For months, Zion Williamson was the presumptive No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft and, ultimately, the New Orleans Pelicans followed the script in selecting the Duke standout. Still, Williamson managed to make the drama-free activity memorable with a stirring and emotional interview after he was chosen by New Orleans, and he followed that up with a grand celebration that included a pizza party.
That wasn’t the end of the festivities, though, as Williamson arrived in his hotel room to a special message from the leading athlete in the city he will now call home.
Drew Brees, the Super Bowl-winning quarterback of the New Orleans Saints, gifted Williamson a signed jersey and it is clear that was impactful for Williamson. After all, Brees is the face of New Orleans sports, captaining the city’s biggest brand, and Williamson now joins him in carrying the mantle of an entire region.
It would be wise to temper expectations to some degree when considering Williamson’s upcoming rookie season, simply because of the reality that first-year NBA players rarely excel on the level that he will be projected. In the same breath, Williamson is a generational talent when it comes to the combination of athleticism, power and magnetism, and this kind of hero’s welcome is on-brand for the impact many believe he will make in New Orleans.