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#pounditFriday, May 24, 2024

Zion Williamson has notable response to Charles Barkley’s criticisms of him

Zion Williamson in a Pelicans jersey

Dec 17, 2022; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson (1) against the Phoenix Suns at Footprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Zion Williamson is taking some time this week to address his biggest critic.

The New Orleans Pelicans star Williamson had a monster game on Monday in a victory over the NBA-leading Minnesota Timberwolves. He blew up for a season-high 36 points on 13-of-17 from the field as New Orleans cruised to a 121-107 win.

During his media session after the game, Williamson was asked about the harsh criticisms recently lobbed his way by Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal. To his credit, Williamson gave a very mature response.

“If it comes from a great place and a place where they just want to see me do better, thank you!” said Williamson. “But if it comes from anywhere else, everybody entitled to their own opinion. Can’t control that.”

Barkley in particular has been one of Williamson’s loudest detractors. But while Barkley has sometimes just poked fun at Williamson over his weight and diet, his criticisms do seem to come from a genuine place. In his latest viral comments ripping Williamson, Barkley even drew a comparison to his own struggles with conditioning during his NBA career.

It is at least good to see that Williamson can handle public criticism well. But a much bigger problem for the former No. 1 overall pick is that he is supposedly ignoring the Pelicans’ calls in private for him to stay in shape.

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