Zion Williamson found himself in the headlines for all the wrong reasons heading into Monday night.
Late last week, Williamson’s New Orleans Pelicans fell to the Los Angeles Lakers in the inaugural NBA In-Season Tournament. Fans at home were stunned at how out of shape the 23-year-old looked. That prompted his own trainer to come out and call him fat.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith also went scorched earth on Williamson.
Oh my God😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭 pic.twitter.com/t4jHP1SpQL
— mancala (@guerlainguerier) December 11, 2023
“I’m not exaggerating,” Smith said. “I’m quoting people. You got chefs in New Orleans who love him. they’re looking for him. Every chef there wants to meet him… The word out on Zion Williamson is that he’ll eat the table!”
Well, on Monday night, Williamson responded to Smith and all the other naysayers in the best way possible: by dropping 36 points on the Minnesota Timberwolves and carrying his squad to a 121-107 victory.
The Wolves, for those who haven’t been paying attention, are currently the best team in the West.
After the game, Williamson addressed all the stories that had been going around about him over the past few days.
Zion Williamson: “If you love the city, which I very much do, it’ll love you back. So to the city, to the fans… thank you. I’m going to do my best not to let y’all down.” pic.twitter.com/qgxQD2qpa8
— HoopsHype (@hoopshype) December 12, 2023
“If you love the city, which I very much do, it’ll love you back. So to the city, to the fans… thank you,” he said.
“I’m going to do my best not to let y’all down.””
Big picture, Williamson obviously deserves a lot of the heat he gets. Between his consistently underwhelming work ethic and frosty relationship with his teammates, there is definitely cause for concern with him.
Shedeur Sanders’ New Girlfriend Is A 28-Year-Old Model: https://t.co/djEf5c0AnU
— Game 7 (@game7__) December 12, 2023
That said, the backlash has probably gone a tad bit overboard.
He is still just 23 years old. And when he is playing his best basketball, he has MVP-caliber influence on what happens in any given game.
Will this week mark a turning point in Williamson’s career? An answer one way or the other will emerge over the next few months.
A longtime sports reporter, Carlos Garcia has written about some of the biggest and most notable athletic events of the last 5 years. He has been credentialed to cover MLS, NBA and MLB games all over the United States. His work has been published on Fox Sports, Bleacher Report, AOL and the Washington Post.