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Zion Williamson's Mental Health A Concern Amid Recent Pressures

Fans expressed a concern for Zion Williamson's mental health amid the recent commentary regarding his off-the-court news.

Zion Williamson mentioned his connection with the Notorious BIG "Ready to Die" album during the Pelicans Media Day in Sept. 2022.  The concerns from fans regarding his mental health may have been an overreaction, but are well-grounded.   Williamson's alleged "cryptic" posting of the album's lyrics on his Instagram account had several fans expressing concern for the Pelicans' big man.   "Is Zion ok?  This post is a little concerning," and  "Hoping he's doing well," were examples of fans respecting Zion's mental health well being.

Williamson's life has been polarizing since New Orleans drafted him out of Duke in 2019.  A recent barrage of sports articles, videos, podcasts, and social media postings preach about his on and off-the-court struggles.  Most are off-base and rarely consider the effects of trashing a 23-year-old could have on his psyche.  Many cannot relate to the trials and tribulations of a young man's life who will soon become a father amid the drama from a likely ex-lover. 

Zion Williamson


"It's hard, man," Zion told Gilbert Arenas and his co-hosts.  "I'm 20, 22, have all the money in the feels like all the money in the world."  Handling daily life's expectations can be difficult for any person.  In Williamson's case, following the Anthony Davis trade, Williamson was considered the franchise's Savior — it has yet to work out as planned.  Why?  The injuries.

"I'm at that point now because of certain things; I'm putting back the wisdom around me.  I don't want to say older because they get defensive, but I'm putting people around me with wisdom.  [Who] put me on game to certain things.  And just go from there."

I recall being in my early to mid-twenties.  There was an air of invincibility. Zion is not any different. 

New Orleans' executive vice president of basketball operations, David Griffin, said in an interview with Heavy Sports about Williamson:  “He’s got incredible potential to be sort of game-changing for even the league as a whole.  But at the same time the volatility around the injury situation has been really severe.  So at this point it’s going to be a function of how can we get him in the best place to succeed, and what’s he willing to do to ensure that happens?  And I think right now his head’s in the right place, and we’ll just have to hope for the best.”

Charles Barkley shared the wisdom Moses Malone gave to him about handling his weight issues.  Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and Lebron James have laid out a blueprint.  As young stars in the NBA, they invested in their bodies with the proper nutrition and a demanding workout regimen to help withstand the poundings they received each season.     

Williamson is under immense pressure.  Thus, mental-health checks are important.  Being a top draft pick, who stands 6-6, 284 pounds, and only playing in 114 NBA games your first four seasons, you'll have to understand the scrutiny.  It's another element of the game, especially for superstars.  How Zion responds — mentally and health-wise — is now in his hands.  We shall see.