Some NBA players critical of NBA, NCAA after Williamson injury

North Carolina Duke Basketball

Duke's Zion Williamson sits on the floor following a injury during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against North Carolina in Durham, N.C., Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)


Sports Writer

Thursday, February 21, 2019

DURHAM — It was the busted shoe heard ‘round the world on Wednesday night. 

Only 36 seconds into No. 1 Duke’s rivalry game with No. 8 North Carolina at Cameron Indoor Stadium, Williamson’s night — and his left shoe — went up in flames, his left foot bursting through his Nike sneaker while trying to plant with the ball. 

The final result was a short sigh of relief — only a mild knee sprain, confirmed Mike Krzyzewski after the 88-72 loss to the Tar Heels. 

But the big picture situation, that, in a game attended by Barack Obama, Spike Lee, and others, where some people paid the several thousand-dollar price of admission, Williamson could have suffered a more serious injury and jeopardized his multi-million dollar worth while playing for no financial compensation, became a spark plug on Twitter immediately after the injury. 

Many NBA players weighed in. 

“If they not tryna pay these college athletes then the nba should let them come straight outta HS. 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,” tweeted Denver Nuggets guard Isaiah Thomas. 

Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell made a similar point, bringing up the ticket prices for the game in the secondary market. 

“Again let’s remember all the money that went into this game.... and these players get none of it.... and now Zion gets hurt... something has to change,” Mitchell tweeted, tagging the NCAA’s account. 

Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young expressed agreement with Mitchell’s sentiment, also tweeting that, “Zion Need To Chill Out The Rest Of Season...”

Young, as a freshman last season at Oklahoma, experienced similar attention to Williamson this season, though on a smaller scale. 

There were also plenty of get-well-soon messages, including one from Obama, who witnessed the freak accident from his baseline seat. 

Former Duke player and NBA All-Star Carlos Boozer, misguided as it may have been, was intent on wishing Williamson a quick recovery as well, though he ended up tagging a national park instead. 

UPDATE: Boozer tagged the correct account in a later tweet.