Williamson goes No. 1 to Pelicans
NEW YORK — It’s official. Zion Williamson, the most hyped NBA prospect since LeBron James was drafted 16 years ago, became a New Orleans Pelican Thursday night at the Barclays Center when the team took him with the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA draft.
The selection, which basically has been a fait accompli since the Pelicans won the draft lottery a month ago, completes a crazy, emotional year under an intense spotlight for the 6-foot-7, 285-pound Duke freshman.
The fact the selection was no surprise doesn’t mean Williamson took it in stride. Far from it. When NBA Commissioner Adam Silver called his name, Williamson stood and hugged his mother for a good five seconds. Both were wearing similar white suits and broad smiles.
He then came close to breaking down in an interview with ESPN, describing how his mother, Sharonda Sampson, had supported his dreams of playing basketball when he was young. Sampson, a former track star, coached her son until he was 14 years old.