NBA icon Shaquille O’Neal recently dissected Zion Williamson’s performance in a semifinal clash against LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. The game, which saw the Lakers dominate and secure a spot in the NBA-In Season Tournament finals, left O’Neal unimpressed with Williamson’s contribution.
O’Neal, known as the “Diesel,” pointed out Williamson’s lackluster effort in running the floor, emphasizing that he does not run hard. The NBA legend also criticised Williamson’s failure to create scoring opportunities in the post, noting his absence in demanding the ball. O’Neal, drawing on his own experience, highlighted the importance of exploiting matchups, especially against smaller defenders, using the term “Barbecue Chicken,” a concept often discussed by fellow analyst Charles Barkley.
Expressing dissatisfaction with Williamson’s body language, O’Neal remarked that the young player lacked a certain determined look, comparing it to the intensity displayed by sports greats like Tiger Woods and Jack Nicholson. O’Neal’s analysis extended to Williamson’s rebounding performance, highlighting an area that needed improvement.
Shaquille O’Neal’s Critique of Zion Williamson
Despite the pointed critique, O’Neal clarified that his remarks were not intended as a diss but rather as valuable lessons. Drawing from his own early career experiences, O’Neal admitted to making similar mistakes and stressed the importance of continuous improvement.
Shaq on the deficiencies in Zion's Williamson game:
"I was just like him." pic.twitter.com/bEWBwTvJuJ
— Oh no he didn't (@ohnohedidnt24) December 8, 2023
O’Neal stated I was just like him. I was just like that, but people used to pull me to the side. I had a guy who always used to say, ‘Hey man, okay, you had 24 points, but you’re not working as hard.
O’Neal’s feedback serves as a mentorship moment, offering constructive advice from one great big man to another. For Zion Williamson, absorbing these insights could be the key to unlocking his potential and bouncing back stronger. When a basketball legend like Shaquille O’Neal imparts wisdom, it becomes imperative for emerging talents to heed the lessons and strive for greatness.