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Zion Williamson writes poetry in his spare time.
On "The Old Man & the Three," the Pelicans star said he took a creative writing class in high school.
He told JJ Redick that, after his initial doubt, he's embraced poetry as a way to express himself.
Zion Williamson is one of the brightest young stars in the NBA.
He's also a poet - all 6-foot-7, 284 pounds of him.
The New Orleans Pelicans superstar - known for his other-worldly vertical leap that betrays his large frame - made a guest appearance on JJ Redick's "The Old Man & the Three" podcast this week. During the course of conversation with his veteran Pelicans teammate, Williamson revealed that he's taken to writing poetry as a way to express himself and sort through his emotions.
"I'll be in my room sometimes, and I'll just type up a poem," Williamson said. "That was a way I could express myself without always having to be out in the public."
Williamson said his somewhat surprising interest in the art form originated a few years ago. He took a creative writing course during his senior year of high school at Spartanburg Day School in Spartanburg, South Carolina when he was at the height of his highly-publicized and closely-watched college recruiting process. Understandably, Williamson's focus was not always devoted to his course work. And that was especially true when it came to the creative writing class, which he took because it "was an available class for the time slot."
"I remember I'd go in his class, and I'd kinda write just to get the passing grade," Williamson said. "And this teacher, Mr. Pell, he was such a great guy and really knew his stuff about sports. Just a kind guy through and through. One day he came to me, and he was like, 'Alright, Z, I want you to actually try... For me, I want you to talk about something real about you.'"
Already a celebrity with more than a million Instagram followers at this point, Williamson was reluctant to invest his time and energy into creative writing. But Mr. Pell was persistent, and the megawatt star eventually relented.
Williamson recalled sitting down in his home when inspiration struck. After speaking on the phone with a college coach, he couldn't help but think, "man, this is stressful." So he decided to write about it.
"In my poem, I wrote about two people," Williamson said. "One, you got a guy that ... he flies. He can't do any wrong. Wherever he goes, people love him. He gets pictures. People just want to be around him. Wouldn't you want to be that guy?"
"Alright, now let's talk about guy number two," he continued. "He can't say no to a picture because if he says no, that person's gonna make him feel bad, or they're gonna feel bad because they feel like they're never going to be in that situation [again]. Or if I tell one person yeah, you have to tell the other person yeah as well, because you feel like you're picking favorites. You gotta be able to pick a school while letting other coaches know that you don't want to go there."
"I pretty much talked about all the cons of being in the limelight at such a young age," Williamson added. "And then, at the end, I was like 'Now what if I told you that was the same guy. How would you feel?'"
Mr. Pell was impressed, Williamson said, and he wasn't the only one. Redick smiled and told his sophomore teammate that his story was "actually really deep, man."
"We got f------ 'Finding Forrester' over here," Redick joked.
Check out the full clip of Williamson's story below:
—TheOldMan&TheThree (@OldManAndThree) March 3, 2021
Read the original article on Insider