It may seem odd to consider that Zion Williamson, at age 22, is already on the verge of a comeback attempt in the NBA, but that is what seems to be taking place at the moment.
Williamson, who entered the NBA as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, has played just 85 regular season games thus far in his three-year career. He missed the entire 2021-22 campaign with a foot injury.
As he prepares for what he surely hopes is a big 2022-23 season, Williamson admitted that he was in a dark place while trying to overcome a drawn out foot injury last season.
He said as much while speaking with Tres Dean of GQ.
“It’s been a lot. I can sit here and explain it, but nobody will really be able to feel it the way I did,” he said. “My foot was broken and I couldn’t magically heal it. It hurt, because I love the game of basketball. But because of it, I was experiencing hate and pain from people I don’t know every day, and it started to wear on me.”
It’s an incredibly understandable point of view and one that demands sympathy from NBA fans.
Already, fans of the league know that when he is healthy, Williamson is among the most dominant young players in the league. He was named an All-Star in the 2020-21 season averaging 27.0 points, 7.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game.
If he can stay healthy in the upcoming season, it’s not unrealistic to assume that he will earn another All-Star Game appearance.
Team success could be on the horizon too if Williamson can remain healthy. Even without Williamson, the Pelicans made it to the playoffs last season.
As the No. 8 seed, they managed to put up a solid fight against the No. 1 seeded Phoenix Suns. If Williamson had been on the floor in that series, there’s no telling how things could have gone.
Without a doubt, Williamson will look to move past the difficulties that his injury presented and try to become a better player from here on out.
Hopefully, that is exactly what transpires for the young man.