The Los Angeles Lakers’ contest with the New Orleans Pelicans saw LeBron James face off with the player many view as a younger version of himself in Zion Williamson. Like LeBron, Zion has a combination of size, speed and athleticism that makes him basically unstoppable when attacking the rim and both players faced an immense amount of pressure upon entering the NBA as the first overall pick in their respective drafts.
There are very few who can relate to Williamson and what he deals with but LeBron is one of those and the Lakers star had nothing but praise for him after Wednesday night’s game. “I love everything about the kid,” James said. “I understand exactly some of the things that he’s going through.
“Being a No. 1 [draft pick] and everybody is saying you should be this, you should be that. You should be the face of a franchise. You got to do this. You got to do that… Kid has done nothing but just keep his head down, keep pushing … And he’s in great shape right now. Very tone. Something we’ve never seen for a talent with his size, his speed and his athleticism. He’s like a Giannis [Antetokounmpo], [Charles] Barkley or a Shaq. Just certain times they come into our league and you’ve never seen before.”
There are very few players who are truly one of a kind, but Zion is one of those and LeBron, now in his 20th NBA season, can look at the promising young player and see the same trials and tribulations that he went through in his first years in the league.
James actually spent a lot of time guarding Williamson in the Lakers’ three-point overtime victory. Williamson finished with 27 points and seven assists with basically all of his damage coming in the paint with his left hand. Many pleaded with LeBron to simply stop Zion from going left which James laughed at after the game.
“It’s so funny when you hear people like OK, stop me him from going left. Same thing I heard so many years with [Manu] Ginobili. Just stop him from going left… When you’re great, no matter what you do, you’re going to figure out a way. Zion is on the verge of being great. He’s going to be great in this league for a long time.”
Lakers fans are very familiar with this as Lamar Odom always found a way to get back to his left hand even though everyone knew it was coming. The same applies to Zion, except you also have to deal with the extra weight and explosiveness that he brings to the table.
LeBron, like many others, sees Zion as one of the future stars in the league and Williamson, along with the likes of Luka Doncic, Ja Morant and Jayson Tatum, look set to lead the next generation of NBA superstars.
James almost didn’t suit up for Lakers due to illness
James himself finished with 20 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists in the contest, but he didn’t look like himself throughout the game. He was asking to be subbed out and there looked to be some sort of serious issue with his foot. But the Lakers star revealed he has been dealing with an illness and almost didn’t suit up at all.
“Today was the first day I got out of bed since Sunday,” Lebron noted. “Something going around, maybe, and it hit me pretty good. Hurt me to my soul to miss this Halloween party with all my guys on Monday. I didn’t know if I was going to have enough energy today.”
Thankfully he did, and he had just enough energy to help the Lakers escape with their second straight victory.
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