Zion Williamson dunked a basketball so hard it broke the rim.
The New Orleans Pelicans rookie and no.1 pick in the 2019 NBA draft, playing in the Rising Stars Challenge during All-Star Weekend in Chicago, caught a lob from no.2 pick Ja Morant and crammed it with such authority the backboard was visibly out of kilter.
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Williamson, a 19-year-old phenom weighing in at 129 kilos and 198cm, boasts a combination of size and athleticism that conjures visions of some kind of hybrid of Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal.
That athleticism was on full display in the Rising Stars Challenge, and Williamson threw down dunk after dunk for Team USA in their exhibition match against Team World.
An official had to re-adjust the backboard during half-time - much to the amusement of NBA fans across the world.
Almost everyone was in awe of Williamson’s sheer power.
"There's your rim. It's been Zion'd" 😂 pic.twitter.com/uSMAi8WEJY— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) February 15, 2020
The first half of the Rising Stars game at the United Center was all about the Zion Williamson and Ja Morant connection.— Chicago Tribune Sports (@ChicagoSports) February 15, 2020
The second half is now under way. pic.twitter.com/3gSJHwtTP1
February 2019: Zion Williamson dents a basketball with his fingers— Tyler Conway (@jtylerconway) February 15, 2020
February 2020: Zion Williamson bends a rim on a dunk
Superheroes are real
In case you had not realized this, Zion Williamson is a Martian who traveled to that planet from Proxima Centauri B or something. How he got here? No idea.— Vincent Frank (@VincentFrankNFL) February 15, 2020
Zion Williamson's last dunk made the basket look crooked, guys. This is ridiculous.— Evan Barnes (@evan_b) February 15, 2020
Ja and Zion are out here acting like a family reunion. Cutting up
Q: Did Zion Williamson dunk so hard he tilted the rim/backboard?— Henry Bushnell (@HenryBushnell) February 15, 2020
A: Well, a few arena staffers had to fix it at halftime... pic.twitter.com/EvltHJ6fjs
There was a poetic element to the triumphant slam, as Williamson caught the lob from Morant, who he had played alongside at AAU level before both progressed to college basketball and then the NBA.
Williamson wasn’t the only dunk machine on Team USA, with Charlotte Hornets guard Miles Bridges getting in on the action in the second half with a monstrous alley-oop to himself off the backboard.
Bridges was Rising Stars MVP for his efforts, finishing with 20 points, five rebounds and five assists.
Team USA toppled Team World 151-131.