In an article a few months ago I stated that Zion Williamson may be better at selling shoes than James Harden. It was slight hyperbole, very slight. I also mentioned that I hoped Zion would take a break from basketball and cross train. The break was due to what I realize has happened in grassroots basketball and “amatuer” athletics. It’s not quite amatuer anymore. People can become consumed with you and never actually have met you before. When I wrote the post, Zion actually saw it on Twitter and liked it. I did not follow him because I didn’t want to add to the pressure the kid is under simply because he can hoop.
The statement in this article “if he’s actually good at basketball,” is stupid. Any coach worth a damn can watch a video against a good or bad team and see that at 6-7 Zion has a handle that is quick and even. He can be taught to shoot because he has very good lift on his shot and defensively his footwork is going to be comparable to the way he moves on offense. He will be able to move laterally. As far as the mental aspect, he has to deal with a lot of stuff and still play the game… he’s obviously good at basketball. The article didn’t need clickbait for the title.
I was chased out of basketball by the ugliness of the circuit in Memphis. I had launched a website that helped under the radar players attain scholarships. I looked after the anti Zion. Not because I didn’t respect players like him, but because someone had to give those guys who are not ranked a shot at playing the game they loved beyond high school. I was confronted as I walked into gyms, I was confronted inside of gyms, lied on and subjected to internet tirades for helping players. Why? Because if I could get a kid into school who didn’t even play high school ball, or rode the bench, then naturally I would move on to going after the big time players and disrupting the money associated with those players as far as the handlers and people in Memphis assumed.
If this happened to a grown man, I can only imagine what the kid is going through. He’s basically a pro in terms of social media status. A status that has garnered fitness trainers who have less of a following sneaker deals and sponsorships that pay very well. (See Emily Skye with Reebok).
The source article is a very detailed discussion about how Zion and his mother are handling internet fame. I admire his mother and this does not feel like the Lenny Cooke story in the making, or another version of Hoop Dreams. This is a kid who recognizes what the machine that creates fame is capable of; and a mother who understands the problems, in the cyber and real world, of her son’s fame.
Take a moment to read the source link and when you finish I hope you feel the way I do. I hope the world allows the kid to make mistakes.