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More Debate On Zion’s Weight

This will go on until he rolls into camp in supreme condition.

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Sacramento Kings
August 6, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; New Orleans Pelicans Zion Williamson (1) goes up for a shot against Sacramento Kings’ Richaun Holmes (22) during the first half of an NBA basketball game at HP Field House
Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

We understand the concern about Zion Williamson’s weight but honestly most people really just don’t know enough about him and his body to really be able to offer much useful criticism. What if he’s just built different? Does anyone know his body fat? What if it’s single digit?

There’s so little the average person doesn’t know. Take what the New Orleans Pelicans have done: they’re focusing on retraining his body to lessen the chance of injury. Obviously they have vastly more insights into his body and health than any of us do. For the most part, we’re just well-intentioned but ignorant fans.

Of course, you can’t just throw every criticism out. Charles Barkley wrote the book on being gifted, fat and not too bright about your body.

But are they the same?

Barkley, who is closer to 6-4 than his listed 6-6, was seriously out of shape when he came in the league, pushing 300. Moses Malone took him under his wing and explained the NBA facts of life and soon Barkley was a relatively svelte 252.

But there’s a big difference between the two: at his heaviest, Barkley probably met the AMA definition of obesity. That he could play at all was a marvel.

There have been periodic questions about Williamson’s fitness but never like that and generally when he was injured.

Another voice that should be listened to is that of Williamson’s New Orleans’ teammate, JJ Redick, who discussed Williamson with Barkley on his podcast recently, saying this: “I think the thing with Zion is he’s such a good kid. I’ve had conversations with him early in the season just about taking care of his body, but clearly, what you went through with Moses is something that he’s got to figure out.”

There are still some things we can’t know. We’ve heard highly educated people talking about how much stress his knees and feet are under at 284 and obviously one should respect what highly trained professionals say and given his longevity and his knowledge of his own body, we’d include Redick as a trained professional, albeit one with keen awareness of the issues who is not medically trained. Even so.

There are two questions this leads to for us: first, what are Williamson’s numbers? When he’s in top shape, what’s his body fat? How much is it safe for him to lose? What if he got down to 260 and, well, he couldn’t really do Zion things anymore?

We respect Redick as much as anyone though and we see where he is coming from.

Still, if Williamson works hard and comes to camp with very low body fat and great numbers and still weighs around 280, what can you do but accept it? He’s not like anyone else.