Shaquille O'Neal on Zion Williamson Credit: Inside the NBA on TNT

Both Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal know a thing or two about keeping their bodies in peak condition to dominate the NBA, so it was no accident earlier this month when they called out New Orleans Pelicans star Zion Williamson for not taking care of his body.

A dramatic news cycle followed after Williamson and the Pelicans lost in the NBA Cup semifinal and several other voices took on the young star publicly.

Tuesday on Inside the NBA, Barkley and O’Neal clarified their positive intentions in criticizing Williamson and explained why they still have their doubts that he will get his act together.

“When it comes to being a dominant big man, I am the authority,” O’Neal said. “That was me telling him, ‘if you do this, you can get to the next level.'”

The comments came after Williamson questioned the pair’s intentions when asked to address their original barbs. And while O’Neal and Barkley took the high road compared with insults thrown toward Williamson by Stephen A. Smith and others online, they still didn’t love what they heard.

“If you say something about me and I don’t get mad, that means I’m not ready,” O’Neal added. “His response is telling me he’s not ready.”

O’Neal said he intentionally challenges players on Inside the NBA to see how they respond. And he didn’t see any response from Williamson on the court.

The 2019 No. 1 overall pick has had a productive year for the 16-12 Pelicans, but reportedly does not always follow New Orleans’ nutrition regimen and lacks the athletic burst that made him a legendary prospect at Duke.

At age 23, Williamson has time to turn his career around and make good on his potential. O’Neal and Barkley are trying to call him up, but they don’t see him listening.

[Inside the NBA]

About Brendon Kleen

Brendon is a Media Commentary staff writer at Awful Announcing. He has also covered basketball and sports business at Front Office Sports, SB Nation, Uproxx and more.