Skip to main content

Zion Williamson names the toughest coach he's ever had: "You had 2 or 3 turnovers"

Zion Williamson describes why his mom was his toughest basketball coach
Zion Williamson Names The Toughest Coach He's Ever Had

Zion Williamson is looking to make his return in the playoffs for the New Orleans Pelicans

Like any other NBA player, Zion Williamson had aspirations of becoming a basketball superstar at a young age. As a kid in North Carolina, Williamson honed his skills under the tutelage of his own mother, Sharonda Sampson.

Some may not know, but Sampson herself was an athlete as well. She was a former track star at Livingston College, but more importantly, she was Williamson's first basketball coach.

Sampson played a very active role in Williamson's formative years in the sport, having coached him at Johnakin Middle School. The working relationship between the mother and son went on until Williamson entered high school at Spartanburg Day School, where he quickly showcased everything he learned from Sampson.

Zion's toughest coach is his mother

Williamson made sure that Sampson's efforts on him did not go to waste in college. From being a five-star high-school prospect, he became one of the most highly-touted college hoopers in the country. In 2019, Williamson finally entered the NBA as the No. 1 overall pick.

The then-19-year-old basketball phenom did not fail to deliver as he immediately became a star of the New Orleans Pelicans. Williamson confessed that Sampson was still working with him behind the scenes, to everyone's surprise. In fact, she is still his No. 1 critique even to this day.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

"My mom, to this day, is the hardest coach I've ever had," Williamson said in an interview with the NBA in 2020. "There were times when my stepdad would look at me and say 'you had a good game' and my mom would be like 'I don't know what you're talking about, you had 2 or 3 turnovers."

Zion's mom is also strict on his diet

Williamson was listed as 284 pounds in his official draft measurements. According to Fitness Volt's TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure) Calculator, a 6-foot-6, 19-year-old athlete like Williamson has an ideal weight of 180-213 pounds. Simply put, his excess weight has always been a hot subject of discussion since his rookie year.

Growing up in North Carolina, Williamson feasted on his mother's southern-style delicacies. However, when Williamson's weight became a concern for the Pelicans, Sampson, who has been a demanding coach to his son, also played the role of a nutritionist and adjusted his diet as well.

"All the sauce, the bacon, that stuff—he can't have that," Sampson told Men's Health.

Will Zion rejoin the Pelicans this postseason?

Williamson reportedly lost a tremendous amount of weight as he gears up for his return after rumors swirled that he reached 330 pounds while out of action.

There is still no specific timeframe yet for Williamson's long-awaited comeback. However, Pelicans head coach Willie Green confirmed that the 21-year-old has already participated in "controlled scrimmages" with assistant coaches and players earlier this month.

Laker center Shaquille O'Neal

“He bought a new Rolex for every single guy on the team” — former Laker Mark Madsen reveals Shaquille O'Neal's generosity

Just when Madsen thought Shaq buying him a car would finish the shopping spree, O'Neal decided to buy every Laker a brand new Rollie.

LeBron James admits he started taking care of his body pretty late in his career

LeBron shares his top three players of all time: "This is tough!"

Back in 2014, LeBron had a lot of trouble picking just three guys.


Tracy McGrady calls out Rudy Gobert: "What the f**k are you doing in the off-season?"

T-Mac just can comprehend Gobert hasn't added any moves to his offensive game over the years.

Chicago Bulls guard Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan once went from judging a dunk contest to destroying the winner in street clothes

MJ's future teammate Jo Jo English was one of the first people to learn an important lesson - never talk trash to Black Jesus.

Chris Bosh

Chris Bosh promotes healthy eating that keeps him in prime shape despite being retired — “It gives me the energy I need to go forward”

Fully aware his NBA days are behind him, Chris Bosh explained why he still eats healthy and works out every day.

Chicago Bulls guard Michael Jordan goes up against Utah Jazz player Bryon Russell

“There's no 'Jordan rules' when you play 1-on-1“ — Bryon Russell claims Michael Jordan 'chickened out' from a 1-on-1 challenge

After being called out by Michael Jordan during his Hall of Fame speech, Bryon Russell hit back and challenged MJ to a 1-on-1 game. According to Russell, Jordan "chickened out."

Lower Merion High School senior Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant had a “kill list” of 56 players who were ranked above him in high school

Trust Kobe Bryant to make any rankings lists (that has him as an underdog) look foolish