Sportress of Blogitude

New Orleans aquarium names baby penguin after Zion Williamson

An aquarium in New Orleans has continued the time-honored tradition of naming a baby animal after a local sports personality, and the superstar who most recently received the distinguished honor was Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson.

The Audubon Aquarium of the Americas revealed Tuesday that a newborn penguin at the facility has been named Zion. The aquarium also shared adorable photographs of Baby Penguin Zion, born Feb. 17, on social media.

View this post on Instagram

Egg-citing news! An absolutely adorable African penguin chick named Zion hatched at Audubon Aquarium of the Americas on February 17, 2020, after a 39-day incubation period. We chose the name Zion in honor of @pelicansnba rookie @ZionWilliamson. In this time of uncertainty, Zion embraced the New Orleans community with a truly remarkable act of generosity after NBA season halted. Zion is the offspring of penguin pair Hubig (mother) and Ocio (father). After spending approximately 11 days being raised with its parents, as sometimes happens, it needed to be removed and taken under human care. This is a very time-consuming process for animal care staff and is a testament to their dedication, especially right now since we are closed, and only essential staff are on site taking such great care of the animals. The African penguins at the Aquarium serve as ambassadors, teaching guests about the plight of this species in the wild due to human-wildlife conflict. We are proud to be able to contribute to the African Penguin @zoos_aquariums Species Survival Plan, and we hope to continue our breeding success year after year. #SavingSpecies #ClosedButStillCaring

A post shared by Audubon Nature Institute (@auduboninstitute) on

Williamson further established himself a titan on the New Orleans sports scene beyond his immense on-court talents with a thoughtful gesture amid these turbulent times.

Williamson became one of the first NBA superstars to come forward to offer assistance in alleviating the incredible financial burden the league’s hiatus amid the coronavirus pandemic has and will continue to have upon arena workers and other employees who depend on the teams to earn an income.

The superstar rookie announced shortly after the NBA season was suspended that he would cover the salaries of Smoothie King Center employees for 30 days. The Pelicans organization ultimately followed Williamson’s lead by creating a $1 million fund to help affected workers.

The Audubon Aquarium of the Americas made note of Williamson’s admirable charitable efforts in its announcement, hailing how the young superstar “embraced the New Orleans community with a truly remarkable act of generosity.”