Now or never: Three demands Zion Williamson must make before debut

Duke basketball legend Zion Williamson (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Duke basketball legend Zion Williamson (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /
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Zion Williamson
Duke basketball aircraft Zion Williamson (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /

First demand: Exile for the franchise’s control freaks

Flying for loose balls. Flying for blocks. Flying for dunks. Flying just to fly.

Without the flight — not to mention the thunderous planting of his feet into the hardwood every time he pivots — Zion Williamson would probably just be an overweight dude watching from his couch as other high-flying acrobats appear all over SportsCenter.

No, Williamson must soar for his career to soar. And in order for the team-listed 6-foot-6, 284-pound forward not to crash and burn, worrywarts with power must not be present — talking about restraining orders or whatever it takes. New Orleans executive vice president David Griffin has given off such negative vibes in keeping Williamson out this long. So too has head coach Alvin Gentry and others on occasion.

ALSO READ: Zion dunks despite walking concerns

One way to put it, these old dudes need to quit trying to make Williamson feel as old as they are. Another way to put it, caution when handling a specimen the world has never seen obscures the whole scene.

The nonsensical admission by Griffin to media last week when announcing the planned date of Williamson’s debut sums up the problem:

“He’s getting to the point where we actually think he is as ready as he believes he is.”

Sounds like Williamson — who deserves infinitely more trust in this case than Griffin considering 1) he knows his own body, and 2) he seems to just want to do the right thing by enjoying life, while his employers only seem interested in the type of helicopter-parenting that prevents the untapped potential of their prized investment — could have been flying a long time ago.

When he does return, the decision-makers must let the 19-year-old continue to explore the unseen reaches of human athleticism without grimacing every time he leaves his feet. And if they — whomever they may be now or in the future — are unable to exclusively display on their faces the type of sheer delight that God obviously created Williamson to deliver on earth, then the delightful one himself should respond by publicly exploring options to go to a place with big wigs who embrace good times minus the incessant worrying.

That brings us to the second demand Williamson should make before Wednesday…