Zion Williamson teases potential Slam Dunk Contest appearance
The NBA has made the controversial decision to go ahead with a scaled-down version of All-Star Game festivities next month, and it sounds like another one of the popular skills competitions could potentially feature some serious star power.
New Orleans Pelicans star Zion Williamson was purposely evasive Wednesday when asked about a potential appearance in the Slam Dunk Contest when All-Star Weekend is compressed into one star-studded night on March 7 at State Farm arena in Atlanta, Ga.
“Who knows? That’s all I can say,” Williamson told reporters Wednesday. “Who knows? I might. You never know.”
Participating in the Slam Dunk Contest would be the proverbial icing on the All-Star cake for Williamson. The Pelicans superstar on Tuesday was named a Western Conference reserve for next month’s event, the first All-Star nod in the 20-year-old’s early NBA career.
Making his 1st #NBAAllStar appearance… Zion Williamson of the @PelicansNBA.— #NBAAllStar (@NBAAllStar) February 24, 2021
Drafted as the 1st pick in 2019 out of Duke, @Zionwilliamson is averaging 25.1 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 3.1 APG for the Pelicans this season. pic.twitter.com/L5RvGkYUiu
Congrats @ZionWilliamson – #WontBowDown | #NBAAllStar pic.twitter.com/YZ5B3SO3x3— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) February 24, 2021
Only NBA legends Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Magic Johnson were younger than Williamson when making their All-Star debuts.
While there was an abundance of consternation over perceived snubs in the wake of the NBA announcing the reserves for the 2021 All-Star Game on Tuesday night, Williamson’s inclusion is merited. The young star’s outstanding play in February establishes as much.
Zion Williamson is averaging 26.8 points on 66% shooting in February.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 22, 2021
Only 5 players have avged 25 PPG on 65% shooting in a month in the shot-clock era (min. 10 games): Dwight Howard, Charles Barkley, Bernard King, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Wilt Chamberlain (3x)
H/T @EliasSports pic.twitter.com/4y3sNupsEp
The Pelicans (13-17) have been one of the bigger disappointments of the 2020-21 NBA season, but the blame should not be laid solely at Williamson’s feet. Averaging 25.1 points, 6.8 rebounds and 3.1 assists and 1.0 block per game, Williamson is continuing to realize his abundant potential.
Even more important, Williamson has been on the court for 29 of the Pelicans’ 30 games, which has helped silence skepticism that such a remarkably unique player who stands 6-foot-7 and weighs 284 pounds could remain healthy over the course of a grueling NBA season.
After all, Williamson did not make his NBA debut until January after suffering a knee injury in training camp ahead of the 2019-20 season.
Possessing a rare combination of size, strength, agility and the ability to do things on the court someone his size should be incapable of accomplishing, the athletic freak of nature would unquestionably put on a show should he compete in the Slam Dunk Contest.