After signing a five-year, $193 million max contract with the New Orleans Pelicans, Zion Williamson knows the team and fans will have high expectations for him and he believes he's ready to live up to them.
"I want to prove that I'm a winner, simple as that," Williamson said during a press conference on Wednesday. "I want to win with coach, I want to win with my teammates. The ultimate goal is to win a championship, and I feel like that's what we're all striving for."
Williamson celebrated his 22nd birthday on Wednesday by officially signing his new deal.
Despite missing the entirety of the 2021-22 season because of offseason foot surgery, the Pelicans still chose to commit to the former No. 1 overall pick. Williamson explained how much it means to him that the team rewarded him with this extension.
"On my birthday last year is when I found out I broke my foot, and I was out the whole year, it was a tough year," he said. "For the Pelicans to come give me this birthday gift, I'm not gonna let them down. I'm not gonna let the city down, I'm not gonna let my family down, and most of all, I'm not gonna let myself down."
Pelicans general manager David Griffin told reporters that Williamson's contract has a player option for the fifth year.
Williamson has appeared in just 85 games over his three years in the NBA. He's shown flashes of dominance, but he just hasn't been able to remain healthy. If he manages to stay on the court, New Orleans will have a good shot at competing for a playoff spot next season.
The Pelicans went 36-46 last season and won their way out of the play-in tournament. They ran into the top-seeded Phoenix Suns in the first round and lost in six games.
New Orleans has a talented roster that also includes CJ McCollum and Brandon Ingram, so adding Williamson to that mix will make for a dangerous team.