Charles Barkley admits he never met the former No. 1 pick Zion Williamson ago, but the NBA legend gave some words of advice for Pelicans star who has overcome various injuries in his young professional career.
During the 2022–23 season, Williamson missed a game after January 2 due to a hamstring injury. The forward has missed at least part of all four of his NBA seasons due to injuries.
Barkley compared Williamson’s young career to his own in some ways, advising the Pelicans forward to “get better” to stay healthy for the rest of his career.
“You need someone to tell you, like, ‘Man, you need to get in shape, because you’re going to keep getting hurt if you’re not in shape,'” Barkley said in The Steam Room podcast. “I’m so blessed for Moses Malone, who told me to get my fat a– in shape and made me lose 50 pounds. It changed the whole dynamic of my life. I hope you don’t take it the wrong way. I want you to be a great basketball player I was in your shoes, very talented, overweight.
"I’ve been in your shoes… All you have to do is shape up."
Chuck gives some advice to Zion Williamson pic.twitter.com/pFmVjLSwak
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) May 25, 2023
Barkley explained that Williamson’s comments meant no harm, as he said, but that losing 50 pounds actually helped the trajectory of Barkley’s 16-year career, during which he was named an All-Star 11 times and won the 1993 MVP award. He made it clear that he would like to see Williamson respond in kind so that his career can also have longevity.
Williamson’s long injury timeline began in his rookie season in 2019 when the Pelicans star tore his meniscus. The following season, he suffered a broken thumb. He then missed the entire 2021–22 season with a broken right foot.