How Michael Jordan and Larry Bird Helped Zion Williamson Become an NBA Star

In his brief time in the league, New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson has emerged as one of the league’s most promising young players. Williamson has made an immediate impact on the court behind his stellar production despite continuing to play in limited minutes. However, his talent on the floor has been glaringly obvious, which has put forth a bright future ahead of him. Before he reached this point, Williamson used both Michael Jordan and Larry Bird in one way to help guide him towards the NBA.

Zion Williamson’s quick rise to stardom

There was plenty of hype around Williamson before he entered the NBA, as he was touted as a sure-fire future star in the league dating back to his high school days.

He has continued to stay on that path, which he has proven even more so since returning to the floor this season. In his first 10 games, Williamson production has been nothing short than phenomenal as he’s averaging 22.1 points and 7.5 rebounds while shooting 57.6% from the floor and 36.4% from beyond the arc.

The 19-year-old’s production has continued to improve as he gets more playing time under his belt, notching eight performances with at least 20 points. That includes the previous two outings before All-Star break being his first two 30-point games.

His production has put him in elite company as he joined Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal and Allen Iverson as the only former first overall picks to score 200 points in their first 10 career games. Williamson also became the third player to record seven 20-point performances in his first 10 career games, putting himself alongside O’Neal and Grant Hill.

He has continued to produce at a record-breaking pace that has many quite enthused about his future ahead. However, his passion for the game also came from the aid of a pair of Hall of Famers.

How Michael Jordan and Larry Bird impacted Zion Williamson

When Williamson is on the court, his talent and unique physical ability are quite evident from the get-go. It’s been much more than that for him as he has developed a keen passion for the game over the years.

That was further fueled by his mother, who gave him the task of watching complete game film of all-time greats such as Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, and Magic Johnson, according to Christian Clark of

The incredible support and guidance that he received from his mother has been well documented in his journey to the NBA. He has had the fortune of having someone in his corner like that has helped him improve his craft in any little way. The task of watching entire games from legends such as Jordan, Bird, and Johnson could provide more insight in how to approach the game and find success.

It’s much more than just the physical ability that helps players succeed in the NBA, and his mother was quite aware of that.

Zion Williamson is much more than athleticism

Williamson has proven to be everything and more in his brief time in the NBA, which his immediate success on the floor has put forth a bright future ahead.

His physical strength and athletic ability are certainly things to be amazed by, but he has demonstrated to possess unselfishness to his game along with tremendous IQ on the court. Those are qualities that could be crucial in helping him continue to improve at his craft and become a bonafide superstar for years to come.

The fact that he’s playing at this level this early in his career only puts a greater amount of optimism ahead of him and the Pelicans’ young core group for what could become a special situation.