Should Zion Williamson continue playing for Duke, despite his insane shoe-breaking incident while wearing Nikes last night just 30 seconds into the game against arch-rival North Carolina?
I feel compelled to preface this blog post with the fact that I am a devoted UNC fan. My oldest sister graduated from Chapel Hill and I’ve been a Tar Heel fan ever since my family and I visited her on that beautiful campus with a stellar basketball history and legacy that has led to watching UNC play live in a dozen games.
Having said that, Duke star Zion Williamson–and he is–needs to keep playing because if fear begins to drive him regarding basketball (or other elements in his life), then he’s no longer playing to win. And I fully understand the Nick Bosa tactic, which is to sit out the remainder of a season after an injury before a massive first-pick payday that’s just months away.
I get it.
Perhaps it’s easier for me to form my opinion without all that NBA Draft money in my near future. Still, it seems like super talented athletes like Zion Williamson and Nick Bosa may be too willing these days to squander the unique awesomeness of college athletics for what’s next in their careers. That first college experience happens only once in life.
It’s worth noting, as a lifelong Buckeye fan in Columbus, I’ve noticed that a lot of former star players (especially basketball and football) return with the latest Buckeye gear by Homage after just a couple of years in the pros to relive some of the glory days on the sidelines in the Horseshoe and in the Schottenstein Center. And they along with the coaches and fans love it. It’s one of the ways that college sports are far different than professional sports. There is something truly special about college basketball and football that cannot be replicated in the NBA or NFL.
But that’s a much longer blog post for a different day.
It’s been determined that Zion Williamson’s injury is a Grade 1 knee sprain and he is being evaluated on a day-to-day basis. Even though I am a UNC fan and I enjoyed the blowout win at Cameron Indoor last night by the final score 88-72–Go Tar Heels!–I always want to see the best athletes perform on the biggest stages.
Zion Williamson is freakishly talented, so I just hope he doesn’t let a freak accident stop him from playing what will be his only college basketball season. The dream scenario is his next steps involve playing for the next month or so but doesn’t lead Duke to a win in Chapel Hill or a national title.
I think that’s fair.
P.S. I can only imagine the emergency shoe tests being orchestrated at Nike headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon today.