Zion Williamson and LeBron James Are the Rivalry Basketball Fans Deserve

Stephen Douglas
LeBron James and Zion Williamson embrace before the Pelicans - Lakers game.
LeBron James and Zion Williamson embrace before the Pelicans - Lakers game. / Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images
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LeBron James and Zion Williamson had a pretty nice little duel on Sunday night on ESPN. The Los Angeles Lakers, without Anthony Davis, beat the New Orleans Pelicans, 122-114. James and Williamson both had great games.

LeBron was nearly flawless, scoring 34 points on 14-of-21 shooting to go along with 13 assists and 12 rebounds. His one big mistake was forgetting how official basketball games work as he started to dribble the ball up the court instead of pass the ball inbounds after a lengthy replay review.

As for Zion. Yeesh. The kid is 19 years old and he tried to go toe-to-toe with LeBron James on ESPN and he outscored him. Zion finished with 35 points on 14 of 21 field goal attempts. He was an absolute beast inside, getting to the rim at will. He was absorbing contact and going through full-grown adult veteran defenders like Dwight Howard and JaVale McGee like he was still in high school. You know, like he actually was two years ago.

On Saturday night, LeBron and Ja Morant exchanged jerseys via courier. After tonight's game McGee asked Zion for his jersey. Zion did not request McGee's in return. This will be a a talking point on Monday.

More importantly Zion and LeBron are getting to know each other. After their first meeting we found out it was literally their first meeting. Now the pair have stared each other down twice and are starting to get to know one another. After the game, while McGee waited for his souvenir, the two shared a moment.

It is completely understandable based on the actual front runners, but it still seems insane that these guys are not the MVP and Rookie of the Year. Assuming LeBron does not continue to play at this level for another decade (though we can't completely dismiss that idea until we see a decline), it is officially a shame that these two missed each other's primes. It's like Godzilla versus ... Godzilla with an offense built around him.

LeBron and Zion are two unique physical specimens. LeBron is John Stockton in Karl Malone's body. Zion Williamson may be unlike anyone ever. One has perfected the game and the other has barely been introduced to it. They are both so fun to watch for so many reasons, but seeing them go against each other, even for a few seconds at a time is fascinating. Even when they aren't even guarding each other, just watching them do basketball things concurrently is incredible.

Imagine that for an entire seven-game series. Sure, it will probably only last four or five games, but can you imagine a more epic first round sweep? LeBron's potential has been reached. Zion's seems limitless. The Pelicans are fun. The Lakers are good. Together they play fun, good games. We need another opportunity - or four - to appreciate these two generational athletes.

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