Zion Williamson has a lot of people amazed that he can be highly effective at 285 but the most interesting and relevant reactions, aside from the basketball staff, is from NBA observers including David Nurse, a trainer who said this: “He’s sort of built like a LeBron James-type. But whether he can be highly effective in the NBA with that body type will come down to his commitment to himself. He needs to understand nutrition and every little aspect of taking care of himself. He has a body type that could very easily balloon up.”
This makes perfect sense to us. The Goofus and Gallant here are Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’ Neal.
Barkley lost about 50 pounds when he joined the NBA; O’Neal turned into the Goodyear Blimp, weighing in ultimately at about 325. He could have played at around 270-280 and been the greatest big man since Bill Russell. Instead he chose to be a big tub of goo.
He was still effective but nowhere near the force he could have been.
For Williamson, the reality is a bit different. We’ve linked several photos lately which show a much more chiseled body at 17 than anyone his size could hope for. In one he looks more like a boxer than the football player he’s typically compared to.
That said, it’s a sport predicated on quickness first and power second. Anyone who wants a long career needs to have excellent nutritional practices and to keep his body tuned to the highest possible efficiency. Given his natural size, and the wear that basketball will put on his body over the years, that’s more true for Williams than anyone else we’ve seen in a long time.