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Like the rest of the basketball world, Zion Williamson had zero doubt that he would be the first pick in Thursday’s NBA draft.
But even with the forgone conclusion that he would realize his NBA dream, the reality of the culmination of his life’s work didn’t truly hit him until his named was called as the No. 1 pick by the New Orleans Pelicans.
Zion, mom get emotional
It made for an emotional moment for Williamson as his mother stood beside him for his post-pick interview.
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"I mean, I don't know what to say,” Williamson told ESPN. “I didn't think I would be in this position. My mom sacrificed a lot for me. I wouldn't be here without my mom. She did everything for me. I just want to thank her.”
Williamson, now choking back tears, continued to talk about his mom.
“She put her dreams aside for mine,” Williamson said. “She always looked out for family and friends before herself.”
Then the tears flowed for Williamson and his mother Sharonda Sampson.
“When you know it’s coming but — you’ve just to got to wait for it to happen,” Sampson said. “And to wait for his hard work to pay off. We’re so happy for him.
“I’ve seen somebody who believed in the process, who put in the work, who put those naysayers aside and just continued to do what we ask, and continued to believe in the process. Because of that, we’re here today.”
Williamson then talked about the reality that sinks in when shaking the hand of commissioner Adam Silver.
“Doesn’t even seen real until until I shook his hand. I dreamed about it since I was four. For it to actually happen, I just thank God for it.”
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