The internet had another one of its “freak-out” moments when Zion Williamson seemingly called out Pelicans’ star Anthony Davis for refusing to give him an autograph when he was younger. Turns out, it was just another media miss-fire.
Here is how the media first presented Zion’s statement:
“I try to sign every kid’s autograph,” the South Carolina resident said as a 16-year-old on the documentary. “I don’t want to turn a little kid down because I know it will hurt them because it hurt me. Anthony Davis, John Wall turned me down. So I try to sign everybody’s.”
— SportsGossip.com (@sportsgossip) May 21, 2019
It sounded like Zion used a previous experience to explain why he tries to sign every autograph he can. John Wall and A.D. turned him down, and he does not want to cause that same heartbreak for kids who want his own autograph. Considering Davis is the star of the team Zion is likely to be drafted to in June, it was quite a story.
After some deliberating, some additional context by the reporters, and a statement by Williamson himself, however, the public is realizing they completely misquoted the statement.
The tweets about John Wall turning down a young Zion Williamson for an autograph seem to have misquoted him. Also, this is more in line with what I’ve seen from Wall over the years. I’ve seen him sign a lot of autographs in a lot of different settings. https://t.co/c2Vyn2Ey7N
— Chase Hughes (@ChaseHughesNBCS) May 21, 2019
You can hear Zion say “It would hurt me IF someone like Anthony Davis John Wall turned me down” https://t.co/qUg3TzFh9o
— Darren M. Haynes (@DarrenMHaynes) May 21, 2019
Some context on Zion Williamson/Anthony Davis/John Wall autograph story being rehashed: Williamson has never met Davis or Wall, per source close to him. Neither snubbed him. Williamson was providing analogy using athletes he looked up to in high school, on why he signs for kids.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) May 21, 2019
Zion said “if John Wall and Anthony Davis turned me down,” meaning he was simply using the two stars as an analogy to prove his point. The fact that he mentions Davis here is actually a nod of admiration to the big fella.
So, do not let this story fool you. Zion Williamson was not turned down autographs by John Wall or Anthony Davis (at least, as far as we know), and Pelicans fans can rest easy knowing their soon-to-be young star looks up to the only other star that franchise has known in years.