Former pro basketball player and NBA analyst Charles Barkley is not one to self-edit his thoughts before verbalizing them, and those who still possess a sense of humor in this ultra-sensitive world are all the merrier for it.
On Tuesday’s edition of “Inside the NBA” on TNT, the “Round Mound of Rebound” took a shot at young NBA star Zion Williamson, the prodigious first overall pick for the New Orleans Pelicans in 2019, whose budding pro career has been stymied due to injury.
Williamson underwent foot surgery during the NBA offseason and, as he is recovering, a training video was released that elicited a particularly funny reaction from “Sir Charles.”
Known for being fast and powerful but also heavy in comparison to the typical power forward, Williamson’s physique was an easy target for Barkley, who is indeed quite the large fellow himself.
Of Williamson, he quipped, “It look [sic] like me and Shaq had a baby.”
(Video: House of Highlights/YouTube)
Barkley added, “He’s eating good in New Orleans.”
Barkley’s playing weight was 252 lbs, while the 7-foot-1-inch Shaquille O’Neal was listed at 315 lbs during his multi-championship tenure with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Williamson is listed at 317 lbs at only 6’6” tall.
Williamson’s weight has long been the subject of criticism among fans and basketball experts who argue that it contributes to the seemingly chronic injuries he has endured ever since his high school days.
The panelists on the show all had a good laugh at Barkley’s remark, but none more so than O’Neal, who could barely contain himself and had to get up from his chair.
— illmatic (@Oso1Hundred) November 3, 2021
🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣 this took me out. pic.twitter.com/Zcd3SG0YuC
— Sara Lee (@Saleek29) November 3, 2021
Shaq and Chuck two of the funniest mf that are part of the NBA
— chris (@chris09612664) November 3, 2021
Sweet little 300 pound baby
— SM3 (@MarioG3) November 3, 2021
Nfl is missing this
— 4CAonPoint (@4CAonPoint) November 3, 2021
Barkley, for his part, did turn to the serious nature of injuries in basketball and the need for physical fitness off the court.
“I’m concerned. I am really concerned,” he said.
He then recalled a conversation he had with NBA superstar Moses Malone while in his playing days.
“Moses Malone said to me .. I was fat and lazy, and I started to cry a little bit … it was a turning point in my career.”
He went on to say that Williamson should not be getting hurt while he is so young, citing numerous surgeries the player has had, usually for his lower extremities and expressing the opinion that the young star isn’t doing himself any favors by not staying fit. He added that active roster time is not when a player should be “trying” to get in shape.
“Even when you’re hurt, you’re going to have to control your eating,” he stated.
“If you’re putting all that stress on your knees and your feet, you’re just going to keep getting hurt,” he continued. “Somebody’s got to be a grown person down in that relationship and says, ‘Yo, man. You got to get in shape.'”
Co-host Kenny Smith echoed Barkley’s sentiment.
“You don’t play basketball to get in shape. You get in shape to play basketball,” he said.
Commenting specifically on Williamson’s physical fitness, Smith added, “He’s a great player, but that is not basketball shape.”
Williamson is expected to be out for another two to three weeks into November, but both Smith and Barkley agreed that considering the footage they saw, that timeline for his expected return is overly optimistic.
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