It seems like big boys are taking over the NBA, and everyone has to contend with that now, including ESPN’s Mark Jackson. It is now a world of the likes of Luka Doncic and Zion Williamson, who on Wednesday made his NBA debut for the New Orleans Pelicans against San Antonio Spurs.
Zion Williamson impresses on his debut
The debut came after Williamson had undergone meniscus surgery in October last year. Williamson, who is 6-foot-6 and 285 pounds, has been the subject of fat-shaming since he starred at Duke in 2019. Some critics have blamed his weight for the meniscus injury he got last season that made him miss the first half of the rookie season last year.
On Wednesday, during his debut, Jackson tore ion his weight indicating that he needed to get in better shape. He added that Williamson should lose some weight, indicating that New Orleans people might think he is big-boned and that’s natural size. Jackson said to him that was not the case because the lighter he will get, the more explosive he will be.
The 19-year old had a fantastic debut, and he scored 17 of his 22 points inside three minutes in the fourth quarter. Although he wasn’t close to his best, he nevertheless impressed in that brief stint.
Fans outraged by Jackson’s comments
Most of the discussion on the night was on Williamson’s weight with Jackson and co analysts Jeff van Gundy saying that he had gained around eight pounds since he began working out. There was a graphic on the audience that showed that Williamson, whose weight is 285 pounds was the third heaviest player in the NBA. Jackson’s remarks caused outrage from fans on Twitter who criticized him for body-shaming Williamson.
Williamson is not the first NBA player to be under criticism about his weight. Last year 20-year old Doncic received criticism for being overweight and slow. Doncic went on to win 2019’s Rookie of the Year award, and he is among the most coveted players in the NBA under 25 years.