Zion Williamson was made for the All-Star weekend environment. Given his explosiveness and the lax defensive attitude most players bring to every game, highlights are virtually a guarantee. He provided plenty of them. While his alley-oop connection with Ja Morant came up several times, his most incredible play came on a solo dunk.
Late in the second quarter, Trae Young hit Zion with an entry pass. With nobody standing between him and the basket, Williamson slammed the ball home unimpeded. At first glance, the dunk looks almost pedestrian by his standards.
But look a bit closer. Pay particular attention to the backboard.
Williamson is so strong and so explosive that he actually managed to bend the backboard with the force of his dunk. Not since Shaquille O’Neal broke backboards in the early 1990s has a player managed to inflict such punishment upon the court itself. But then, this shouldn’t be a surprise. Williamson has been ruining game equipment since college. He blew out one of his shoes when he played at Duke. The backboard was ultimately repaired and the game resumed after halftime.
Sadly, Williamson won’t be participating in Saturday’s Dunk Contest, but based on his performance tonight, anything more might just be overkill. He and former AAU teammate Ja Morant are putting on an absolute show for the fans in Chicago.
At 285 pounds, Williamson is one of the NBA‘s heaviest players despite his relatively pedestrian 6-6 height. His strength has caused major issues for opposing players already. Backboards were not built to handle someone that strong. Tonight’s game could force the NBA to re-evaluate the baskets that they use. Williamson might just be too explosive for the court as currently constructed. He is truly one of a kind.