This week’s sports question is: Should Zion Williamson play the rest of the season for the Duke University men’s basketball team?
The 18-year-old Williamson is a fabulous freshman forward who has dominated college basketball this season. The 6-foot-7, 285-pound player has averaged 21.6 points and 8.8 rebounds a game. He is also a YouTube sensation with his thunderous dunks.
Williamson is so good that many basketball scouts think he will be picked first in the 2019 National Basketball Association (NBA) draft if he chooses to leave Duke. First-round draft picks sign contracts worth millions of dollars.
In January, Hall of Fame NBA player Scottie Pippen said Williamson should sit down for the rest of the season. Pippen claimed that Williamson had “done enough” in college and that if he were Williamson, he said, “I would stop playing because I feel he could risk a major injury that could really hurt his career.”
Pippen looked like a fortuneteller last week. Williamson sprained his knee when his Nike shoe broke during the Duke-North Carolina game. Luckily, the injury was not serious.
So should Williamson continue to play the rest of the season or sit it out? Remember Williamson, like all students, is not paid to play college basketball even though others, such as Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski (Coach K), make millions of dollars from the game.
Except for the millions of dollars involved, Williamson’s decision is similar to decisions kids make every sports season. See if this sounds familiar.
You sign up for a sports team. But part way through the season things change, and you want to quit. Maybe you don’t like the coach or the team is too competitive or maybe you are not getting enough playing time. Whatever the reason, you think it would be better for you if you stopped playing on the team.
But when you join a team, you make a promise — even if you don’t say the promise out loud. You promise your coach and teammates that you will stay until the end of the season and try your best to help the team. It’s important to keep your promises.
It appears Williamson sees his decision that way. He said he “came to Duke to play.” He added, “I can’t just stop playing. I’d be letting my teammates down, I’d be letting Coach K down, I’d be letting a lot of people down.”
I would understand if Williamson decided to sit for the rest of the season. If his next injury is more serious it could cost him millions of dollars.
Still, I think he should play. After all, a promise is a promise.