Zion Williamson's debut was treated as the Second Coming. ESPN's top crew was summoned. Ancillary coverage sprouted forth from every corner of the media world. The NBA's newest, largest adult son already has the weight of mighty expectations on his shoulders.
Billed as a generational talent, he has to fulfill a destiny that includes championships and buoying the league's relevance for at least one decade to come. One understands all the hoopla.
One also understands why ESPN's crew of Dave Pasch, Mark Jackson, and Jeff Van Gundy had to bring up the elephant in the room. The dark cloud to the silver lining. The fly in the ointment.
This much-salivated debut didn't come on schedule. It took place in late January because the No. 1 pick the draft was sidelined until now with the second serious injury in his young career. The trio didn't have to address Williamson's mass, but wouldn't have been doing their job as analysts if they did not.
You see, for all Williamson's potential, there's the potential this all goes terribly wrong. At 285 pounds he's the third-heaviest player in the league. He plays like a bull in a china shop. His greatest attribute is his unbelievable explosiveness. That he's able to harness it with such a formative frame is astounding.
Williamson may be the greatest thing since sliced LeBron. Or he could end up a cautionary tale, an exercise in what could have been. Any person who discounts that second possibility isn't approaching the circus that is Zion with all deliberate speed.
Giving voice to concern over Williamson's ability to stay healthy and physically dominate in the long-run is not playing Chicken Little. It's not wishing ill. It is certainly not fat-shaming.
It's taking all the facts in evidence and using them to inform an opinion. Highlighting the reasons there are concerns about Williamson now and in the future was a responsible and necessary thing for the broadcast to do. The truth is not always rosy.
And look, it's simple enough to understand why those who use sports an escape don't want to be fed a dose of Debbie Downer. It's simple enough to understand why some would think it's unfair to Williamson. To be clear, everyone involved is hoping that Zion meets his otherworldly hype. It would be a great shame if he never realized his apex.
This is sports. We're in the first steps of what is a long journey. Where it goes --- as always -- is unknown. But in this case, we have a decent idea about one of the ways it could veer off-track.
Going forward, there will be lingering fear. Addressing the 285-pound question isn't going to be necessary night in and night out. Yet when having a broad discussion about what Williamson is, is not, and what could possibly be, it's definitely fair game.
Fair or not, the avenue of discussion will go away on its own volition should it not be a problem.