Zion Williamson Dec 15, 2023; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson (1) walks to the bench during the first quarter against the Charlotte Hornets at Spectrum Center. Mandatory Credit: Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports

Zion Williamson’s diet and physique issues reportedly had the highly-touted star not listening to the powers at be with the New Orleans Pelicans.

His conditioning hadn’t improved and it turned out to be the same issue over and over again. While he admitted it was hard, 10-time All-Star Carmelo Anthony offered his thoughts about the lack of discipline he sees in Williamson.

“I think from the beginning, it was so much put on Zion, right?” Anthony said on the latest 7PM in Brooklyn, a Wave Sports + Entertainment Original. “Like crazy thrown at him like — you’re the — like you are the logo, like you’re the next guy, right? We haven’t seen nothing like this since ’03, right? So because of that — last episode, we was talking about giving the white hat at 18-years-old. This kid is 18. This kid still want to eat McDonald’s, this kid still want to eat Chick-fil-A, still want to drink iced tea. Man is from South Carolina — he’s from South Carolina where this is what they do — they eat, it’s family … ”

Anthony went on to say earlier in Williamson’s career this might be OK. Even during his time at Duke, there wasn’t going to be as much scrutiny surrounding Williamson’s weight and diet.

“Now you gotta prove yourself at this level,” Anthony said, referring to Williamson’s NBA career. “No matter what you did in college, you still gotta prove yourself.

“… by default, you are the face of this city …,” Anthony added.

Melo said that Williamson’s age could be a factor in it all as well. Perhaps as someone who’s not only young, but developing a lot of attention and pressure. Maybe Williamson is ready to be what outside observers — mainly fans — want him to be yet.

Being dubbed the next Wilt Chamberlain or LeBron James will certainly add to the stress factors.

The emotional factor is real.

“So you start battling with that, and then injuries come so now it’s, ‘Oh, he’s too heavy, he’s this — he’s that,’ but with all actuality, the kid is ——- 19, 20-years-old. I just need to shed baby fat, baby weight, that’s it. So he did it and what was the narrative? ‘Oh he looks good, he is strong, he’s back …”

Melo said Williamson needs to be disciplined he he wants to have that longevity, but admits he knows he’s putting the work in.

[7PM in Brooklyn, YouTube]

About Jessica Kleinschmidt

Jess is a baseball fan with Reno, Nev. roots residing in the Bay Area. She is the host of "Short and to the Point" and is also a broadcaster with the Oakland A's Radio Network. She previously worked for MLB.com and NBC Sports Bay Area.