Zion Williamson is known for his physicality more than his artistry in basketball; his dunks have developed a cult following, and his sheer strength and physical dominance is overwhelming.
Since that’s the only part of the Zion Williamson experience known to most, the concept of Williamson as a skilled artist in any form may seem out of place. Now one of his high school teachers is telling the public that it shouldn’t be.
In this terrific Williamson profile by ESPN’s Mina Kimes, Williamson’s creative writing teacher Bill Pell, of Spartanburg (S.C.) Day School, says that Williamson was skeptical when starting with poetry, but quickly blossomed into one of his more accomplished pupils.
“I hope he won’t mind me saying this, but he’s a hell of a poet,” Pell told Kimes. “The kid can write. he says with a chuckle. “Early on, I said, ‘Do you know what you want to do, Zion?’ He said, ‘I’m not sure.’ He wasn’t 100 percent comfortable — he was feeling his way into the class.
“He’d give them to me – he was very cautious. I began making suggestions. Then all he did was write poems … and the deeper we got into the year, the more complicated and sophisticated they became. They were remarkable.”
Were they as remarkable as his open court dunks? It’s hard to tell. We haven’t seen them. But the person who has seen them, and all of them, insists they weren’t a mere prop or sideline en route to Williamson’s graduation.
“I said, ‘Zion … you’re going to be as good a writer as you are a basketball player if you follow through on this,'” Pell told Kimes.