We are all eager to see Zion on an NBA court, dunking everyone out of the arena. Still, we rationally understand the Pelicans should take every precaution and make sure Zion is fully healed and ready to play without significant risk of injury. Remember when we all held our breath after his shoe exploded?
After finding out Zion didn't have an injury as terrible as it seemed, the possibility of Zion returning to play for Duke made most people mad. Why would he risk reinjury to play in an NCAA game only months away from the Draft? The NCAA makes billions on college athletes, pays them nothing, and has had a series of corruption scandals that led to federal investigations. That's why Zion almost returning to Duke for another season is even more shocking.
“Me, I wanted to go back. Nobody ever believes me; they think I'm just saying that, but no. I genuinely wanted to go back. I felt like the NBA wasn't going anywhere. The money thing, that's money - I don't play this for money. I play because I genuinely love the game. I just loved my experience at Duke that much. I wanted to stay.”
Zion Williamson, J.J. Reddick Podcast
Zion went on to explain Coach K wouldn't let him come back, stressing the importance of making money that takes care of his family for his lifetime. His teammates, as much as they'd love to have him on the court, said the same. It came down to what it most often comes down to in these situations. What does mom say?
Zion's mom told him she would support him no matter what, so his first instinct was to stay at Duke. But, she and his stepdad talked to him about it, and Zion realized how much he worked to be in a position to play in the NBA, and it was too much to risk by returning.
Gotta say, Zion made the right call and we can't wait to see him out there healthy.