Zion Williamson on re-signing with Pelicans: 'Ultimate goal is to win a championship'

Williamson, one of the most hyped, young basketball players coming out of college in recent memory, agreed to the deal worth about $ 193 million. He addressed his decision to sign the extension in a press conference on Wednesday.

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New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson shakes hands with New Orleans Pelicans head coach Willie Green with New Orleans Pelicans vice president of basketball operations David Griffin standing in the background after talking to the media about signing his contract extension at the Dryades YMCA in New Orleans, Wednesday, July 6, 2022.

New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson shakes hands with New Orleans Pelicans head coach Willie Green with New Orleans Pelicans vice president of basketball operations David Griffin standing in the background after talking to the media about signing his contract extension at the Dryades YMCA in New Orleans, Wednesday, July 6, 2022. (Max Becherer/The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate via AP)

“The last few months were a roller-coaster of emotions. The world just ran with narratives, and so when my family was going out in public, they’re getting harassed by people about why we don’t like New Orleans or why we don’t want to be here, when that’s not the case at all,” he said.

“I wasn’t able to play because my foot was broke. Every time I checked my phone it’s always something negative. Even when you’re trying to make positive of the situation, it was very tough.”

Williamson, the No. 1 overall pick of the 2019 draft, was supposed to come to the Pelicans to change the organization for the better. However, injuries hampered his career early. He said he wanted to prove he is a “winner” and wanted to do it with his teammates in New Orleans.

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FILE - New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson watches a shoot-around before Game 6 of the team's NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Phoenix Suns, April 29, 2022, in New Orleans. 

FILE – New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson watches a shoot-around before Game 6 of the team’s NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Phoenix Suns, April 29, 2022, in New Orleans.  (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

“I want to prove that I’m a winner. Simple as that. I want to win with coach. I want to win with my teammates. The ultimate goal is to win a championship,” he said. “I feel like that’s what we’re all striving for. Like [Pelicans GM David Griffin] said, we’re hungry. Y’all saw this past year what the team did. I’m just excited to add to that.”

He thanked the Pelicans organization for sticking with him and believing in him.

“Thank y’all for really sticking with me the past year. It was a tough year, and then for the Pelicans to come give this birthday gift, I’m not going to let ‘em down. I’m not going to let the city down, I’m not going to let my family down, and most of all, I’m not going to let myself down,” he said.

Williamson has only played in 85 games in three seasons, but when he was healthy, he proved just what he can bring to the table. He was an All-Star in his second season averaging 27 points, 7.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists.

Seemingly healthy, Williamson could be a huge factor in the development of the young Pelicans moving forward.

Zion Williamson #1 of the New Orleans Pelicans dribbles the ball downn court during the fourth quarter of an NBA game against the Golden State Warriors at Smoothie King Center on May 04, 2021 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Zion Williamson #1 of the New Orleans Pelicans dribbles the ball downn court during the fourth quarter of an NBA game against the Golden State Warriors at Smoothie King Center on May 04, 2021 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

New Orleans made the playoffs after getting the eighth seed in the play-in tournament. Though the team lost to the Phoenix Suns, New Orleans took two games from them. When adding Williamson to a team with C.J. McCollum, Brandon Ingram, Jonas Valanciunas and Herb Jones, the team may be competing for something higher than a sixth seed.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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