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Zion Williamson After Non-Call vs. Nuggets: 'I've Got to Earn My Respect'

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistApril 29, 2021

New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson (1) drives to the rim between Denver Nuggets forwards Aaron Gordon (50) and Michael Porter Jr., right, in the second half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, April 28, 2021, in Denver. The Nuggets held on to win 114-112. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

It would have been easy for Zion Williamson to vent his frustrations following Wednesday's 114-112 loss to the Denver Nuggets.

After all, the New Orleans Pelicans star went up for what would have been the game-tying shot in the final seconds only to be blocked by Nikola Jokic. It appeared to be a foul, but the officials swallowed their whistles.

Bally Sports New Orleans @BallySportsNO

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Instead, he said he still had to "earn my respect" to get calls like that in crunch time.

"I've got to earn my respect," he told reporters. "I'm only in year two. I've got to get a couple more years under my belt and hopefully things change with that."

While the Duke product may still be working on earning that respect, getting to the line has not been much of an issue. In fact, he is second in the league in total free throws this season with 491 and is behind only Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Hardwood Paroxysm @HPbasketball

Zion gets a TON of calls. He didn’t get a pretty obvious end-of-game call tonight. But that does not mean he doesn’t get calls.

There is something to be said about how difficult certain players are to officiate in the NBA because of their physicality. Williamson is someone who can simply overpower many opponents, which leaves smaller players clawing for any advantage and often fouling him even when the infractions go uncalled.

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Players such as Shaquille O'Neal, LeBron James and others have dealt with similar situations throughout their careers, and Williamson is surely experiencing that as he becomes accustomed to the league.

To hear him say it, though, he will start getting more of those whistles as he garners more respect down the line.

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