Duke freshman sensation Zion Williamson made news this week in sports when he hurt his knee after his shoe broke down on him 33 seconds into the Duke-North Carolina game on Wednesday night. It was the last we saw of him in that game for the night. So many thousands of dollars to see him went down the drain in a snap.
Fortunately for him, Duke and college basketball fans, he suffered just a Grade 1 right knee sprain, so it was not the end of civilization after all. This did not stop anyone from telling Williamson what he should do the rest of the season, though. In fact, everyone told him what he should do as soon as he got hurt in real time on Twitter.
Most experts such as former NBA players, media members, amateur doctors and random yokels encouraged Williamson not to risk his career and future by playing any more games for Duke this season. Then, you had others using his injury as a convenient referendum for players to go to pros straight from high school. The topper was players need to get paid to play college basketball in light of his injury.
It sure is amusing to see and hear grown adults telling an 18-year-old kid what to do with his life.
It’s not as black-and-white as people think when it comes to Williamson. Sure, it makes sense from the eye of the beholder, but there is so much to think about when it comes to making a decision like this.
This isn’t college football where a player can just make a decision not to play a meaningless bowl game. Duke has worked hard all year to be in a position to win a national championship, and if Williamson decides not to play anymore so he can look out for his career, it won’t make him look good in front of his teammates. These guys wake up early and practice and put in the hours late just so Duke can be in a position to get there, and if Williamson bails, it’s a bad look for him.
It would not be the right way to make an impression on his way to the NBA. He would be viewed as selfish. You can bet people who tell Williamson to not play anymore will be the same people who will rip him for looking out for himself.
The bottom line is Williamson is damned if he plays and damned if he doesn’t.
Here’s the question: Why is it anyone’s concern with what he does with his life? Also, how is this a referendum in the NCAA about college basketball players need to get paid for a freak injury that can happen anywhere and anytime?
Yes, sports bring out the worst in us. It’s a big business, even college sports. We seem to revolve our life around grown athletes and kids. Our day and night are dictated on what players do in their own time. It’s ridiculous.
Injuries are going to happen. That’s part of life in sports. It’s unfortunate a freak injury happened to Williamson, but it’s not the end of the world as the fans and national media made it out to be the other day.
There’s no need to hyperventilate about why the NBA should get rid of one-and-done rule in college basketball or talk about college basketball players needing to get paid just to satisfy a personal agenda.
CBS shouldn’t worry about ratings if Williamson does not play. Fans are going to watch the NCAA tournament since it’s the thing to do in March to pass the time.
There’s no doubt everyone is waiting to find out what the likely No. 1 2019 NBA pick will do, and yes, everyone will have an opinion. It’s what we do. It’s just interesting we are being infatuated on an 18-year-old kid.
At the end of the day, it’s Williamson’s decision, and his decision alone. We have to respect it whether we like it or not. We shouldn’t be judging others.
If he makes the decision to play for Duke the rest of the season, it’s commendable.
It he makes the decision to not play anymore this season, it’s understandable.
There is no right or wrong answer for Williamson. There’s no need to scrutinize over a kid’s decision. There is no need to have a hot take or opinion. It’s his life.
There’s also no need to have fake outrage about the NCAA using basketball players for free labor, especially when they have free tuition to go to school and somehow get by with classes at school that your normal college student doesn’t have.
There are other things in life to worry about than worrying about whether or not Williamson should play another game for Duke.