NBANew Orleans Pelicans

Shaquille O’Neal Frustrated With Zion Williamson’s Weight: ‘He Could Be The Best Player In The League’

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - NOVEMBER 18: American retired professional basketball player Shaquille O'Neal on the grid during the F1 Grand Prix of Las Vegas at Las Vegas Strip Circuit on November 18, 2023 in Las Vegas, United States. (Photo by Kym Illman/Getty Images) NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - NOVEMBER 17: Zion Williamson #1 of the New Orleans Pelicans drives with the ball against the Denver Nuggets during the second half of an NBA In-Season Tournament game at the Smoothie King Center on November 17, 2023 in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

Shaquille O’Neal is ready to sit Zion Williamson down and discuss his physical conditioning. This is the second time this week that a retired player is burning the forward for his weight. Furthermore, like Charles Barkley, the Hall of Famer isn’t holding back.

Shaquille O’Neal Can Relate To Zion Williamson

It’s no mystery that the big man used to have bad conditioning, just like the 23-year-old. However, he opens up about his journey that propelled him to be a candidate in the GOAT debates on NBA on TNT.

The retired Los Angeles Laker wastes no time and instantly lays into the two-time All-Star. He adds that this isn’t supposed to be a diss but rather constructive criticism that’ll hopefully be the eureka moment for Williamson to improve his conditioning.

After discovering that Williamson ignored the New Orleans Pelicans‘ pleas to improve his conditioning, O’Neal’s words might get through to him.

“I want to make some points about Zion. He does not run hard—this is not a diss, it’s gonna be a lesson from one great big man to another guy who could be a great big man. He does not run hard, I had the same problem my first, second year.”

Shaquille O’Neal

He relates to the young forward, claiming he could also go far with his talent. However, O’Neal went even further once he started improving his conditioning and doing “certain things.”

“My talent gonna get me 20, but when I start going 20, 30 and 40, it’s because I started doing certain things.”

Shaquille O’Neal

More Criticism Abound

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - DECEMBER 07: Zion Williamson #1 of the New Orleans Pelicans drives against the Los Angeles Lakers in the second half of the West semifinal game of the inaugural NBA In-Season Tournament at T-Mobile Arena on December 07, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Lakers defeated the Pelicans 133-89. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The big man continues giving out his critiques. He adds that Williamson isn’t trying to create opportunities for himself.

“He doesn’t create easy points for himself. He don’t seal, he doesn’t demand the ball. Charles talks about it all the time, you can’t let a little guy guard you.”

Shaquille O’Neal

Furthermore, he sees the young player’s potential but doesn’t see the drive from him.

“He doesn’t have that look. I’m not the greatest athlete ever but I know a look when I see it. Tiger Woods had that look, Jack Nicholson had that look. He just doesn’t have that look.”

Shaquille O’Neal

Lastly, the forward is disappointing O’Neal because he isn’t rebounding as much as he should. In the Lakers-Pelicans game, Williamson only accrued two total rebounds.

“He doesn’t rebound. He does not rebound. He’s not ready yet.”

Shaquille O’Neal

He’s only being harsh right now to help Williamson become the best player in the league, as Kenny Smith would posit, and O’Neal agrees.

The Hall of Famer just wants someone to ground Williamson and help him condition himself.

“He could be the best player in league. Not an All-Star, the best player in the league.”

Kenny Smith

“In the league. I had a guy named Brad who used to always say, ‘Hey man, okay you hit 24 points but you not working as hard.'”

Shaquille O’Neal

Ultimately, it’d be a waste of potential for Williamson not to capitalize on his success. However, the improvement will be up to him, especially if he wants to become the best of all time.

Do you think the Pelicans forward has what it takes?