Zion Williamson
Source: Cole Burston/Getty Images

Zion Williamson: Off-Court Passions and Pursuits

Dive into the off-court life of Zion Williamson. Find out how he combines his love for anime with philanthropy and family time. Get the full story.


Nov. 7 2023, Published 7:56 p.m. ET

Zion Williamson is widely known and admired for his explosive dunks and athletic superiority on the court. As the No. 1 draft pick for the year 2019, the New Orleans Pelicans power forward also has a vibrant life off the court.

In addition to spending time with family, Zion is very active on social media. He is also a huge fan of anime. Furthermore, the fast-rising NBA star loves giving back to the community and is actively involved in various charity efforts.

To find out more about Zion Williamson’s pursuits and passions off the court, continue reading below.

Charity Efforts

The 2019 No. 1 draft pick is very passionate about giving back to the community. To support different athletic and educational initiatives targeting underprivileged youth, the basketball star established the Zion Williamson Foundation.

In mid-2023, the star athlete donated $250,000 to students in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana. The money, which was donated through his foundation, is meant to help local students with expenses related to attending new schools as a result of consolidations.

During the suspension of the NBA season in 2019-2020, the power forward pledged to pay the salaries of all Smoothie King Center workers for 30 days.


The New Orleans Pelicans star loves anime – so much so that he goes as far as to say that it saved his life. During a GQ interview the top-performing athlete estimated that more than 80% of the players in the NBA share the same love for anime as he does – but, choose to keep it a secret.

The influence of anime in Zion’s life is even seen in his Jordan brand shoe collection – the Zion 1s feature three Naruto-themed colorways. Perhaps his love of the genre is linked to the fact that most anime stories aimed at young men follow the experiences of a protagonist striving to be the best – the same way that athletes do.

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During an interview with Sports Illustrated, when asked about his injury woes back in the 2021-2022 season and the detractors he faced at the time, Zion stated, “I have to remember that I am who I am and stay true to that. That's what Naruto did, and that's what I'm going to do.”

Social Media

Like most Gen Zers, the New Orleans Pelicans star is quite fond of social media. At one point Zion was one of the biggest names in high school basketball social media circles. Over the years he has accumulated millions of followers on Instagram.

In addition to sharing messages of appreciation with his supporters, the NBA star also uses the platform to give fans a glimpse into parts of his personal life.

Spending Time with Family

Zion is very close to his family. He is the son of Sharonda Samson and Lateef Williamson. His biological father, Lateef, passed away back in 2020. His parents divorced when he was only 5 years old – for most of his life he was raised by his step-father Lee Anderson. The athlete has a younger brother, Noah Anderson – who is 13 years younger.

As of late 2023, the powerful athlete is also the father of a newborn daughter. In addition to his immediate family, Zion is very close to his extended family including grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.

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