The former Duke player was out for the previous part of the season with a right knee injury.
"I want him to be excited, and he is excited," Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said to Yahoo Sports ahead of Zion's debut. "This is this kid’s lifelong dream since he was 4 years old. Everybody wants to be an NBA guy. And to be an NBA guy and be the first pick, it’s mind-boggling. It really is. The thing I said to him, you’ve done it, you’re there. Enjoy it. Enjoy the moment, enjoy it."
After starting of slow, Zion came alive in the fourth quarter at Smoothie King Center. Fans even started chanting "MVP."
ESPN's Mark Jackson was criticized by some for questioning Zion's weight early in the game.
After the game, Gentry spoke to reporters about Zion. "I think what you saw there is a taste of what... once we really get settled in and he gets settled in I think you can see... there's a lot of potential there," he said.
Check out more reactions and commentary to Zion's first regular season NBA game below.
Zion finished out the game with 7 rebounds, 3 assists, and 22 points. He played for 18 minutes.
The Pelicans lost to the Spurs with a final score of 117-121.