SPARTANBURG, S.C. — The Spartanburg community is pumped up after local star Zion Williamson debuted in his first NBA game.
While Zion Williamson had a big night in New Orleans, it was also an amazing night in Spartanburg.
The NBA-Rookie spent his early days playing ball at Spartanburg Day. Now he's playing for the New Orleans Pelicans after being selected number 1 in the draft.
While at Spartanburg Day, he won several titles with his teammates, including a state championship his senior year.
Rachel Deems, the head of school for Spartanburg Day, says Zion is still very much the same person he was when he played hoops on this court.
"I think last night showed his leadership on the court, his competitiveness, and yet there's something still very gentle and caring about him in the way he approaches his teammates and especially fans and supporters of basketball," said Deems.
Many of the student body and faculty stayed up Wednesday night to watch Zion play.
Deems says he's a great role model for kids at her school.
"He definitely has a story to tell about the dream that he had, even as a very very young boy. I think that he combines not only the aspect of dreaming about his future but about the work ethic and what he did to make that dream come true," said Deems.
Zion Williamson spent much of his younger days playing ball in the Upstate at the recreation centers. This included the C.C. Woodson Community Center around downtown.
Two of the courts at Stewart Park have a court sponsored by Mountain Dew with a mural of Zion on it.
James Rice, the recreation manager, says it teaches kids here they can go after whatever their heart desires.
"It's tremendous. It just adds to the legacy here to the city of Spartanburg. We have Zion Williamson. We have Deebo Samuel who plays wide receiver for the San Francisco 49ers. He's going to the Super Bowl. That makes kids believe, 'Hey, if they can do it, I can do it too.' Put the work in, get your academics, keep your behavior under control. We're excited about Zion and we're excited about the people in this community and what to look forward to."