Charles Barkley is one of the greatest NBA players of all time.
As a former league MVP, 11-time All-Star and consensus top 50 player ever – his resume is beyond reproach.
That said, there is a reason why Barkley’s nickname was “the Round Mound of Rebound” – his weight was always an issue.
Another player who has been haunted by his weight problems in recent years is New Orleans Pelicans big man, Zion Williamson.
This week, Barkley sat down with Taylor Rooks and discussed the 22-year-old’s recent confession that people’s mocking of his weight really took him to a dark place mentally.
Should Zion shut out the noise of people who joke about his weight? Or should everyone just not joke about a person’s weight?
Charles Barkley & I agree/disagree on the commentary surrounding him and how social media has made him feel as though he can’t answer certain questions pic.twitter.com/hh5u7B90og
— Taylor Rooks (@TaylorRooks) November 29, 2022
“I saw that, I was disappointed for him giving the public that much power,” Barkley said.
“Never give other people power, first and foremost. Secondly, Zion’s gotta get in shape. I’m trying to phrase this, he can’t keep getting hurt. Because at some point, he’s body’s not going to recover. The body’s an amazing machine. I’ll give you an example from me, Taylor.
“When I first got to the NBA, I was about 295 pounds. If you have success overweight, that does not mean you’re successful. Because the game changes when you grow. High school shape, and college shape. College shape and NBA shape. You gotta get better. So I was the 5th pick, and I barely got to play. The best thing that happened to me was Moses Malone…
“And I said, ‘Big Mo’, can I come see you tonight, I got something to talk to you about. He said, ‘Yeah, young fella, come on up.’ And I went up to his penthouse and I said, ‘Big Mo, why am I not getting to play?’
“And he said, ‘Oh yeah, young fella, because you fat and you lazy.’ And I said what and he says, ‘Yeah, you fat and you lazy…’ The point I was making with Zion is, somebody around him has gotta say you gotta get in shape.”
This isn’t the first time Barkley has staked out a position like this. He is of the opinion that, even if a player’s feelings are hurt, the truth is the truth. That’s what caused friction between him and Klay Thompson, and that is why he believes Williamson’s weight is fair game for criticism.
Williamson just this week, more than 1,000 days since the Pelicans drafted him, hit 100 games played. That is insane. And it is largely the byproduct of his weight woes.
For what it’s worth – Williamson is having a strong 2022-23 season so far. When he is on the court, that is. At this point he is averaging 22.5 points per game on 57.8 percent shooting from the field. He is also pulling down 6.4 rebounds per outing.
— Game 7 (@game7__) November 30, 2022
More importantly, though, Williamson has played in 15 of his team’s first 20 games. And while missing a quarter of the season already isn’t great, it’s still a huge improvement for a guy who didn’t play at all last year.
Williamson has all the makings of a truly special player. But like Barkley said, he would be well-served drowning out the outside noise and focusing on what’s important.
The only thing that’s important for him at this juncture? Finding a way to stay on the floor.