Let Zion Make the Call

Gerry Broome Associated Press

Gerry Broome Associated Press

Shut it down.

The term is more often used for turning a computer off but now it’s seems to define what 18-year-old Duke Blue Devil freshman, Zion Williamson plans to do until he’s shaking NBA commissioner Adam Silver’s hand this summer.

On Wednesday February 20, during the ESPN-televised game against the UNC Tar Heels, Zion made a hard move to the left and tore through his Nike Paul George 2 sneakers, injuring his right knee. The injury was later upgraded to a Grade 1 right knee sprain.

President Obama, Spike Lee, and many other celebrities joined the Cameron crazies at Duke’s Cameron Indoor Stadium that night to see Zion and they saw him for about a minute, never to return. He hasn’t played a game since and Duke has gone 3-2 without him.

Media talking heads gave their takes on whether or not Zion should continue playing college basketball or shut it down and prepare for this year’s NBA draft, where he is projected to be the number 1 pick. It seems like the latter may come to fruition because there is speculation that Zion may not even return for the ACC tournament, but make no mistake, Zion should play – that is, if he so desires.

Whether he wanted it or not, we’ve already crowned Zion as the next LeBron James and the next big thing. Let’s not make any more decisions for him.

Many argue that Zion is a bringing in a lot of eyes and revenue for Duke, Nike, and ESPN right now but the young man isn’t able to take advantage of any of that, less he ruin his collegiate eligibility – so why not shut things down until he can make millions in the NBA? There are others, like Mike DeCoucry, who argues that Zion could get injured running or working out, so why force him to stop doing what he loves?

Whether you ascribe to the camp that thinks the NCAA takes advantage of its players and that Zion should look out for his best interest, or to the group that believes he should continue to do what he loves – play basketball, and rejoin his teammates when healthy, ultimately the decision is Zion’s to make.

Zion is clearly a rare talent and should do everything possible to take care of himself but if he wants to enjoy college, be with his teammates, and pursue a national championship, the sports world should let him have fun and be a “student-athlete” while it lasts. If Zion and his family have legitimate concerns about his health and draft stock, then everyone should respect his decision to sit out the rest of the season if he deems it logical.

Whether he wanted it or not, we’ve already crowned Zion as the next LeBron James and the next big thing. Let’s not make any more decisions for him.