How New Orleans Pelicans star Zion Williamson was preparing for his comeback from a season-long injury

hours ago The New Orleans Pelicans hosted the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA Championship, Zion Williamson He took the field with the help of coach Teresa Witherspoon.

Williamson had practice in light shooting and dribbling but he definitely saved the best for last.

Late in practice, Williamson got the ball on the baseline with his eyes fixed on the edge. Two steps inward, Williamson exploded and twisted in the air, the ball to his side. As he spun back to the ledge, he unleashed a windmill jam.

This is where Williamson’s night ended. A fracture to his right foot that cost him the entire regular season kept him on the sidelines as his team featured in an unexpected playoff.

The team that started 3-16 found itself the No. 8 seed after defeating the Spurs and the Los Angeles Clippers to earn a first-round match against the top seed Phoenix Suns.

as such Brandon IngramAnd the CJ McCollum And their company took the Suns to six games, and Williamson cheered his team in streetwear.

Despite the season ending with a first-round exit, rookie coach Willie Green’s side had a lot to celebrate. McCollum and Ingram looked like a pair of veterans ready to capitalize on the momentum of the late season. trio of juniors – Jose AlvaradoAnd the Trey Murphy III And the Herbert Jones – It took a great interlude minutes.

But questions about Williamson’s future in New Orleans – he will be eligible to sign an extension to his rookie contract on July 1 – loom after a lost second season.

In his first three seasons, Williamson played a total of 85 games – 24 as a rookie and 61 in his second season. He missed some time during his first year with a meniscus tear but was relatively healthy in 2020-21, missing 11 games with two separate hand injuries.

“Obviously, this conversation is going to be challenging,” David Griffin, executive vice president of basketball operations for the Pelicans, told reporters April 29 when asked about Williamson’s extension.

“When the time comes to get that, we’ll get it. And what we’re focusing on right now is he’s healthy, he’s kind of elite to play basketball and we’re going to start from there.”

The talent was clearly there. Availability was not. Williamson and those around him set out this summer to ensure these concerns were a thing of the past, while publicly demonstrating the commitment of the former No. 1 public pick to both the Pelicans and the city of New Orleans as a whole. .

  • March 29, 2022: For the first time since returning from Portland to do his rehab, Williamson went on the road with the Pelicans as he continues to work towards his return to play.

  • April 5, 2022: Speaking on The Jordy Culotta Show, Williamson’s stepfather, Lee Anderson, said he expects Williamson to play in the remaining weeks of the 2021-22 season. “If you asked Zion, I’m sure he would probably say the same,” he adds.

  • 7 April 2022: The Pelicans announced that Williamson had advanced to the full 5-on-5 pitch business. Greene calls them “controlled brawls.”

  • April 13, 2022: Hours before tipping at the Smoothie King Center, ESPN’s Cassidy Hobarth records that Williamson throws a 360 dunk. The Pelicans defeated San Antonio 113-103.

  • April 15, 2022: After trailing by as much as 13 points in the fourth quarter, the Pelicans returned to defeat the Clippers 105-101 to earn the No. 8 seed in the Western Playoffs.

  • April 28, 2022: Pelicans are eliminated in Game 6 of the first round series against the Phoenix Suns.

  • April 29, 2022: In his first public comments since September, Williamson was asked about signing his starter extension. His response: “Of course, I won’t be able to sign him fast enough.” Soon, Griffin admitted that the extension could be a challenge.

  • May 26, 2022: Williamson has been officially released for full basketball activities, the final hurdle in his return to playing. Although there are no games to participate in, it does clear the way for Williamson to attack his off-season full throttle.

When was Williamson Drew Brees, then a quarterback in New Orleans Saints, told him that if you loved the city, the city would love you again. Williamson had the opportunity to take Brees’ advice this summer as July 1 approaches.

When nearly 85 kids walked out of the Broad Theatre, a small four-screen theater located in the city’s oldest black neighborhood, after watching Disney Pixar’s “Lightyear,” a 6-foot-6 tire popped up.



Zion Williamson throws a windmill immersion and a priceless little caravan reaction.

Dressed in all-black with a bucket hat and hoodie branded Zion, Williamson showed up with the campers, who were part of his summer camp in partnership with Dryades YMCA. The six-week youth basketball camp for boys and girls ages 7-14 was more than just a regular NBA player basketball camp—85 kids on this day could grow to 100 in any given week.

When Williamson, Anderson and coach Jasper Pepes left the stage, they watched the children board the bus before boarding it.

After the children found their seats, Anderson shouted, “Which bus 1 and which bus 2?” Williamson rode to the stage on one bus and wanted to ride in the other.

Williamson was in his element in the camp. After being drafted by New Orleans in the summer of 2019, he didn’t have time to integrate himself into the community as he acclimated to life in the NBA. The next two summers were filled with COVID restrictions that prevented him from participating.

Now, he can.

  • June 9, 2022: Weeks after mentioning the looming challenge of the Williamson extension, Griffin says the Williamson extension is an “easy decision” while appearing on The Ryen Russillo Podcast.

  • June 11, 2022: Williamson speaks to reporters when announcing the opening of his YMCA camp. He reiterates his desire to stay in New Orleans, saying, “I want to be here.”

  • June 22, 2022: Williamson’s second shoe launch, Zion 2. The first release is the “Voodoo” colorway. The second, in color “Hope Diamond,” is the shoe he wore while on the field while working with the team during the month of April.

  • July 2, 2022: Williamson agrees to a five-year, $193 million extension that could be worth $231 million if he hits the terms of the All-NBA escalator.

  • 6 July 2022: On his 22nd birthday, Williamson signed his extension at YMCA camp surrounded by family and campers.

stay on Court has been the focus of Williamson’s interest since his Duke days. Last year, he hired Bibbs, who worked with the Utah Jazz and briefly at LSU, as his personal trainer. He also hired Christian Green, a Louisiana-born chef and MasterChef alum, who started working for Williamson as soon as he returned from Portland in March. Green says Williamson’s focus is on “smoothness.”

“Our focus is to make it as agile as possible,” Green told ESPN in July. “Make him healthier because he’s healthy now. I don’t cut anything with him. I’ll leave it at that. No sugars with Chef Christian.”

Green says he worked alongside Bibbs to help provide Williamson with the best possible plan. And although the Pelicans have added weight clauses to Williamson’s contract, sources told ESPN’s Bobby Marks that Williamson won’t lose any money in the deal unless it is completely waived by New Orleans.

On July 6, one year after the day he found out he had fractured a fifth metatarsal in his right foot, Williamson sat at a table with his family and put pen to paper on a five-year-old junior.

“For the pelicans to come and give me this Christmas present, I won’t let them down,” Williamson said last month. “I won’t let my family down. I won’t let the city down. Most importantly, I won’t let myself down.”

  • July 9, 2022: Together with his fellow Jordanian athlete Luka DoncicWilliamson travels to Paris for the Quai 54 event.

  • July 13, 2022: Williamson flies straight from Paris to Las Vegas to meet the Pelicans in the Las Vegas Summer League.

just like Williamson participated in the Summer League game between the Pelicans against the Washington Wizards inside the Thomas & Mac Center.

Williamson watched the Pelicans defeat the witches even though they weren’t there Dyson Daniels8 overall in the 2022 draft. Daniels played just eight minutes for the Pelicans in the Summer League after spraining his ankle. Three years ago, Williamson played just nine minutes in Vegas after a knee-to-knee contact in his first game.

Williamson sat across from the Pelicans bench surrounded by teammates who also made the trip, including Ingram and McCollum, who was not on the team when Williamson last played in the Pelicans uniforms on May 4, 2021.

The starting lineup that day included Eric Bledsoe, Lonzo Pool And the Stephen Adams. James Johnson and James Nunnally were getting minutes off the bench for a team trying to make a late boost to the championship.

Williamson was averaging 27 points and 7.2 rebounds on a 61.1% shot. No player in NBA history has averaged so many points per game while shooting above 60%.

Williamson hasn’t played since, and the Pelicans have not only added not only McCollum and last year’s rookies to the mix, but veterans as well. Jonas ValanciunasAnd the Larry Nance Jr.. And the Devont Graham.

And with that core, the top-seeded Pelicans gave the Suns a run for their money in the playoffs. Now, they have to add Williamson to the mix next season.

“Last year you’ve seen what the team has done, and I’m excited to add to that,” Williamson said after signing his agreement.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.