Zion Williamson celebrated his 22nd birthday Wednesday by signing a $193 million, five-year contract extension with the New Orleans Pelicans.
Williamson joined Pelicans management to announce the deal at a press conference at the Dryades YMCA in New Orleans.
“I want to prove that I’m a winner. Simple as that. I want to win with coach. I want to win with my teammates. The ultimate goal is to win a championship,” said Williamson.
The six-foot-six power forward acknowledged last season’s controversy on his desire to play in New Orleans.
“The last few months were a roller-coaster of emotions,” Williamson said. “The world just ran with narratives, and so when my family was going out in public, they’re getting harassed by people about why we don’t like New Orleans or why we don’t want to be here when that’s not the case at all.
“I wasn’t able to play because my foot was broke,” Williamson continued. “Every time I checked my phone it’s always something negative. Even when you’re trying to make positive of the situation, it was very tough.”
— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) July 6, 2022
“This is a really momentous occasion for all of us,” said David Griffin, the Pelicans’ executive vice president of basketball operations. “What Zion Williamson did today is express his commitment to this team and to this city and to this community. So the noise that’s on the periphery of all of that is completely irrelevant.”
“This is an opportunity for us as an organization to really put to bed a lot of things that were said.”
Williamson, the No. 1 pick of the 2019 Draft, has only played 85 games in his three-year career averaging 25.7 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 3.2 assists.
He sat out the entire 2021-22 season with a foot injury.