Zion Williamson says Anthony Davis, John Wall turning him down for autograph shaped his approach
UPDATE: Zion Williamson was apparently misquoted, and he never was snubbed by Anthony Davis or John Wall. An updated story on what actually happened can be found here.
Zion Williamson is hoping to shape his NBA career much differently than what he’s experienced with professional players from a young age. The Duke forward, now the consensus No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming 2019 NBA Draft detailed how getting an autograph request turned down by former Kentucky stars Anthony Davis and John Wall changed how he views signing for every kid he can.
“When I was little, I looked up to high school players and wanted their autographs and sometimes I couldn’t get it, I’d be hurt,” a 16-year-old Williamson said in a documentary produced by Home Team Hoops three years ago, one that recently resurfaced. “I said when I grew up, I don’t want to be like that. I want to sign every kid’s autograph. No matter how long it takes me.
“I try to sign every kid’s autograph because I don’t want to turn a little kid down because I know it’ll hurt him. Because it would hurt me. Anthony Davis, John Wall turned me down, so I try to sign everybody’s.”
It’s tough to imagine if Williamson thought his name would blow up to become the obsession of 30 front offices throughout the past year and become the potential savior of an NBA team once his name is called by commissioner Adam Silver.
Williamson comes from humble beginnings in his native South Carolina and hoped from a young age he wouldn’t let the success go up to his head, remaining humble through the process.
“John Wall, Jaylen Brown, Stanley Johnson, Anthony Davis, I’d always dream of meeting them and see them play in high school but never got that chance,” Williamson said in the film. “I always told myself, if I work hard enough, maybe I can be in that kind of spotlight.”
The 6-foot-7, 285-pound monster forward is likely to be more of a supernova than any of the aforementioned were upon breaking into the NBA Draft, and the hope is that we remains true to those aspirations, setting the right example for the next generation.