Zion Williamson's injury has shined a spotlight on the inherent ridiculousness of playing college basketball for top prospects. Risking injury with guaranteed millions on the line for an institution that profits off unpaid athletes is regularly and rightly given a bit of side-eye by the public. It only gets worse when a first-round talent gets hurt.
DeMarcus Cousins used his vantage point from the pros to call out the college system in its entirety and the seemingly arbitrary rules around it.
"Knowing what I know now, college basketball is bullshit,” Cousins said. "“I don’t understand the point of it. What’s the difference between 18 and 19? Or 17 and 18?"
Isaiah Thomas was equally candid. He told the top prospect to wait for the league and not risk another injury. "Zion sit yo ass down lol and we will be ready for you in the big boy league," Thomas said. "Let these kids go straight out of HS!!! Too much on the line to be messing with college if you got a legit chance to turn pro."
Thomas added that he would feel differently if college athletes were paid for their work. "If college was paying these athletes then it would be a different story but since they not let these kids go get this money if they have the chance too [sic]," he said.
Trae Young added that even if Zion is healthy, he should sit the season out and wait for the NBA.
Zion's injury was caused by a blown-out pair of Nike PG 2.5s. So, Paul George had to talk about the shoe in his next press conference. He said focusing on the shoe was not the issue and that everyone should be concerned for the young basketball star.
The shockwaves were felt outside of North Carolina and Twitter. Nike's stock lost over $1 billion in value after the very public blowout of Zion's sneakers in one of the most-watched matches of the year. Zion has been diagnosed with a high knee sprain and further information is expected after Williamson undergoes evaluations by team doctors.