Zion Williamson has worked his way into being one of the most popular sports figures in the country over the last couple of years. His explosive athleticism and stellar play at every level he’s played has enamored fans of all ages about what lies ahead of him for his NBA future. That’s already made the New Orleans Pelicans forward a household name before he even took off in the professional ranks, which has brought a great deal of pressure and spotlight on him in the process. However, there is one quality about Williamson that is much different from that of many players his age with that stardom.
Zion Williamson’s brief NBA career
It hasn’t taken long for Zion Williamson to make an immediate impact after making his long-awaited debut this season.
Williamson proved from the get-go that he’s the real deal as he’s becoming a huge offensive asset as he’s averaging 23.6 points and 6.8 rebounds while shooting 58.9% from the floor and 46.2% from beyond the arc in 19 games played. That has seen him make NBA history along the way as he joined Hall of Famers Shaquille O’Neal and Grant Hill as the only players with seven 20-point outings in their first 10 games career games over the last 30 seasons.
Zion Williamson also sits alongside O’Neal and Allen Iverson as the third rookie over that span to notch at least 200 points over that stretch of career games played. Beyond his impressive play on the court, there is another quality about him that has helped him stand out.
J.J. Redick impressed by Zion Williamson’s humbleness
Zion Williamson has had a stellar start to his NBA career that has only further bulked up the popularity and attention around him.
However, there is one character quality that has stood out like a sore thumb in teammate J.J. Redick’s eyes as voiced during a recent interview on The Bill Simmons Podcast that he’s been quite impressed by Williamson’s humbleness. (H/T ClutchPoints)
“My first impression of him is I have never met a 19- or 20-year-old who is that famous, and that famous from such a young age, who is so level-headed,” Redick said. “Like, he’s not an [expletive]. He doesn’t have a big head. I think the biggest thing for him is just learning to develop the right habits but I have no doubt that he is going to do that.”
There are many instances where players that get that type of media attention allow their ego to balloon up and shape them into an entitled attitude. Williamson doesn’t publicly appear to be trending in that direction, and these comments from Redick only further clarify that isn’t the case.
Instead, Williamson has taken the approach of learning how to manage the increased exposure while remaining himself. Yes, there is the self-recognition that he’s a talented player with a bright NBA future, but he hasn’t allowed it to alter the genuine person that he is.
Zion Williamson’s promising future
The fact that Zion Williamson has a down-to-earth personality despite the stardom will only add to the popularity around him.
It will help allow him to further hone in on his craft as there are areas where he could improve his game. He has already become a dominant force in the paint, but he can work on his outside shooting, dribbling, and defense to become a better, more rounded player.
Zion Williamson has the chance to become one of the cornerstone pieces of the franchise as part of the Pelicans’ promising core group alongside Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, and Josh Hart. Beyond that, he can work his way into earning recognition as one of the best players in the league.
The sky is the limit for Williamson, which the only concern remains his health as he has already gone through one major surgery in his brief NBA career. If he can avoid any lingering injuries, there’s no reason to believe he won’t meet and exceed those lofty expectations.