Zion Williamson's emotions overflow next to his mom after being selected No. 1

Like the rest of the basketball world, Zion Williamson had zero doubt that he would be the first pick in Thursday’s NBA draft.

But even with the forgone conclusion that he would realize his NBA dream, the reality of the culmination of his life’s work didn’t truly hit him until his named was called as the No. 1 pick by the New Orleans Pelicans.

Zion, mom get emotional

It made for an emotional moment for Williamson as his mother stood beside him for his post-pick interview.

"I mean, I don't know what to say,” Williamson told ESPN. “I didn't think I would be in this position. My mom sacrificed a lot for me. I wouldn't be here without my mom. She did everything for me. I just want to thank her.”

Williamson, now choking back tears, continued to talk about his mom.

“She put her dreams aside for mine,” Williamson said. “She always looked out for family and friends before herself.”

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Zion Williamson with his mother on draft night
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Zion Williamson with his mother on draft night
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 20: NBA Prospect Zion Williamson is introduced before the start of the 2019 NBA Draft at the Barclays Center on June 20, 2019 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 20: Zion Williamson poses with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver after being drafted with the first overall pick by the New Orleans Pelicans during the 2019 NBA Draft at the Barclays Center on June 20, 2019 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 20: NBA Prospect Zion Williamson is introduced before the start of the 2019 NBA Draft at the Barclays Center on June 20, 2019 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 20: NBA Prospect Zion Williamson is introduced before the start of the 2019 NBA Draft at the Barclays Center on June 20, 2019 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
Zion Williamson, of Duke, smiles before the NBA basketball draft Thursday, June 20, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Duke's Zion Williamson greets fans as he is introduced during the NBA basketball draft Thursday, June 20, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
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Tears flow

Then the tears flowed for Williamson and his mother Sharonda Sampson.

“When you know it’s coming but — you’ve just to got to wait for it to happen,” Sampson said. “And to wait for his hard work to pay off. We’re so happy for him.

“I’ve seen somebody who believed in the process, who put in the work, who put those naysayers aside and just continued to do what we ask, and continued to believe in the process. Because of that, we’re here today.”

Williamson then talked about the reality that sinks in when shaking the hand of commissioner Adam Silver.

“Doesn’t even seen real until until I shook his hand. I dreamed about it since I was four. For it to actually happen, I just thank God for it.”

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