New Orleans Pelicans star Zion Williamson has proven to be an All-Star-caliber player when healthy. The problem is he has never been consistently healthy. In three seasons, Williamson has only played in 85 games. He missed all of last season with a Jones fracture in his right foot.
Now healthy and fresh off signing a five-year $193 million rookie extension, Williamson is looking to bounce back and go back to his powerful, rim-rattling ways.
Zion Williamson out here doing 360 dunks in his pregame workouts 🔥👀
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) April 14, 2022
In an interview with GQ, Williamson compared his injury-plagued career to the story of Naruto Uzumaki, the titular character of the popular Japanese anime, Naruto.
“No matter what the world is saying, I have to remember that I am who I am and stay true to that. That's what Naruto did, and that's what I'm going to do,” Williamson said. “For a while, nobody took Naruto seriously, and then he went and trained with Jiraiya for three years, right? And he came back at 16 years old, goated.”
‘Naruto' is the story of a young ninja who attempts to overcome social adversity and achieve his goal of becoming the Hokage, which is the leader and strongest ninja of his village.
Williamson's health has subjected him to heavy criticism from the media and fans alike. Many critics question his longevity and how his size and explosive play style will impact his future.
Reportedly, the Pelicans put a weight clause in Williamson's contract extension that will reduce his pay if his combined weight and body fat percentage reach a certain threshold.
When healthy, Williamson has been dominant. In 85 games, he has averaged 25.7 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game.