Zion Williamson vs. RJ Barrett Matchup Sets ESPN's Summer League Ratings Record

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistJuly 8, 2019

BROOKLYN, NY - JUNE 20: Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett shake hands before the 2019 NBA Draft on June 20, 2019 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Michael J. LeBrecht II/NBAE via Getty Images)
Michael J. LeBrecht II/Getty Images

Friday night's showdown between Zion Williamson's New Orleans Pelicans and RJ Barrett's New York Knicks was the highest-rated NBA Summer League game ever, according to ESPN's Ben Cafardo.

The first-ever professional meeting between the two former Duke Blue Devils teammates produced a metered market rating of 1.2, up 33 percent from the previous record set in 2017 for Lonzo Ball's expected debut with the Los Angeles Lakers.

It generated a 7.0 rating in New Orleans and a 1.8 rating in New York.

Friday night marked the summer league debuts for both Williamson (No. 1 overall pick) and Barrett (No. 3). According to ESPN.com, there had been just two sellouts in Las Vegas Summer League history prior to Friday. Lakers stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis, who sat courtside together at the game, were among those in the sellout crowd.

Williamson had a solid showing, recording 11 points and three rebounds in just nine minutes during the first half:

However, the 19-year-old left the game early because of a minor knee injury, and he has since been ruled out for the remainder of summer league as a precaution.

Barrett, meanwhile, struggled in his professional debut. He went 4-of-18 from the floor, including 1-of-8 from three, while scoring 10 points.

With New Orleans leading 80-74 with 7:53 remaining in the fourth quarter, the game was called after an earthquake struck Southern California.

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