Trail Blazers

Zion Williamson recalls Carmelo Anthony juking him out of his shoes as rookie

Trail Blazers

Zion Williamson is one of the rising young stars in the NBA. He has played 58 games so far in his career, and he has relished the opportunity to play against and learn from some of the NBA's greats.

That includes a couple of members of the Portland Trail Blazers. And notably, Williamson enjoyed playing against Carmelo Anthony.

On JJ Redick and Tommy Alter's The Old Man and the Three podcast, Willamson opened up about his respect for Anthony and his game. 

I loved watching Carmelo growing up. I loved watching him play.

Zion Williamson, The Old Man and the Three podcast

So, playing against Anthony was a dream come true in many ways, but Williamson was also looking at ways he could improve his own game by watching Anthony play.

"I always wanted to see in person how he created his space," Williamson said. "It's always one thing to see it on tape, but when you're playing against them, you actually get to see their footwork and how he utilizes his body. It was incredible."

And Zion remembers one play, in particular, where Carmelo was able to get him all sorts of turned around.

"You saw the clip where I think he jabbed -- I'll never forget that. Jeff, our defensive coach last year, was like, if he goes to drive, let him drive. Like, all right, I got you," Williamson said. "So he jabs me, I turned, and I'm like, oh no, he didn't go.

 

"So I turn back fast, he pump fakes me and I kinda raise, and he jabbed me again and then shot the shot. And I was like, man, that was a tough move. I need to try to add that to my bag."

Here's a look at that play, per ESPN.

Wow. That's a tough move for sure, and it's one that few besides Melo could make.

[RELATED: Carmelo Anthony welcomes Zion Williamson to the NBA with mean jab step]

Beyond Anthony, Williamson has also come away impressed with Damian Lillard's performance in the games they've played against each other.

"Dame, even though I didn't guard him, just watching how Dame does that thing where he catches just heat. . . incredible," Williamson said.

Zion will get a chance to take on Melo and Dame soon after the All-Star break. The Blazers and Pelicans are playing a two-game series on March 16 and 18, so Williamson will have a chance to learn even more playing against a couple of the NBA's best players from the last decade.