Was Barkley right to call out Zion Williamson and New Orleans Pelicans?

New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports
New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports /

I’m not sure things could have started much worse for the New Orleans Pelicans and Zion Williamson.

The star is still out with no timetable for his return, and the team has started 1-7, currently the worst record in the entire NBA.

Media has started to pile on both the team and Zion Williamson, as yesterday we got this piece from NBA insider Marc Stein, which basically called Zion out for not being in shape.

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On top of that, the New Orleans Pelicans had a nationally televised game on TNT and Charles Barkley (who knows a little something about being out of shape) was particularly harsh on both Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans.

New Orleans Pelicans: Was Barkley right about Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans?

Barkley started his attack by making a fat joke after seeing Zion warming up before the game with the Suns, saying, “It looks like me and Shaq had a baby” much to the delight of his giant co-host who nearly had to walk off the set he was laughing so hard.

I am personally getting tired of the fat jokes and think it’s a huge blindspot in our public discourse, as it seems like big people are the last group on earth you can openly mock with impunity. But I am sure Chuck would just call me a “snowflake” or some other tough guy response, as it apparently makes you weak not to want to trash a 21-year-old kid because of his size.

You do you, Chuck, but I’m a grown man and don’t get off on making fun of kids, but hey, that’s just me.

Barkley’s other criticism was more on point, as he said, “Someone in New Orleans has to be a grown person”, in regards to the organization getting more involved in Zion’s conditioning.

I think this is a fair assessment, as the Pels have treated Zion Williamson’s camp as if they are running the team and allowed them to dictate Zion’s workouts as well as how his injuries would be communicated in the press, which was a huge mistake that cost the franchise credibility.

Some fans see this as the organization protecting its star, and to some degree it is, but they are also enabling him by allowing Zion to do work outside of the team and not insisting he work with team trainers whose job it is to keep him healthy.

Charles Barkley occasionally makes sentient points mixed in with all of his nonsense, and he’s right, it’s time that the team got more actively involved in Zion Williamson’s health and stopped letting his step-dad or whoever call the shots.

But Barkley can shove his fat jokes, which just come off as hypocritical and childish.

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