Zion Williamson has struggled with his health and fitness since entering the NBA. The former Duke Bluedevil has rarely shown the skill and potential to enter the NBA as a first-overall draft pick amid huge amounts of fanfare.
Unfortunately, Williamson’s career is better remembered for the amount of games he missed than the amount of games he put on the court. According to Charles Barkley, Williamson needs to take control of his fitness and weight issues to ensure he’s healthy enough to maintain a high level of production throughout a season.
“He’s got to be in shape, plain and simple,” Barkley said. “You know, this is professional basketball. We’re not babysitters. To make money, these guys are making today, I don’t think it’s a lot to ask guys to get in shape.
“Hey, I don’t know. Zion’s like a good kid, but I feel like he doesn’t have great people around him, you know, because your friends – I got Moses – I’m lucky – but your family and friends have to say, ‘Yo, man, you’re going to ruin your future.’
Barkley went on to explain why he doesn’t believe Zion Williamson’s health issues are fair to the NBA, the New Orleans Pelicans or the player.
“It’s not fair to the Pelicans. It’s not fair to the NBA. But, bottom line, he’s got to get in shape, plain and simple. Listen, hire a chef. The kind of money he’s making, hire you a guy. Chef. So he needs to grow, plain and simple.”
Zion Williamson has only played 29 games since 2021, missing the entire 2021-22 season before returning last season and being shut down after 29 games.
Zion Williamson wants to get in better shape
During a recent appearance on the ‘Gils Arena Podcast’ with Gilbert Arenas, Zion Williamson discussed the struggles he’s faced with his diet and fitness.
There are times when I’m like, “Man, that’s not hard.” It’s hard, man, like 20, 22, it’s a lot of money. Sounds like all the money in the world, man. It’s tough,” Williamson said.
“But I’m at that point now, because of certain things, putting the wisdom back around me. … Wise people around me, teasing me about certain things and going from there.” He added.
As he begins to question his legacy in the NBA, it appears Williamson is ready to take his diet and fitness more seriously. As such, it’s no wonder Williamson told Arenas that ‘LeBron has the blueprint.’
“Because I think with a bunch of weight loss I can keep myself on the court longer. And then when it came to playing I couldn’t keep up, so Bronn got the blueprint,” he added.
The NBA wants to see a fully healthy Zion Williamson next season and he can prove he is an elite-level prospect who could be a top-10 player in the league.