Drew Brees 'Passing Torch' to Zion Williamson


Zion Williamson hasn’t even been in New Orleans for a week, but the Pelicans’ first overall pick in the 2019 NBA draft still received a welcoming gift and personal message from the city’s favorite athlete, Saints quarterback Drew Brees.

When Williamson checked into what appeared to be a hotel room in New Orleans, a framed and signed Saints No. 9 jersey was waiting for him, which took the former Duke star by surprise.

There was also a card that Brees had sent along with the jersey, which Williamson read aloud.

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“Zion, welcome to the family. Let’s dance,” the card read.

On the jersey itself, Brees had written, “Passing the torch to you! Who Dat!”

“Am I ready to take that om?” Williamson says.

In the video posted to the Pelicans’ Twitter account, Williamson suggests it’s the first jersey he’s ever received from a professional athlete. He then says he’s going to collect lots more.

Will Zion Williamson be as big of a star in New Orleans as Drew Brees?

While the Big Easy is a two-sport city, Brees is undoubtedly the most popular athlete in New Orleans sports history.

He helped bring the city its only Super Bowl championship, while the best players in Pelicans history, Chris Paul and Anthony Davis, both essentially forced trades to Los Angeles.

It’s worth noting that Davis was also the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft, but Brees either wasn’t ready to or didn’t want to pass the torch to Davis at that time.

The gesture from Brees may have meant as much to Williamson as it did to New Orleans sports fans.

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Prior to the Pelicans being awarded the first overall pick, Williamson stated that he had never even been to New Orleans before.

But just a few days in the city already has Williamson feeling like he’s at home in a place he doesn’t ever want to leave.

“You know it’s crazy,” Williamson said after being in New Orleans for just one day. “I was in my hotel room and I looked out the window on the balcony and I was like, ‘This is my home.'”

“I don’t know why, I just got … [a] gut feeling, I said, ‘All right, this is my home and I am ready to stay here.'”

Of course, Davis also said New Orleans “has become my second home” in late 2017, and he ended up requesting a trade just over one year later.

But the city of New Orleans isn’t looking into the rearview mirror, and instead appears eager to make Williamson do as he said and stay put.

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Ross Kelly has been a sportswriter since 2009.
Ross Kelly has been a sportswriter since 2009 and previously worked for ESPN, CBS and STATS Inc. A native of Louisiana, Ross now resides in Houston.
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