For Those Boarding the Zion Bandwagon

We always knew the Zion Williamson bandwagon would be full and we’ll find out how crowded it truly is once the wheels start turning at 8:30 tonight in front of a nationally televised audience. 

The New Orleans Pelicans have won 11 of the last 16 games and they will attempt to inch closer to the West’s eighth seed with a win at home over the San Antonio Spurs tonight. While catching up won’t be easy, the Pelicans are playing their best basketball of the season and are expected to gain a boost from their potentially transcendent young star. 

Now, not only will New Orleans be watching, the whole world is watching. While former franchise faces Chris Paul and Anthony Davis once made national attention turn their heads every once and a while to take a look at Crescent City Basketball, the city has never experienced an incoming star of this magnitude before. Even Drew Brees created his legend in New Orleans after a solid run in San Diego. While Zion has plenty to prove on the eve of his professional debut, never has a sports figure in New Orleans ever demanded this kind of global attention. 

A true product of the times, the legend of Zion began through video clips of games on social media as a high school player. Like the Dr. J of the digital era, he generated word of mouth social buzz with viral characteristics. I can remember watching highlights of ZIon as a high school sophomore on earlier versions of Snap Chat and Instagram with my wife back when we started dating. As we marveled at his 360-degree dunks, we had no idea that Zion, the possible guide to the promised land, would touchdown in New Orleans, Louisiana. 

If we are all to ride this bandwagon, let’s think of it as a train or an airplane. This journey goes through New Orleans, so naturally, first-class seating is reserved for long-time, bought in, Pelicans fans. These fans have endured the worst. Goof ups, injuries, weird luck, dissatisfied stars…you name it. These are also the people that are familiar with the team’s current state and how it got here. They’re also the people demanding that forward Brandon Ingram be recognized for his career averages in every stat category with an All-Star bid. 

Already existing Pelicans fans are also not afraid to criticize point guard Lonzo Ball and turn around and admit that the proved them wrong. They are the ones that know everything about rookies Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Jaxson Hayes. They know the odd chants and rituals of the Smoothie King Center as well. 

Next up are the fair-weathered local fans that may be on the fence about professional basketball. I get it. The Pelicans have had too many disappointing seasons, even with a guy like Davis previously, and they’ve never been established as a fun team or one that consistently wins in the regular or post-season. This is all subject to change. Welcome! Ride the lighting when it comes.  

Can you feel it now? We’re taking off. Buckle up. 

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