A new group of basketball recruits are roaming around campus, and while it’s exciting to welcome the next generation, we can’t even go to the gym without feeling Zion Williamson’s absence.
It’s hard being on the losing end of a breakup, more so when Zion of all people is the one on the other end. And while he’s moved on to greater things like the NBA and a shoe deal, we’re just trying to ease the pain by replacing him with a new batch of top-ranked freshmen. But like most heartaches, it’s going to take some time to fix the destruction he left behind—especially when it comes to repairing the backboard he demolished in Brodie Recreation Center. And it certainly doesn’t help having a portrait of Williamson in a New Orleans Pelicans jersey smirking back at us from the remaining beams of the fallen basket.
It’s been a journey mending our broken hearts, and the matter of the backboard has had a chronicle of its own.
It all began on April 3, just three days after Duke suffered a tough loss to Michigan State in the NCAA tournament. Williamson did what any ordinary young man would do to recover from the end of an era—he found comfort in a pickup game with the boys. It was all fun and games with the crowd of casual players, until Zion decided to throw down one of his famous earth-shattering dunks.
Here’s what happened when it all went wrong for the backboard:
The hoop still looked salvageable on April 8, but it had been blocked off by some caution tapes. A “ZION WAS HERE” sign had also been added to the backboard, as if that was something that had to be clarified.
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Less than two weeks later, on April 19, the true damage done became evident. The entire backboard was removed from the court, leaving metal support beams as a reminder of the tragedy.
It’s been four months since the incident, but the hoop still hasn’t been replaced. Sometimes the ex that left comes crawling back, and although it’s not like Zion can swoop back in and play college basketball again, maybe he can come back and gift us a new hoop. And then maybe he can stay a while, get some burgers at The Loop and reminisce of our times together. Maybe he can explain why he left us for the NBA, where we went wrong and what we could do to make it better?