Zion Williamson on Wednesday signed a five-year contract extension with the New Orleans Pelicans, the maximum allowed under the league’s “Rookie Player Designated Renewal” rule; Depending on the variables built into the contract, it could net him anywhere from $193 million to $231 million. If you’re thinking this might be a risky investment for the Pelicans in a phenomenally cube-shaped young player who missed his entire third pro season with foot problems and who’s played a total of 85 (incredibly productive!) games over his NBA career so far, well yeah, that’s reasonable, if maybe a little dull GM-brainless for my tastes. If you’re thinking, “Boy, the Pelicans would certainly get a lot more value out of this contract if Zion traded some of the sick dunks that made him such a famous and cool basketball star for some sensible layups!” ” then I’m sorry to say you’re the biggest idiot that ever lived.
Or, well, you’ve leveled with the idiot who hit Zion on the official presser after the contract signing Wednesday night with this vaguely question-like prompt:
Here’s a transcript in case you can’t play videos everywhere:
So you’re talking about longevity, technically a dunk and a layup are worth the same number of points, but we know you love the dunk and the energy it can bring, I mean just curious if you use that as an example how you think about longevity.
holy smoke What a mind. I just winced so much that I’m now wearing my own sternum as a bandana. The content of this matter, which from now on I shall call a question for the sake of simplicity, is, Now that you’re serious about becoming a real NBA player, isn’t it time to stop all that slam-dunking nonsense and start playing more like Kelly Olynyk? I like to imagine what would have happened if Zion had responded to that with something along the lines of, “Well, actually I’ve forgone all dunks from now on in favor of equally effective but much more sensible two-handed layups.” I especially like to picture Pelicans General Manager Trajan Langdon and Executive Vice President David Griffin sitting on the podium to Zion’s right, greening and rushing when he said it. Nobody wants that! The Pelicans don’t sell tickets or Williamson jerseys from damn finger rolls! They don’t land coveted slots on national television on the promise that a newly sobered Zion Williamson will spend the rest of his career emulating Christian Laettner!
Would this compromise be even safer? I think the assumption here is that layups are more conservative, less stylish, and less crowded Cold, they must also be better for health. That’s vegetable reasoning. It’s deep and deep white. But does it last? Personally, I can’t think of many notable examples of players injuring themselves while throwing mega-dunks. Intuitively, I might even surmise that dipping is safer than putting the ball in, as far as the kind of knee and lower leg injuries that messed up Williamson’s early career in that both involve jumping, but only dipping involves the opportunity to short grip the rim to ensure a safe landing. More importantly, the waistband of my pants mysteriously moved up two feet when I typed that paragraph, and I’m suddenly wearing Coke glasses.
Personally, I really appreciate the nervous tremor in the interlocutor’s voice, as if he appreciates that he’s making the dumbest argument possible in the English language – hell, imagine saying out loud, ” Technically, a dunk and a layup are worth the same number of points I think my mouth would fall off – and gathers his determination to see it through to its dismal and embarrassing end. Pay tribute to this absolute Lord of Dorks! By smacking this pocket protector ass post to a high-visibility NBA press conference, he managed to provoke a lively, funny, animated reaction from Williamson —
I’m a competitor so when I’m on the pitch I don’t think about it: ‘Let me put that ball in, hopefully that will make me pass, my career will last longer.’ no I’m thinking about putting this person through the brink. So as far as my dunking goes, that’s always going to happen. It will stay that way. There are none – no matter what they are [gesturing at Pelicans honchos sitting beside him] Speaking of which, I always dip. Come on dude.
– even if it came down to it This is the nerdiest shit I’ve ever heard in my life and included both Zion and Pelicans trainer Willie Green laughing at the questioner and also many cans of that face:
Forfeiting one’s dignity to provoke such a reaction from a player is the highest tradition of journalistic integrity. What I have only now discovered, to my absolute horror, is something like an indictment. Oh God.