Why Zion Williamson vs. Ja Morant is the next great NBA rivalry

Nick Ashooh
NBC Sports Washington
Zion Williamson has been the biggest star in college basketball this season, but Ja Morant is proving he can be his rival.

Why Zion Williamson vs. Ja Morant is the next great NBA rivalry

Zion Williamson has been the biggest star in college basketball this season, but Ja Morant is proving he can be his rival.

Why Zion Williamson vs. Ja Morant is the next great NBA rivalry originally appeared on nbcsportswashington.com

Everyone knows the name Zion Williamson. He's grown bigger than college basketball, whether you like it or not.

But the beauty of March is not in the Goliath, but the Davids; a chance to stand on the top pedestal and garner the attention they deserve.

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Enter, Ja Morant. A star in his own right and the future rival of Duke phenom Williamson, who just so happened to grab your attention with a triple-double in No. 12 seed Murray State's first round over No. 5 seed Marquette.

Now, I'm not sure whether "Ja vs. Zion" has a nice ring to it, or sounds more like a bad, low-budget superhero movie on SyFy. "As the evil Ruler of All Attention, King Zion tries to hold on to his reign of college basketball, while Ja, the leader of underdogs and hero of The State of Murray, looks to dethrone the mighty ruler and take his place as leader of the Madness of March realm".

Ugh, yeah it's definitely a bad movie title, but also on it's way to being a great rivalry in the NBA. 

Zion will likely go No. 1 overall, and Ja should be No. 2.

From highlight dunks like this...

Or quotes from NBA MVP's like this from Steph Curry..

That transition to the NBA isn't going to be difficult at all for him

Morant is showing this isn't just a one-star NBA Draft coming this summer.

First, think of the storylines. "Superstar from basketball powerhouse against a small-school player with a chip on his shoulder".  That's what made Manning vs. Brady great for years (except for the whole small school thing, just replace that with "late round draft pick". You get the idea).

Imagine these two in the dunk contest next year, rebuilding interest among bored NBA fans. HINT: this is where you insert that wide eyes emoji for extra emphasis.

If "Zion vs. Ja" (okay, it's starting to sound better already) is a matchup of the No. 1 and No. 2 overall picks, every game is a comparison of the two. Every matchup is one trying to show up the other. Every postgame interview is about how their new rival played and what it means for their future in the NBA. 

Oh, and FYI: Zion and Ja played on the same AAU team.

Can't make this stuff up folks. 

Neither Williamson nor Morant is afraid of the spotlight. In fact, they both embrace it. They also embrace the responsibilities that come with it, which is why the two seem destined for stardom at the next level.

Right now "Zion vs. Ja" or "Ja vs. Zion" may sound like a bad movie title, but soon it'll be the next great rivalry in the NBA, and it has all the storylines to guarantee it being a box office hit. 

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