "The last time there was this level of interest in a boy was with LeBron James," explains Panini's head of marketing in the presentation of the agreement. His debut in the Summer League touched the ten million views on YouTube and the best plays of his season at Duke University reached all four.
Zion Williamson is a money maker and, most importantly, is a basketball machine. He is the second player with more weight of the NBA after the giant Boban Marjanovic, has the intelligence of a base and moves with the agility and power of a forward, inheritance of his father, who played in the American football team of the University of North Carolina State, and his mother, who was a sprinter at Livingstone College. All near Florence, the city of South Carolina where the boy who was five years old and wanted to be the best player in the country was raised.
At the Spartanburg Day School where he grew up they didn't have a full-time basketball coach, they had to pull coach 'Sartor', assistant to the county sheriff. There he grew up literally. He stretched more than twelve centimeters, stopped playing grassroots and began his conquest of the internet. In 2016, the NBPA Top-100 campus, several tournaments of the prestigious AAU circuit for high school players and the Under Armor Elite 24, always being MVP. Duke's choice, the highlights at the university, the spotlights on the famous 'March Madness', the draft, his arrival in the NBA and the more than 20 points on average in an exciting preseason that ended in fear, much fear.
"With 129 kilos he can't play in the NBA, it's too much stress for his knees," warned former player Charles Barkley . Zion was injured last week in the right knee and will lose the first games of the regular league. A blow to the Pelicans, who aspire to the Playoffs after transferring Anthony Davis, and are required to treat with care a player who needs to adapt his weight and style to the NBA. He is the heir of LeBron at least in millionaire firms with brands, but to be also on the tracks he needs to be healthy. How the boy manages to manage all that will depend on his development in the league.
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