Zion Williamson is a franchise-altering talent, and his presence at the 2019 NBA Draft on Thursday was only a matter of formality. The New Orleans Pelicans have known they were going to select him with the No. 1 pick since the ping pong balls bounced their way back in May, but he still needed to walk across the stage, shake Commissioner Adam Silver’s hand, put on the team-branded hat, and give a post-draft Q&A for the TV cameras. That last bit that wound up being important, as Williamson’s brief, emotional interview with ESPN’s Maria Taylor was the standout moment of the night.
Williamson was joined by his mom (and former coach) Sharonda Sampson, and tears filled his eyes when he expressed his gratitude for her.
“I don’t know what to say. I didn’t think I’d be in this position. My mom sacrificed a lot for me. I wouldn’t be here without my mom. She did everything for me. I just want to thank her. … She put her dreams aside for mine. She always looked out for her family and friends before herself.”
Based on that interview, we hope he wins a dozen championships and two dozen MVPs. Given that he’s Zion Williamson, he might actually go ahead and do just that.