|Full Name:||Zion Williamson|
|Place of Birth:||Salisbury, North Carolina|
|Parents:||Lateef Williamson and Sharonda Sampson|
Zion Williamson has generated more excitement than many players do in their careers, despite his relatively short career. At Spartanburg Day School and Duke University, the uber-athletic forward drew national attention for his powerful dunks and extreme quickness. It was no surprise when the New Orleans Pelicans drafted him with the first overall pick in the 2019 NBA draft.
While a summer league injury delayed his NBA regular-season debut, once on the court he continued to dazzle fans for the 19 games played prior to the suspension due to coronavirus.
Williamson attended Spartanburg Day School in Spartanburg, South Carolina. He began to dunk in the summer before his freshman year. He averaged over 20 points per game in every season of his high school career. Performances during his junior year landed him in the national spotlight, with 42 points in his season debut, 50 points including 10 dunks in the Tournament of Champions, and 53 points, a tournament record, during the Chick-fil-A Classic.
Williamson missed much of his senior season due to minor injuries but was rated a five-star recruit by all major networks and ESPN ranked him as the No. 2 prospect in the country.
Williamson played only one season of college basketball with the Duke Blue Devils under Mike Krzyzewski. With RJ Barrett and Cam Reddish, the Blue Devils had one of the most talented recruiting classes in NBA history. In his first game, he broke Duke’s record for scoring by a freshman on his debut, with 28 points. He had many more high-scoring games, including scoring 25 points in 22 minutes against Clemson and a 35-point, 10-rebound game against Syracuse which set a new record for points in a game by a Duke freshman.
Zion infamously sprained his knee when his foot ripped through his Nike shoe. He missed the rest of the team’s regular-season games but returned to help Duke capture the ACC Tournament championship. The tournament run included 31 points against rival North-Carolina in a one-point semifinal victory. Williamson was named the ACC Tournament MVP.
The team lost in the Elite Eight in the NCAA tournament to the Michigan State Spartans.
He declared for the 2019 NBA Draft following his lone season at Duke.
As expected, Williamson went with the first overall pick to the New Orleans Pelicans. He drew crowds of thousands of fans for his summer league debut. However, during the NBA Summer League, he suffered a meniscus tear, and he was unable to play until January 22, 2020.
In his regular-season debut, Williamson scored 22 points, including 17 consecutive points as he tried to spark a comeback against the San Antonio Spurs. He played with a minutes restriction in most games as he completed his injury recovery, but was still able to log 35 points against the Los Angeles Lakers. Williamson and the Pelicans were playing some of the best basketball they had all year when the season was shut down due to coronavirus.
Williamson is on a four-year, $45 million rookie-scale contract. Shortly after the draft, he also signed a five-year, $75 million shoe deal with Jordan Brand. His is the second-richest shoe deal ever signed by a rookie, behind LeBron James’ 2003 deal.
Zion Williamson signed a four-year, $45 million deal with the New Orleans Pelicans in 2019.
Williamson’s parents, Sharonda and Lateef, divorced when he was 5. His stepfather, Lee Anderson, played college basketball at Clemson, while his mother Sharonda coached him at the youth and middle school levels.
Starting at age nine, Williamson would wake up at five in the morning to begin training.