USATSI 15923258

Zion Williamson raves about Madison Square Garden after playing first-ever game there

The Knicks and Pelicans battled it out in a 122-112 overtime thriller on Sunday, but it was what the game’s leading scorer had to say afterward that really drew a lot of attention.

Zion Williamson scored a game-high 34 points on an efficient 13-of-23 shooting performance — one more than former Pelicans forward Julius Randle mustered. Unfortunately, Williamson didn’t really get much help from his teammates, and one of his best games of the season resulted in a loss.

Everyone watched intently as Williamson spoke to the media after the game, especially since he once said he would “love” to play for the Knicks in the time leading up to the 2019 NBA Draft. This was his first-ever game in Madison Square Garden, and his comments about the world-renowned arena seem to indicate that he’s still fond of playing in the Big Apple.

“I mean, New York is the mecca of basketball,” Williamson said, via Yahoo Sports. “I love playing here. I played here in college. This is my first time playing in the pros. I mean, this atmosphere — whether they’re cheering for you, whether they’re booing for you, it’s amazing.”

Honestly, I think, outside of New Orleans obviously, I think this might be my favorite place to play. Outside of New Orleans. I can’t even lie to you. I can’t lie to you.”

Pelicans fans can’t be feeling great about those comments, especially given the small-market franchise’s struggles to retain superstar players over the years.