Luka Doncic Tells Young Players to 'Play in Europe' After Zion Williamson Injury

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorFebruary 21, 2019

Miami Heat's Josh Richardson (0) defends as Dallas Mavericks' Luka Doncic (77) advances the ball up court during an NBA basketball game in Dallas, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

Duke superstar forward and likely No. 1 overall NBA draft pick Zion Williamson suffered a mild knee sprain against the North Carolina Tar Heels on Wednesday, per head coach Mike Krzyzewski.

Williamson suffered the injury less than a minute into the game and did not return.

After the game, numerous NBA players not only sent well-wishes to Williamson but also noted how NCAA athletes do not get paid for their services.

Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell was one:

That tweet received much support, including via Atlanta Hawks rookie point guard Trae Young.

Dallas Mavericks rookie Luka Doncic, who played professionally for Real Madrid of Liga ACB and the Euroleague before arriving stateside, had another suggestion in response to the Mitchell tweet:

Playing professionally instead of going the college route wouldn't be unprecedented for an American-born prospect or one who came to the states and played high school ball.

Brandon Jennings signed with Lottomatica Roma of Serie A in 2008. Per an Oct. 2008 report from Pete Thamel of the New York Times, Jennings was slated to "earn $1.2 million this season in salary and endorsements, including a shoe contract with Under Armour."

New York Knicks guard Emmanuel Mudiay and Oklahoma City Thunder guard Terrance Ferguson also went overseas.

Mudiay, who was born in Zaire and played high school ball in Texas, signed with the Guangdong Southern Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association.

Ferguson competed for the Adelaide 36ers of the National Basketball League (based in Australia and New Zealand).

They all got paid, and going overseas didn't seem to hurt their pro prospects either. Jennings, Mudiay and Ferguson were drafted 10th, seventh and 21st overall in the 2009, 2015 and 2017 drafts, respectively.

Thankfully, Williamson doesn't seem to be seriously injured given the "mild" designation. But given the close call for a superstar about to make millions in endorsements and contract money, the shouts for collegiate athletes to get paid will only get louder. 

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