It took 13 weeks and a few days but the debut of Zion Williamson, the No. 1 pick of the 2019 NBA Draft, was finally here.
Starting in his first game, he received a rousing ovation from the Pelicans' fans at the Smoothie King Center as his name was called out:
Loud cheers for Pelicans' Zion Williamson during player introductions pic.twitter.com/xLkqXb70Dz- Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) January 23, 2020
For his first NBA regular season game, Zion donned the Air Jordan XXXIV "Bayou Boys" , which are set to release in March.
After a scoreless four-minute first quarter, he banked in his first NBA field goal off of an offensive rebound, early in the second quarter.
Zion Williamson grabs the offensive rebound and lays it in for his 1st NBA bucket!- NBA (@NBA) January 23, 2020
📺: ESPN pic.twitter.com/YBpV3FFROk
He then played a combined eight minutes through the next two quarter before taking off in the final period.
In his six-minute stint in the fourth quarter, he recorded 17 points (6-8 FG's; 4-4 3P's), three rebounds, two assists and was a plus-nine in 6:37 minutes of play.
His energizing four quarter display got the arena shouting MVP for him:
Pelicans' Zion Williamson gets MVP chants after 15 straight fourth quarter points pic.twitter.com/BpgiAnbb5U- Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) January 23, 2020
After he checked out of the game, the fans wanted more:
🗣 "We want Zion!"- Bleacher Report NBA (@BR_NBA) January 23, 2020
Pelicans fans wanted Zion to finish out his incredible 4Q run. pic.twitter.com/Yngyz2ZlB8
Postgame, the rookie was gratefull for the MVP chants and the appreciation: "I'm not going to lie, that was different. I don't think I've ever gotten to that magnitude."
"I didn't have the outcome I wanted, so got to get better and move on to the next," Zion said in his postgame press conference.
"I was happy to be out there."- NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) January 23, 2020
Zion reflects on his long-awaited NBA debut. pic.twitter.com/3cdZb5COJL
The debut itself was a dream come true for Zion. He added: "It was everything I dreamed of, except the losing part. ... The energy the city brought, it was electric. I'm just grateful they did that. It was a dream come true."
In a couple of days from today, the Pelicans host the Denver Nuggets and it'll be exciting to see how Williamson wows us next.