CHICAGO — It didn’t take long for Zion Williamson to make a lasting impression at the NBA Rising Stars Challenge on Friday night.
The New Orleans Pelicans rookie star caught several highlight-reel alley-oops that left the crowd in awe shortly before halftime.
The dunks also appeared to temporarily damage some equipment in the process.
After an alley-oop connection from Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant at the 1:34 mark of the second quarter, the backboard was visibly shaking. By the time Trae Young found Williamson for another thunderous slam with 1:09 remaining, the backboard wasn’t only shaking — it was left tilted.
“There’s your rim. It’s been Zion’d” 😂 pic.twitter.com/uSMAi8WEJY
ZION REALLY TILTED THE WHOLE HOOP 😳 pic.twitter.com/Vh4HFIx1kV
Williamson then caught a between-the-legs alley-oop from Morant to send the crowd into a frenzy. As the teams went into halftime following a Luka Doncic half-court 3-pointer with one second left, the backboard was still tilted.
The backboard was readjusted at halftime by Spaulding, a person familiar with the situation told USA TODAY Sports. They were granted anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on the matter.
Q: Did Zion Williamson dunk so hard he tilted the rim/backboard?
A: Well, a few arena staffers had to fix it at halftime… pic.twitter.com/EvltHJ6fjs
Williamson, whose size (6-6, 285 lbs) and power helped make him the No. 1 pick last summer, had 10 points in the first half to pace the U.S. team against Doncic’s World team.
Follow Scott Gleeson on Twitter @ScottMGleeson.
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