The video of their high school matchup went viral in ’17, and people loved how an undersized Bishop covered the nation’s top high school prospect. And as it turns out, so did Zion.
Recently, while on The Old Man & The Three podcast, the Pelicans superstar revisited that sequence, praising Bishop for his approach to their matchup. “I’ve got a lot of respect for him for doing that,” Williamson said. “His teammates were so out of it that he was just trying to give them energy. And for him to be the one to come over there and do that, I’ve got nothing but respect for him for doing that.”
How much did Zion’s praise mean to Bryson? He talked about it during an exclusive with Basketball Network.
It meant a lot, especially since after the video, he never talked about it or anything, so I didn’t know how he really felt. I didn’t know if it got annoying to him, how much it came out. But him saying he had respect for me meant a lot to me.Bryson Bishop, Basketball Network
Bryson knew that at some point during the game, he would be the one defending Williamson. So when the coach called his name, the 5-6 8th grader felt ready for that challenge.
Actually, in practice, we had talked about we were gonna go box-and-one and they were gonna put me on him. So I was kinda ready for it, but we didn’t go into that box-and-one until about the third quarter, so I knew it was gonna come, but I didn’t know when, so I was ready for that challenge.Bryson Bishop, Basketball Network
The video shows Bryson aggressively clapping in Zion’s face. He discovered that the only reason he did it was to hype himself and his teammates up when everyone else had already given up on the game.
I’m a competitor, and I always try to hype my team up, hype myself up, no matter what the circumstances are. I go out there and play with a lot of energy; that’s kind of how I play. So I wasn’t doing that for anything else besides hyping myself up and hyping my team up because we needed that.Bryson Bishop, Basketball Network
Unfortunately, Bryson’s efforts bore no fruit as his team lost 78-54. However, he did become famous for his defensive efforts on Williamson, who finished the game with 36 points.
Today, Bishop is a senior point guard and captain at Spartanburg Christian Academy — the team he has led to back-to-back state titles. Next year, Bryson is headed to Charleston Southern – a Division 1 school – where he’ll continue to pursue his lifelong dream of becoming an NBA player. Hopefully, he gets there. Zion is waiting…