Shaquille O’Neal replies to Zion Williamson being upset with his and Charles Barkley’s criticism: “He’s not ready”

Since his entry into the NBA, Zion Williamson’s career has faced its fair share of hurdles. From dealing with injuries to public scrutiny over his diet, even from Shaquille O’Neal, the rookie has struggled to establish himself as the dominant force many expected him to be, as the weight of immense talent and sky-high expectations seems to have taken a toll on the young player.

Recently, Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley voiced their criticisms of Williamson’s performance, which led to the young star expressing his frustrations. And both Chuck and Shaq have been quite straightforward with their responses.

Shaquille O’Neal responds to Zion Williamson being upset

Shaquille O’Neal has responded to Zion Williamson’s recent criticism of his and Charles Barkley’s comments, stating that the young NBA star is simply “not ready” yet as O’Neal and Barkley have defended their remarks about Williamson’s weight gain, emphasizing that their intention is to see him reach his full potential.

Last week, Shaquille O’Neal called out Williamson for his lack of effort in running and rebounding during an NBA on TNT segment. Reflecting on his own experience, Shaquille O’Neal explained that he had faced similar challenges early in his career but overcame them through hard work and dedication.

Barkley echoed Shaquille O’Neal’s sentiments by claiming that there are other players on the Pelicans team who are more skilled than Williamson but should not be. However, Williamson appeared unfazed by their criticism and responded with a dominant 36-point performance against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

“That was me telling him “if you do this you can get to the next level”. We only criticize people that we like and that we believe in.” Shaq said.

Stephen A. Smith, another vocal critic, had previously remarked on his podcast that Williamson appeared overweight. He humorously remarked that Williamson seemed to have eaten a buffet before the game.

“Zion Williamson … went to the free throw line – Ladies and gentlemen, I saw a belly. A belly. Like, when he took a deep breath, his belly bounced,” Smith added. 

Despite the ongoing debate, it is evident that both O’Neal and Barkley have Zion Williamson’s best interests at heart and want him to reach his full potential as an NBA superstar.

Zion Williamson sets the record straight on weight jokes

Zion Williamson, the star player for the New Orleans Pelicans, has had a tough time dodging the criticism and weight jokes aimed at him in recent weeks.

While his on-court performance has been satisfactory, his struggle to maintain his physique has been a talking point. However, despite the mounting pressure, Williamson remains unfazed and believes that his best is yet to come.

In a candid conversation with Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson, Zion brushed off the weight jokes from the media, stating that they do not bother him. He confidently asserted, “You ain’t seen nothing yet. The best is yet to come.” While his comments are undoubtedly resilient, it’s hard to deny that the constant noise may be affecting him to some extent.

Zion Williamson
Via The US Sun

Throughout his career, Zion has faced criticism for his inconsistent availability and lack of discipline. These issues have prevented him from living up to the immense expectations placed on him. As fans and analysts watch closely, they wonder how Zion will respond going forward.

Whether he can rise above the noise and reach his true potential remains to be seen. However, one thing is certain: Zion Williamson’s journey is far from over, and the world will be eagerly watching.

Sami Haider

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Sami Haider is an NBA writer at SportsKnot. His foray into basketball scriptwriting started in 2020, when he was enthralled by the Los Angeles Lakers' NBA championship victory. His previous experience was limited to dribbling and dunking as a neighborhood kid. His insightful writings show how much he loves the sport. His writing goes beyond numbers and scores, giving readers a unique viewpoint on the players, teams, and events that define the basketball scene. Whether you're a die-hard fan or a casual observer, Sami's work is essential for anybody trying to expand their knowledge and love of the NBA.


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