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You Tube Gold: The Physics Of Zion

The good and the potentially bad

Miami Heat v New Orleans Pelicans
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - MARCH 06: Zion Williamson #1 of the New Orleans Pelicans drives against Derrick Jones Jr. #5 of the Miami Heat during the second half at the Smoothie King Center on March 06, 2020 in New Orleans, Louisiana. 
Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

We didn't see this when it came out: it’s a clear explanation from ESPN of just how Zion Williamson does what he does, how he manages to push 280 lbs four feet into the air among other extraordinary feats.

They bring in Peter Weyand, a professor of physiology and biomechanics to discuss it along with physical therapist Stephania Bell, who talks about what happens when 280 lbs then drops four feet back to earth. That much mass falling from that height needs to be controlled. It’s a reasonable point.

The Pelicans, you may recall, are trying to retrain Williamson from the ground up to avoid injuries that are, well, avoidable.

It’s hard to imagine the amount of force he has to apply to get so far off the ground and it’s understandable that people focus on it.

As impressive as it is, the really unique thing is coupling his world-class athleticism with a world-class basketball IQ. We used to say that there were dozens of guys with Michael Jordan’s level of talent but only one with his relentless focus. With Williamson it’s a bit different because literally no one has had his size and talent much less combined it with his intelligence for the game.