How Naruto Helped Zion Williamson Through the Toughest Year of His Career

The pressure he feels has nothing to do with his ability as a player. “I think I’m just worried about my friends and family,” he said. “They feel the effect of that way more than I do. People approach them differently, trying to take everything from them… I hate that. “

That’s when he Naruto fandom become something more totemic. “For a while, no one took Naruto seriously,” he explained, “And then he went and trained with [master shinobi] Jiraiya for three years, right? And he came back at 16, damn it.” The plot reminds Williamson of his years as a coach by his stepfather, Lee Anderson. He considers Anderson taking him under his wing as perhaps the most important moment of his life.

Anderson told Williamson he could become the number one player in the country if he worked hard enough. “He always told me that even if I hadn’t realized it, there would come a time when the whole world would see me,” Williamson said. “I didn’t understand it for a while. I always ask him why he trusts me so much.” However, in the end, he worked so hard that it was undeniable: “Sure, I was 16 years old and suddenly all the attention started to fall. I remember thinking, Yo, that’s crazy. That’s exactly when it happened to Naruto, and that’s when it happened to me.

One of the most reliable conventions of shōnen storytelling is the training round. There is a point in every shōnen hero’s journey where they must face an enemy (or rite of passage) they have not yet been able to overcome. It’s often a matter of fact – they need to open up a new level of their power – but, importantly, there’s always an underlying emotion to it. It’s never just that they haven’t mastered a complex jutsu, or haven’t been able to reach their next level of Super Saiyan. Those are the things that symbolize the real enemy: fear, or an inflated ego, or a lack of self-belief.

The failure gave way to an extended training period. Our hero works. They have a mountain scale. Do a push-up with your hands off the branch. Training in a hyperbolic time capsule compresses an entire year of training into a single 24 hour. Most importantly, they come back changed. New powers unlocked, sure, but also metamorphosis inside. Egos are checked. Self-belief is rejuvenated. Courage is understood not as the absence of fear but as the will to act in spite of it.

We can’t discuss Williamson without mentioning the final year of his career, to say the least, was turbulent. Before the start of the 21-22 NBA season, Williamson broke his leg, the most serious setback in his young career due to injury. Rehabilitation proved difficult, and eventually it became evident that he would not be on the field with his New Orleans Pelicans teammates for the duration of the season.

Speculation is rampant: pundits and fans alike wonder if he’s looking forward to playing on the team, or if he’s the first player in NBA history to refuse a max rookie extension or not, will he prove to be one of the most significant bankruptcies in NBA draft history. Much of the talk focused uncomfortably on his size. How Naruto Helped Zion Williamson Through the Toughest Year of His Career

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