With 3:51 to go in Duke's anticipated game against Texas Tech at Madison Square Garden on Thursday night, Zion Williamson was whistled while spinning towards what was likely to be another addition to an ever-expanding highlight reel. He had fouled out, but the No. 2 ranked Blue Devils cruised to a 69-58 win.
It was ugly, but the atmosphere of the venue was something Zion isn't likely to forget. Neither will New Yorkers. His comments after the game should give Knicks fans fits up until next year's draft. "Forty-one games at [Madison Square] Garden, I mean, it would probably be incredible," the likely future first overall pick said following the win.
His equally prized teammate, R.J. Barrett, was also enthused by MSG. "It was amazing," he said. "Electric crowd."
Despite the unusually lackluster performance from Zion, he managed glimpses of his aerial exploits in front of Knicks president, Steve Mills, as well as Jimmy Butler, Trae Young, Knicks rookie Kevin Knox and point guard Emmanuel Mudiay, who were all spotted at the game.
Zion even played coy afterwards, asking R.J. if he'd want to be a Knick before coming clean about how excited playing 41 games at the Garden each year would be.
Like Carmelo Anthony, Zion idolizes a former Knick many contemporary fans weren't alive to see knocking down his patented turnaround J from the left block. "This is the Garden," Williamson said. "My favorite great to come through here was probably Bernard King because my stepdad talked about him a lot how he just put the ball in the basket...I had to go watch his highlights. He could really score the basketball. He was incredible how he did it."
Zion capped off his MSG love with the understatement of the year. "Playing 41 games here wouldn't be so bad," he said. Knicks fans more than agree.