Shaquille O’Neal often mocked Zion Williamson for his fitness last year, but the Big Diesel seems to genuinely appreciate the young inner. He has therefore carefully followed the physical transformation of the Pelicans star, and he had a rather interesting opinion to give on the subject recently.
Are we going to see a resounding return of Zion Williamson ? It is quite possible, given what we can see of him in recent days. Long singled out for his very apparent overweight last year, the big man from New Orleans appears transformed since this offseason. It was obvious during the Media Day, the former number 1 of the draft is thinner, more toned and overall much more athletic than a year ago:
Zion’s transformation is incredible 😳 pic.twitter.com/nIMFMxJ2WQ
—ESPN (@espn) September 27, 2022
Not only is the visual contrast stark, but the Bayou superstar is obviously very leggy, judging by his training buzz streak. There is therefore something to be hyped about him, but some prefer to remain cautious. Shaquille O’Neal, for example, wondered on his podcast if the former Duke college player hadn’t lost too much weight, for example. According to him, he therefore did not necessarily protect himself against possible injuries in the future:
Shaq worried about Zion after his weight loss
When I started to lose weight and get lean, I hurt myself more often on contact, but when I was big and looked out of shape, I was in control. I knocked people down. They made mistakes on me, I didn’t even feel them. But listen, he looks good, I wish him good luck but I liked him when he was this thick and beefy Zion.
He’s a big guy, did you see how he jumped and how he played? Now he looks good but we are talking about Zion. Suddenly, we know that the opposing players will hit him hard, they will bring this strength when they play against him, it will be very hard mistakes on him. I just hope his new little frame can withstand that.
If the man’s extra pounds have hurt his joints a lot, he missed the entire 2021-22 season following a broken foot, he is generally a man of ice. Lightening up was therefore a good idea, but if he went too far, the New Orleans player may no longer be able to absorb the shocks as well as before. Given the carnage he’s able to pull off under the circle every night, that would be a shame.
According to Shaquille O’Neal, Zion Williamson may have been a little overzealous when it came to losing weight this offseason. The coming months will tell if the Hall of Famer was right to worry, or if the Monstar is back for good.