By MIKE HERNDON
Some of us just can’t stand it when our narratives get ripped to shreds.
The predominant narrative being pushed by a significant portion of the national media leading up to this week’s NBA draft lottery was the possibility of Zion Williamson, possibly the most heralded prospect to enter the NBA since LeBron James, going to the downtrodden New York Knicks.
The Knicks haven’t had a No. 1 overall pick since taking Patrick Ewing in 1985. And other than a run two rounds into the playoffs in 2013, they haven’t been relevant as a franchise in two decades. They’re overdue for some good fortune.
Ping pong balls don’t care about narratives, however. When they were drawn in this year’s lottery, the No. 1 pick went not to New York, but New Orleans.
And you’d have thought Zion was getting drafted by BC Enisley. (It’s Siberia’s professional basketball team — look it up.)
The man is about to become a multi-millionaire. Are we really stupid enough to think he won’t get as many endorsement deals because he’s not in New York or LA? With the hype that has surrounded this guy, and his undeniably rare talent, he’d have Nike, Adidas and everybody else beating down his door if he played in Twin Falls, Idaho.
And let’s stop acting like New Orleans is some kind of backwater. It is a beautiful, metropolitan city with wonderful people, world-class food and excellent night life. It’s a great place to be young — one of the better places in the country.
But a large group of what is collectively referred to as the national media is based on the East Coast within a bounce pass of New York. And they sometimes act as though they’ve never been anywhere else except maybe to fly in for a game.
Why, in the name of all that’s good and holy, should Zion want to go to the Knicks? To play for a dysfunctional train wreck run by a dumpster fire of an owner in James Dolan that hasn’t been relevant since before he was born?
Get over yourselves, you clowns. Just stop. The Knicks aren’t owed anything. We do understand that, despite having the worst record in the league — and thus the best chance of winning the lottery — that chance was still only 14 percent, right?
This is why the NBA has a lottery — so teams won’t tank for a guaranteed No. 1 pick. And sometimes they do anyway (see: The 76ers under Sam Hinkie).
All this hot air expended, all this gibberish about going back to Duke, just because Williamson looked less than ecstatic when the Pelicans got the No. 1 pick. And then somebody thought to actually ask someone in Zion’s camp and we get this:
This is the same Zion Williamson who ignored all the same blowhards who said he should not come back to Duke after suffering an injury in a bizarre shoe blowout during the season — that it wasn’t worth it to risk his future.
And when someone asked Zion himself:
“I’m not going to let nobody else tell me what I can do with my life,” he told Slam Online (as shared by USA Today). “It’s never going to happen. I knew I was coming back the whole time.”
Williamson has handled it all as well as can be expected. He’s made his own decisions and has resisted the barrage of outside opinions. He’ll make this one too. It’s his life, his career. And it should be a great one wherever it begins.
(Photo by Keenan Hairston/Wikimedia Commons)