Charles Barkley had some thoughts on talk of Duke basketball Zion Williamson and how he should sit out the remainder of the year to prepare for the NBA Draft. The discussion was regenerated after Williamson suffered a knee injury in the Blue Devils’ marquee game against UNC on Wednesday night.
Williamson went to plant his foot when his shoe exploded, causing him to fall awkwardly. He was unable to return to the game with what many believe to be a minor knee sprain.
But while many are saying Williamson should never suit up at the collegiate level again, Barkley wasn’t having it.
Barkley blasted the idea Thursday night on TNT’s Inside the NBA.
“When did we get to the point where all people care about is money? Shaq played college for two years — three. Kenny played for four, I played for three, Michael Jordan played for three, Tim Duncan played for four, David Robinson played for four,” Barkley noted. “Some of the greatest players ever — Wilt Chamberlain, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson — played. When did we get to the point where you’ve got clowns on television saying, ‘Oh, don’t play.’ That’s what you do, Ernie. That’s what we do. We play basketball.
“I don’t ever want to see anybody get hurt. This kid looks like he’s going to be a fantastic player. But I get so mad when people act like money’s the only thing that matters in the world. Like, ‘Oh dude, you’re going to go in the NBA. Don’t play.’ I mean, that’s ridiculous.”
Barkley also shared his thoughts on what he thinks could have caused the freak accident, saying that he heard Williamson has been wearing the same Nike sneakers all season.
“I hate the people who are trying to talk about Nike,” Barkley noted. “Yes, I’m on Nike’s payroll. We don’t have no problem with our shoes. We have about the best shoes ever. This was a fluke thing, or our shoe would do that all the time. The rumor now is he’s been playing in the same pair of basketball shoes all year. You don’t do that. I used to switch up every week.”
At a bluechip school like Duke, there is plenty of gear available so it would be odd if Williamson truly was wearing the same sneakers all season long. The good news, however, is that Williamson avoided serious injury and is listed as day-to-day.