Zion Williamson Comments on LeBron James Ahead of 1st Career Matchup

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistFebruary 24, 2020

Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James dunks during the first half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
Ringo H.W. Chiu/Associated Press

Both Zion Williamson and LeBron James received massive hype at a young age, but Williamson thinks James has actually been underrated during his career. 

"I used to watch him all the time, especially when he was in Cleveland the first time, he was just an incredible player to watch, he always held his own," the New Orleans Pelicans rookie said, per Omnisport (via Yahoo Sports). 

"Sometimes I feel he doesn't get the respect he deserves but it's not for me to decide."

Williamson will get a chance to face the veteran for the first time Tuesday, when the Pelicans take on the Los Angeles Lakers.

James has certainly lived up to his massive expectations that came before he was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2003 draft. After winning Rookie of the Year in his first season, he's earned an All-Star selection in each of the next 16 years, winning four MVP awards while being named first-team All-NBA 12 times.

Even at 35 years old with a lot of mileage on his body, the superstar is an MVP candidate this season while averaging 25.2 points, 7.7 rebounds and a league-leading 10.7 assists per game.

Williamson would love to follow in this path after entering the league with a lot of attention as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 draft, with plenty of nationwide exposure dating back to his high school days.

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LeBron himself was talking about Zion ahead of the draft on HBO's The Shop:

"The one thing that I noticed with his one year at Duke, that his energy was infectious," James said. "Every possession it seemed like he could make a difference on the outcome of the game."

Though a knee injury slowed his start to the NBA, Zion has been outstanding since returning to the court with an average of 22.8 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. 

He's helped lift the Pelicans into playoff contention, entering Monday 3.5 games behind the Memphis Grizzlies for the final spot. Though the upcoming battle against the Lakers could be a potential playoff preview, Williamson is focused on the task at hand.

"I'm looking at from the perspective as, you know we need every win, we're trying to fight for that eight seed in the playoffs."