Zion Williamson is one of the heaviest players in the NBA, yet he is known for his incredible quickness, unbelievable vertical jump, and awe-inspiring dunking abilities.
Let’s get to know a bit more about the shot-blocking and rebounding star is known as a “freak of nature.”
Zion Williamson Bio
Full name: Zion Lateef Williamson.
Career: Professional basketball player for the New Orleans Pelicans of the NBA.
Weight: 285 pounds.
Position: Power forward.
Shoots: Left-handed, but adept at either (he is ambidextrous).
Jersey: Wears #1.
Zion Williamson FAQs
1.) When was Zion Williamson drafted? NBA draft
Williamson was drafted in the first round, #1 overall by the New Orleans Pelicans on June 20, 2019, in the 2019 NBA Draft. He signed a 2-year rookie contract with the team on July 1, 2019.
During the preseason on October 13, 2019, he tore his meniscus in his knee. After three months of rehab, he made his NBA regular-season debut on January 22, 2020.
In his first professional season, Williamson became the youngest player in NBA history to score over 20 points in seven straight games. The record was previously held by Carmelo Anthony in 2004. His career-high points for one game is 35 points that he scored in a loss to Los Angeles.
2.) How old is Zion Williamson?
Zion was born on July 6, 2000, in Salisbury, North Carolina. He is 19 years old.
3.) How much does Zion Williamson weigh?
The Pelicans power forward weighs in at 285 lbs.
4.) How tall is Zion Williamson?
The NBA heavyweight stands 6 feet 7 inches tall.
5.) Where is Zion Williamson from?
Williamson was born in Salisbury, North Carolina. He and his family moved to Florence, South Carolina when he was two years old.
6.) What was his childhood like?
At age five, Zion’s parents divorced. His mother eventually re-married Lee Anderson, a former Clemson basketball player.
As a child, Zion enjoyed playing soccer and football. At age five he announced he would become a college basketball star. Showing surprising determination for his age, he began training by age nine.
Zion’s mother Sharonda Sampson coached his youth basketball league games, where he often played against kids four years older than him.
His stepfather Lee Anderson, a former college basketball player, began coaching and training the young athlete as well, helping him hone his skills as a point guard.
By the time he reached Johnakin Middle School (Marion, SC) he was again coached by his mother. He averaged 20 points per game and his team lost only three games over two years, winning the conference title in 2013.
VIDEO: How Zion’s shoe blew up
7.) Where did Zion Williamson go to high school?
Williamson attended high school at Spartanburg Day in Spartanburg, South Carolina where he played basketball, soccer, and football. He was a star player on the basketball team and by the time he graduated had achieved many athletic honors.
High school honors and achievements
- Consensus five-star recruit known for his slam dunks
- Ranked in the top five players nationally for 2018
- Led his team to three straight state championships
- Played in the Jordan Brand Classic and Nike Hoop Summit in 2018
- Offered a football scholarship from LSU in 2016
- Appeared on the cover of SLAM magazine at only 16 years of age
- 2018 South Carolina Mr. Basketball
- 2018 McDonald’s All-American
8.) Where did Zion Williamson go to college?
By his sophomore season at Spartanburg Day high school, Williamson had been recruited by 16 NCAA Division I basketball programs. The Duke University Blue Devils offered him a scholarship in his junior year and he accepted in a live telecast on ESPN.
Zion played only one season as a college starter at Duke (2018-2019), his freshman year. But he made the most of it. Williamson led the Blue Devils to an ACC tournament title and the team made it all the way to the Elite Eight in the NCAA’s March Madness tournament. He won the Naismith College Player of the Year, averaging 22.6 points per game along with 8.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 2.1 steals and 1.8 blocks. He shot 68% from the field.
College honors and achievements
- 2019 consensus National College Player of the Year
- 2019 ACC Player of the Year
- ACC Athlete of the Year 2019
- 2019 ACC Rookie of the Year
- Set the single-game scoring record for freshman at Duke
- Five-time ACC Rookie of the Week
- 2019 AP Player of the Year
- 2019 Wayman Tisdale Award for freshman of the year
- Karl Malone Award 2019
- 2019 ACC All-Freshman Team
- 2019 First Team All-ACC
- ACC Tournament MVP 2019
9.) Who are Zion Williamson’s parents?
Williamson’s father is Lateef Williamson and his mother is Sharonda Sampson.
Both parents were quite athletic. Lateef played football as a defensive lineman in high school and Sharonda was a sprinter at Livingstone College in Salisbury, NC. She became a middle school health and phy-ed teacher and coached Zion in basketball growing up.
10.) How did Zion get his name?
Williamson’s mother named him after Mount Zion near Jerusalem. She was influenced by his grandmother’s advice to give him a special name.
11.) Who is his little brother?
Zion Williamson has a stepbrother named Noah Anderson. He is 13 years younger than Zion.
12.) Is Zion Williamson married?
Williamson is not married.
13.) Who is his girlfriend?
Zion is dating his high school sweetheart Tiana White.
14.) Does Zion have children?
He does not have any children.
15.) What is Zion Williamson’s vertical?
The athletic forward known for his impressive dunks and crazy blocks registered a 45-inch vertical jump, setting the Duke school record before the 2018/19 season.
Duke freshman guard Cassius Stanley shattered Williamson’s record jump by one inch the following year.
VIDEO: Zion’s vertical
16.) What is his shoe size?
A pair of size 15 Nike sneakers worn by Zion Williamson sold at auction in 2019, fetching nearly $20,000.
17.) What shoe did Zion break? Shoe fail
As a freshman, Zion’s Nike sneaker blew apart in a game against the North Carolina Tar Heels. He planted his foot and the shoe came apart. The mishap cost him an injured knee and several missed games.
18.) How fast is Zion Williamson?
The NBA big man is quick on his feet and shows explosive closing speed for his size.
19.) What is Zion Williamson’s catchphrase?
“Let’s dance” became his catchphrase after saying it on draft night.
20.) What is Zion’s nickname?
Duke teammates called him Zanos after the Marvel Comic character Thanos.
21.) Who is the heaviest player in the NBA?
The top five heaviest players in the NBA are:
- 290 pounds – Boban Marjanovic, Dallas Mavericks
- 289 pounds – Tacko Fall, Boston Celtics
- 285 pounds – Zion Williamson, New Orleans Pelicans
- 279 pounds – Andre Drummond, Cleveland Cavaliers
- 275 pounds – Robin Lopez, Milwaukee bucks
22.) What is Zion Williamson’s net worth?
Williamson signed a 2-year, $20-million contract with the New Orleans Pelicans in 2019. The deal includes $20 million guaranteed, with an average yearly salary of $10 million. The contract includes a team option to extend into the third and fourth years.
As such, his net worth is estimated to be $10 million.
23.) What are Zion Williamson’s endorsements?
Zion also helped his bottom line by signing a $75 million shoe contract with Jordan Brand, a Nike subsidiary, in 2019. The shoe deal is the second-largest ever for an NBA rookie, after LeBron James’ $90 million contract in 2003.
Gatorade also signed Williamson to an endorsement deal that will pay him seven figures annually. He has additional endorsement deals with 2K Sports and Mountain Dew.
24.) Zion Williamson quotes
There’s really no comparison to me. I try to add every level to my game. My body is just built differently. Some people try to look at it as a weakness, but I look at it as a blessing. People aren’t used to guarding this kind of size and I’m able to add a little finesse to my game so it has flavor and I’m a playmaker so I can create for my teammates and when I have to finish I’m gonna finish.
My advice would be, if you love the sport, just play it.
I’m more than just what you see on YouTube.
I’m adjusting to my teammates and my teammates are adjusting to me — just subtle things like when do I pass it, when do they pass it to me, where I want the ball, where I don’t want to the ball. As time goes on, it will make it even better.
They’re talking about me? I’m in college.
When you’re not able to move around, do athletic movements for a while, the only thing you can do is just shoot spot-up jumpers. I guess that was the result of that.
On which NBA team he wanted to play for
Whoever wants me and whoever sees the most in me, that’s where I want to be.
On his injury at Duke
I was sitting there, on the training table. The game was on. My mom walks in, and I broke down. I’d been thinking about that game for so long. … I just cried in her arms. She told me that everything happens for a reason. She told me I’d be back.
Zion Williamson on playing after his knee injury
Me, personally, I don’t want any restrictions. But I’m not a doctor or a trainer, so I’ve just got to listen to them.
On a possible return to Duke
Me, I wanted to go back. Nobody ever believes me and they think I’m just saying that, but no, I genuinely wanted to go back.
I felt like the NBA wasn’t going anywhere. The money thing, that’s money, I don’t play this for money, I play for the love of the game. I just loved my experience at Duke that much where I wanted to stay
But it was one of those situations where Coach K is not going to let me come back. He wants me to do what’s best for my family. My teammates were saying, ‘It would be dope if you came back’ but at the same time, they were telling me that I would be leaving too much…
At the end of the day, it was kind of my mom. She said she was going to support me in whatever I do. So I was like ‘I’m going back!’ I think she and my stepdad talked and said, ‘You worked too hard to get to this moment. You’d feel bad if you left it.’
On his Pelican’s debut
It was nice to experience those emotions. I was happy to be out there and be able to run out there again, but what was going through my mind was just, ‘Be calm.’
Zion Williamson on LeBron James
I mean, he is who he is. He’s an incredible player. I give respect when it’s due. He hit a big shot that helped them seal the game.
On LeBron James words of advice
It definitely means something, ’cause he’s been doing this for 17 years and his résumé speaks for itself. So for him to say that, holds something. That’s all I can say about that.
On musician Drake wearing his jersey
It’s amazing that Drake even knows my name. When your favorite rapper wears your jersey, it’s an indescribable feeling.
Zion Williamson on his little brother
Noah is my little brother and I always look out for him. [We] go outside on that little goal I have and play basketball with each other. I’m always chillin’ with Noah. Noah has this cool vibe to him. When you are around Noah, how can you not smile and laugh? Noah has that swag about him, I love it because I say, ‘Yeah, that’s my little brother. What’s up, bruh.
On signing autographs
I try to sign every kid’s autograph. I don’t want to turn a little kid down because I know it will hurt them because it hurt me. Anthony Davis, John Wall turned me down. So I try to sign everybody.
25.) Quotes about Zion Williamson
It’s good to see him back running, getting up and down on the court, mixing with the guys. Of course, he’s a special talent. We’ll be happy to have him back.
– E’Twaun Moore
He’s special. Anybody who has followed basketball for the last two years and seen the talent he has… Hope he can stay healthy and be able to put it together. The sky is the limit for him.
– Spurs guard DeMar DeRozan
To start the game, he wasn’t going 100 miles an hour trying to get that first bucket and get that monkey off his back. He made the right plays and I think that’s the biggest thing, especially for someone (his) age. With so many eyes on you, and so much pressure on you, it’s easy to conform and whether we win or lose have your debut be successful. He went out there and made the right plays and played well defensively.
– Pelicans guard Josh Hart
[Zion is] touched by the hand of God to play this game. He is a population of one.
– David Griffin, Pelicans General Manager
Quotations on Zion
I don’t think I heard it. In those moments of the game, I’m more focused in on trying to knock the free throw down, which I didn’t tonight. There’s a lot of love and support in the building and we enjoy it.
– Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram, on Williamson getting MVP chants
God gave it to the right person. You couldn’t have chosen a better person to have what he has. The way he handles himself. The way he carries himself. How he moves as if he knows who he is at the end of the day. You’re not going to tell Zion who he is. There’s no way he’s going to feel moved by what the followers say — zero or 4 million.
– Pelicans guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker
He’s unreal. We were talking about him the other day in our team room. He has a lot of hype around him and he’s unbelievably talented, but you can’t teach, like, his passion and the way that … he plays. And, he plays hard every possession, and that’s an underrated skill that kids can … emulate.
– Warriors guard Steph Curry
LeBron James’ quotes on Zion Williamson
You have to actually be out on the floor to actually feel the strength and the speed that he plays at. It’s a hell of a rookie class, I’ll tell you that. These kids are special.
I can relate in a sense of he’s been covered since he was in high school and everybody is trying to compare him to the next this or the next that. But the best thing I’ve noticed is he seems like a good kid. He seems like he’s got his head on straight.
Everybody gets so caught up in the game itself. I look at the intangibles. And he seems like he has great intangibles and seems like a great kid.
I never tooted my nose up or had anything to say about the comparison to me and Zion and Zion to me. I think it’s great — I think it’s great for the game.
What strikes me? His agility and his quickness. For his size, how strong he is, to be able to move like the way he moves, he’s very impressive. I mean, everybody can see the athleticism. That’s obviously, that’s ridiculous. But the speed and the quickness that he moves [with] at that size is very impressive.
Quotes from Alvin Gentry, Pelicans Head Coach
He did a good job of being a low man and rotating out. You’ve seen that at Duke before. He’s very good at timing and blocking shots.
With him on the floor, obviously, we’re pretty good. There’s obviously a huge area of improvement that’s going to be made. He’s played three NBA games now and what he’s done, he’s just done on raw talent, really.
He’s eager to be out there and all of his teammates are eager for him to be out there, but it’s a step by step process that we’ve got to take so that it’s done the right way. There’s no date, per se, but we’re hoping that it’s soon.
What you saw there is a taste of once we really get settled in and he gets settled in, you can see that there’s a lot of things we can do with him. There’s a lot of potential there. It was good to see him do that, but you know I think there’s a really, really high ceiling that he can reach.
I wanted him to be aggressive, and I knew that he would make some mistakes, but you know I think what you saw there is a taste of once we really get settled in and he gets settled in, you can see that there’s a lot of things we can do with him. There’s a lot of potential there. It was good to see him do that, but you know I think there’s a really really high ceiling that he can reach. So we’ll just continue on, and we’ll continue to practice.
Quotes from Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday
The way he plays, that’s something he can do every day. Adding Zion is a big part to what we want to do here and our success.
He can miss and catch it in the air and dunk it. It’s God-given.
His first official NBA game is against a pretty good team so, honestly, I think the way he came out was very poised. The way he played, and even around us, and bringing energy especially down the stretch was something that, I guess you don’t see from somebody so young. Even on top of that, we are almost in February and he hadn’t played a game yet, so for him to be able to come out here and do that in his first game … is pretty elite.
Quotes from Pelicans point guard Lonzo Ball
Our games just complement each other. He gets out on the break. He’s a big, physical body. He screens and roll, I come off for the screen and pass. You know, we’ll help each other a lot.
It’s definitely going to help us the more he can stay on the court and continue the chemistry. It’s kind of hard to play when he just gets two minutes, three minutes, But when he’s out there for a while, we can get the pace going and keep stuff flowing.
On Zion’s debut
The energy was there from warm-ups. That is the most people I have seen coming out before the game even started.
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26.) What basketball player is Zion Williamson most frequently compared to?
More basketball experts classify Williamson as a “unicorn,” in the sense that there’s never been a player quite like him.
Others have made comparisons to the following players:
27.) How can I follow Zion Williamson on social media?
28.) What’s next for Zion Williamson?
The young NBA star is wrapping up his rookie season with the New Orleans Pelicans. According to the number crunchers at fivethirtyeight.com, the Pelicans have a 66% chance of making the playoffs this year.
No matter what happens in Zion’s first-ever NBA season, the future is bright for the youthful basketball star.
— Jerry Johnson
Jerry writes about all sports but finds basketball the most fascinating.
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