It may be hard to believe that Zion Williamson needed help getting people’s attention, but the number one pick in the 2019 NBA Draft credits Drake for making most of the world aware of his name. Williamson recalled Drake’s early fandom during a recent conversation with sportscaster Ernie Johnson.
Zion had long since been a viral sensation prior to his commitment to Duke in 2018. The 6’6″ forward wracked up millions upon millions of views thanks to his explosive athleticism and more specifically, his mind-boggling dunks. Still, Williamson insists it wasn’t until Drake wore his high school jersey that the majority of the world started to pay attention.
“I think he posted it like late at night,” Zion said of Drake wearing his number 12 Spartanburg Day School jersey in January of 2017. “I woke up that morning, I woke up to just crazy notifications on my phone. For a second, I was like, ‘Did something happen? Something bad happen?’ But no, I went to Instagram, my text messages, everybody was saying, ‘Go look at what Drake posted. Go look at what Drake posted.’ I found it, and I was just like, ‘Man, this is crazy.’ Because whether people know it or not, Drake posted that pic of me, or wearing my jersey, before most of the world knew me.”
After high school, Williamson went on to excel in the NCAA at Duke. Following one season, he was selected first overall in the 2019 NBA Draft by the New Orleans Pelicans. Before ever playing in an official NBA game, Zion signed the largest annual sneaker deal for a rookie in league history.
You can hear the 19-year-old phenom discussing Drake’s early support below.