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Zion Williamson Broke the Internet, Again

The viral sensation made his college debut last night

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November 8, 2018

Though Duke has assembled the most talented freshman class in a generation, no prospect competing for the Blue Devils this year approaches the fame of freshman forward Zion Williamson. Williamson—whose viral dunk highlights lifted him to a staggering 1.8M Instagram followers, a cool million more than Duke's basketball program account—made his formal debut last night against Kentucky, and it defied every reasonable expectation.

Duke's four-star freshman outscored power program Kentucky 86 to 84, and the final score, 118 to 94, suggested a pace more befitting the NBA than college. In a college hoops landscape bereft of long-lasting star power, Zion's memorable debut made the sport the main event on a night where the NBA and NFL were both in season, which is something that hasn't happened in… forever.

 

Bill Simmons, a longtime college basketball cynic, called Williamson "one of the best athletes I've ever seen on a basketball court," and if you're getting Bill Simmons to weigh in on college hoops in early November, something special is happening. Williamson's highlights just look different, and the mania surrounding him scratches at something bigger than individual games, wins and losses. Williamson might be basketball's first organically grown social media star—just how high can his star go?