Pelicans' social media team, TV analyst rip Stephen A. Smith for 'lazy' Zion Williamson criticism


Stephen A. Smith caught some flak from the New Orleans Pelicans after he criticized their biggest star.

On Friday’s edition of “Get Up,” Smith and Mike Greenberg were discussing the Pelicans and Zion Williamson, who has made his share of headlines with injuries and off-court issues.

One of those issues, Williamson has admitted, is his eating habits.

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Zion Williamson grimaces

New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson heads to the bench in the second half of a game against the Denver Nuggets Nov. 6, 2023, in Denver.  (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

In July, the 2019 No. 1 overall pick admitted “it’s hard” to stay in top shape since he’s young with “all the money in the world.

However, a report in December said Williamson simply “doesn’t listen” to the organization’s requests to take his diet seriously. Around that time, he looked sluggish on the floor, notably in the In-Season Tournament.

Williamson is averaging 24.3 points in his last 14 games, which is just a tick lower than his career mark of 24.9, but Smith isn’t convinced.

“Zion Williamson, it’s not about his game. It’s about how many burgers he’s eating and whether or not he’s gonna be in shape. Or is he gonna keep eating McDonald’s?” Smith said Friday morning. “That’s what he has to prove — that the chefs don’t love him any longer, that he’s committed to playing basketball and being in shape.”

zion williamson versus lakers

Zion Williamson (1) of the New Orleans Pelicans drives against the Los Angeles Lakers in the second half of the West semifinal game of the inaugural NBA In-Season Tournament at T-Mobile Arena Dec. 7, 2023, in Las Vegas. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

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That prompted both the Pelicans’ social media team and one of their broadcasters to rip Smith in return.

The social media team kept it blunt, posting a graphic of Smith’s college basketball stats, when he averaged just 1.5 points per game in one season.

They also posted a montage of Smith’s athletic “highlights.”

Pelicans TV analyst Antonio Daniels didn’t go the troll route, though, and went right after Smith for being “lazy.”

“Listen man, I am all for objective, fair critiquing of individuals and, collectively, of teams,” he said on SiriusXM’s NBA Radio. “I felt what Stephen A. said this morning of Zion was completely inappropriate and lazy. If you have an issue, there’s a way to go about addressing that issue.

“[The Pelicans] have won eight of their last nine games, but then you wake up this morning and this right here is the topic? To me, it’s almost gotten to the point where it’s personal.”

Zion Williamson dribbles

New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson (1) drives against Philadelphia 76ers forward Tobias Harris (12) during the third quarter at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia Jan. 2, 2023. (Bill Streicher/USA Today Sports)

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Williams is averaging a career-high 4.9 assists, although his current 22.5 points per game is a career low.

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