His mouth said one thing, but his face said another thing. 

By Dan Gartland
December 21, 2018

His mouth said one thing but his face said another thing

Lance King/Getty Images

Duke highlight machine Zion Williamson got his first taste of Madison Square Garden on Thursday night in a 69–58 win over Texas Tech. Because Williamson is so obviously leaving for the NBA after this season and because the Knicks are so obviously tanking for the No. 1 pick in hopes of having the opportunity to select him, so much of the conversation before and after the game was about the possibility of Zion playing for the Knicks.

Here’s what he said:

“If they draft me, I'd love to play for the Knicks. I don’t really care where I go. Just the experience of being in the NBA, whoever wants me and whoever sees the most in me, that’s where I want to be.”

“Forty-one games at the Garden, I mean, it would probably be incredible,” Williamson added.

But here’s what his face looked like when he was asked the question:

@MikeAScotto/Twitter

So, yeah, he’s probably not entirely thrilled about the idea of playing for the Knicks. Sure, New York is a cool place to live and the Garden can be an electric environment for a basketball game. But the Knicks are also the Browns of the NBA and Kristaps Porzingis hasn’t proven to be their Baker Mayfield yet.

There’s probably something else at play as well, though. Williamson is only 18 and still six months away from the NBA draft. His life has already changed considerably since going to college and it will only change more dramatically once he’s drafted. I’d bet that the idea of playing for an NBA team—any NBA team—is still tough to wrap his head around.

Of course, Zion won’t actually get to choose where he goes, which is great for Knicks fans but not so great for him. 

You’ll never see a more emotional postgame speech

W.T. Johnston, the head football coach in the small East Texas town of Newton, didn’t think he would live through the end of the season. He contracted graft-versus-host disease in 2015 after a double lung transplant and was given eight months to live earlier this year. His team captured the Texas Class 3A Division championship Thursday night with a win over Canadian High School, a team from way up in the panhandle.

“I told them last night—we talked about it, they were talking about wanting to win for me,” Johnson said. “This is their time. I’ve had my time. This is these kids’ time. This is all for them. I told them do it for your teammates, do it for you. Because 50 years from now, this will be something they can always, they’ll always remember this.”

This story is going to be weird

Every source imaginable has Kings guard Buddy Hield’s birthday listed as Dec. 17, 1993. But Hield says that’s not accurate. His real birthday is Dec. 17, 1992. He says all his official documents—his driver’s license, his Bahamian passport—list the 1992 date, though every NBA source lists 1993. I’m going to trust Hield knows when he was born, so the question becomes, how did the NBA get it wrong? Were the Pelicans aware of this when they drafted him sixth overall two years ago? Was New Orleans aware when it traded him to the Kings in Feb. 2017? Something’s not right.

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ESPN went behind the scenes with the guy who adjusts players’ Madden ratings. ... A Marine veteran who wore the same Nationals hat for 18 years and survived four IED explosions while wearing it tried everything to get it back after throwing on the ice for a hat trick. ... Billy Crystal is going to do commentary on a Clippers-Lakers game. ... Novak Djokovic said some wild stuff about “telepathy” and “a higher vibration of understanding.”

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Not sports

A South African jazz musician played his guitar while doctors operated on his brain. ... Friday is the winter solstice and will also feature a full moon and a meteor shower. ... A German man submitted a request for all the data Amazon harvested through his Alexa and was horrified by what he found. 

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Programming note

I will be ceding control of Hot Clicks to a rotating cast of characters until Jan. 3. They’ll all do a great job, but due to holiday scheduling Clicks may go up a little later in the day than you’re used to. 

A good song

Email dan.gartland@simail.com with any feedback or follow me on Twitter for approximately one half-decent baseball joke per week. Bookmark this page to see previous editions of Hot Clicks and find the newest edition every day. By popular request I’ve made a Spotify playlist of the music featured here. Visit our Extra Mustard page throughout each day for more offbeat sports stories.

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