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Shaquille O’Neal Throws Billionaire Michael Jordan Into the Mix to Sound off Zion Williamson’s Sluggishness

Published 12/28/2023, 6:08 PM EST

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We might be witnessing one of the biggest letdowns in the NBA’s history. The selection of Zion Williamson as the #1 draft pick in the 2019 NBA draft seems almost implausible now. The stark contrast between the expectations set at the time of his drafting and the reality of his performance over the past four years is nothing short of staggering. Zion’s fitness has been a major part of the surrounding discussions. From Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley to Stephen A. Smith, everyone has said their piece.

In the recent episode of The Big Podcast, Shaq opened up about the New Orleans Pelicans star. As per the Big Man, Zion has heard comments ranging from nuanced critiques about his game to very basic things that an athlete shouldn’t be reminded of, such as his weight. However, nothing seems to affect him as he refuses to take anything seriously. Shaq said, “Get mad. Them people calling you fat, whatchu gonna do about it?”  The answer from Zion seems to be pretty clear, he isn’t willing to do anything about it. He said, “The fact that he didn’t respond back, that just tells me he ain’t ready”. Diesel then went on to summon the basketball god to make his point.

He said that when he launched his own range of shoes, he knew that he wasn’t going to outsell Michael Jordan. However, the competitive nature of Shaq forced him to explore the closest position. He said, “When I got into the shoe business. You ain’t gonna outsell Mike. But guess what put me next to him. Mike gonna be right there, but can I get right there[beside him]”, Shaq added.

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What the Big Aristotle was trying to convey is that when the world seems to be against Zion, he should have that mentality where he wants to prove everyone wrong.

With this season’s main focus being Zion’s fitness, there have been reports indicating that the Pelicans are actively encouraging him to prioritize his diet and conditioning, but he “doesn’t listen.” 

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Earlier this month Charles Barkley had expressed his honest opinion on Zanos.

Charles Barkley feels Zion is being unfair

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During the halftime of New Orleans’ NBA in-season tournament game against Sacramento, the American former basketball power forward said, “He’s not in shape. He doesn’t run, he plays the game strictly on talent. He never runs on a fastbreak. He’s kind of like jogging on offence and defence.”

Barkley even recalled the time when a former American basketball center poked him, he said, “I don’t know if he has a Moses Malone who told me I was fat and lazy.”

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Even before this season tipped off Barkley mentioned that it was “not fair” to New Orleans and the NBA if he didn’t fully commit himself to his health and fitness. The 60-year-old said, “He needs to get in shape, playing and simple.” He further added, “You know, this is professional basketball. We’re not babysitters…Your family and friends should say, ‘Yo man, you’re going to screw up your future.”

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Somebody has got to get a hold of him because he’s got so much talent, Zion could be special. But going by what we have seen from the 23-year-old so far, looks like he’s in no hurry to do any such thing.

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Written by:

Prateek Singh

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My introduction to basketball was through Kobe Bryant. Soon enough, I was hooked to his game and although I started with being a fan of his, I also became a fan of basketball. To this day, Kobe remains my reference and guide as I try to navigate through life.
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Edited by:

Vishav