The former Duke player was out for the previous part of the season with a right knee injury.
"I want him to be excited, and he is excited," Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said to Yahoo Sports ahead of Zion's debut. "This is this kid’s lifelong dream since he was 4 years old. Everybody wants to be an NBA guy. And to be an NBA guy and be the first pick, it’s mind-boggling. It really is. The thing I said to him, you’ve done it, you’re there. Enjoy it. Enjoy the moment, enjoy it."
ESPN's Mark Jackson was criticized by some for questioning Zion's weight.
Check out more reactions and commentary to Zion's first regular season NBA game below.
This post will be updated.