People have drawn comparisons between Zion Williamson and LeBron James for quite some time now, and New Orleans Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry wants it to end. 

Gentry explained to reporters why the Pelicans organization would prefer to see Williamson focus on becoming the best version of himself, instead of getting consumed by the idea that he has to live up to the expectations set forth by The King.   

"They shouldn't do that [comparing]," Gentry said, per ESPN. "We are not doing that. We are comparing Zion to Zion. We want Zion to be the best Zion Williamson that he can be. Not anybody else. We want him to be the best basketball player he can become using his name and no comparison." 

As much as Gentry would like to see that Zion doesn't have to be in James' immense shadow, the fact of the matter is that it's inescapable. There hasn't been a player coming into league as physically gifted as Williamson since LeBron. There hasn't been a player who has been touted as the savior of a struggling franchise since The King submitted his name in the 2003 draft.

Williamson will likely carve his own path in the NBA over time, but until that day comes, he will unfortunately continue to be considered the next LeBron. 

On Monday, the Pelicans will take on the Atlanta Hawks in what will be Zion's first NBA preseason game. LeBron also coincidentally made his preseason debut on this day 16 years ago. 

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