The sporting world collectively held its breath on Wednesday night when 18-year-old Zion Williamson busted through his Nike shoe while planting his foot less than a minute into Duke’s rivalry matchup against the University of North Carolina in Durham.
Williamson has led a class at Duke that features three freshman projected to be selected in the first five picks of the NBA Draft. Luckily, initial thoughts of a longterm knee injury were ruled out the next day and Williamson can likely return to the floor for the Blue Devils shortly.
But should he?
The famous exploded shoe reignited controversial questions about whether or not college athletes should get a piece of the revenue they generate for their schools and whether or not 18-year-old basketball players should be forced to attend college for a season before turning pro.
To know Williamson belongs at the highest level of the sport, one simply needs to look at his monstrous 6-7, 285-pound frame. He has utterly dominated college basketball’s top conference and makes Duke the clear favorite to cut down the nets after March Madness.
I have always viewed the one-and-done rule and the ability to build teams such as the current Duke squad or a number of dominant Kentucky rosters over the years as the biggest threat to college basketball. If a player is simply too good for the level he plays in, it degrades the natural competition that the fans want to see from the games and tournaments. When multiple top members of a single recruiting class decide to team up together, such as Williamson did with R.J. Barrett and Cam Reddish, it becomes a little insulting.
According to Coach Mike Krzyzewski, Williamson has the desire to return and finish out his one year at Duke. However, there is still no time table for his return. While I certainly hope he is one hundred percent good to go, I cannot help but wish he ultimately decides to shut it down and prepare for his NBA career for the sake of himself and that of a more competitive postseason in March.
If it were me, I would not step onto another basketball court until I was being compensated for my incredible services. Wednesday’s wild busted shoe should scare Williamson when he thinks about his potential in the NBA.
In one of the more bizarre stories I have seen of late, New England Patriots Owner Robert Kraft was charged with soliciting a prostitute in Florida on the morning of January’s AFC Championship between the Patriots and Chiefs, which took place in Kansas City later that evening.
Kraft was apparently videotaped receiving sexual services at a massage parlor in Jupiter around 11 a.m. and handing over money afterwards. Officials stated this was the second time he was seen soliciting a prostitute in a 24-hour period. On Monday, he was charged with two misdemeanor counts of first-degree solicitation.
The potential penalty upon a conviction is a year in jail, a $5,000 fine, 100 hours of community service and attendance in a human trafficking dangers class.
But Kraft’s name has already been dragged through the mud and convicted in the court of public opinion. I do not necessarily disagree with this, but I think people are missing the bigger picture here. It seems that we do not see the same passion when condemning the dangers of human trafficking as we do when condemning the actions of Kraft. Some even seem to think he is solely responsible for human trafficking in America and that he has been orchestrating this intricate sex ring along with two professional athletic organizations. Social media is littered with those of the opinion that the NFL, which is constantly criticized for not being progressive in controversial situations, should take some sort of swift action against the New England owner.
It is sort of like the old saying: Kraft is a symptom, not the disease. Whatever happens in court will happen, but what can the NFL do? Is what Robert Kraft did, as disgusting and offensive as it was to many, as bad as when Indianapolis Colts Owner Jim Irsay was arrested for drug abuse in 2014? That is for the individual to decide on their own, but it seems like a similar situation. Both were wrong, both should be fined.