In a rather anticlimactic semifinal matchup, The New Orleans Pelicans were blown out of the water by the Los Angeles Lakers. Led by LeBron James, the Lakers advance to the NBA-In Season Tournament finals. As for the Pelicans, their poor showing didn't sit well with NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal, who went after big man Zion Williamson in particular. Williamson finished with a quiet 13 points, prompting the “Diesel” to speak up.
“He does not run hard,” O'Neal began, referencing Williamson's effort when running the floor. O'Neal then commented on Williamson's inactivity to create easy points down the block.
“He doesn't seal. He doesn't demand the ball. Like you got a small guy and we talk about it all the time. Barbecue Chicken. Charles (Barkley) talks about it all the time. You can't let a little guy guard you,” O'Neal continued.
The Hall of Famer also made it known that he hadn't taken a liking to Williamson's body language.
“He doesn't have that look. Like, I'm not the greatest ever but I know a look when I see it. … Tiger Woods had that look. Jack Nicholson had that look”.
Lastly, the O'Neal disapproved of the big man's lack of rebounding. However, he noted that the criticisms were not a diss, but a “lesson from one great big man to another guy to be a great big”, adding that he made those same mistakes early on in his career.
“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 said.
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
When a legend like Shaquille O'Neal gives out pointers, it's best to listen. Zion Williamson has to look no further if he needs any more motivation to bounce back.