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“Shaq Challenged Him”: Zion Williamson’s 40-Point Performance vs Lakers Earns Him ‘Superstar’ Badge From Charles Barkley

Advait Jajodia

“Shaq Challenged Him”: Zion Williamson’s 40-Point Performance vs Lakers Earns Him ‘Superstar’ Badge From Charles Barkley

The New Orleans Pelicans suffered a tough 106-110 loss against the Los Angeles Lakers in the play-in game, per Despite the Louisiana side’s loss, Shaquille O’Neal and the entire TNT crew were impressed by the outing that Zion Williamson had. With the player recording 40 points in the first-ever non-regular season appearance of his career, Charles Barkley was so impressed he went as far as to call the 23-year-old a “superstar”, despite mocking him on countless different occasions in the past.

Following the second play-in game of the night, Barkley revealed his admiration for Williamson. Apart from lauding the two-time All-Star, Chuck also empathized with the latter for not receiving help from his teammates. The analyst also disclosed how Shaquille O’Neal demanded Zion to go off for a 40-point game before the bout tipped off, and how the star, despite his young age, promptly lived up to it in perhaps the most important game of his career so far, recording 40 points, 11 rebounds and 5 assists (per The following is what he said on the matter, per ‘NBA on TNT’.

Charles Barkley: “They got no chance of beating the Kings without him. I think tonight, this is my first time I said ‘yo man, this dude might be a star. This dude might be a superstar’. Because he was dominant, he was explosive, it was fun to watch. He got n0 help from the guys who are supposed to be giving him help… Shaq challenged him before the game, saying ‘yo man, it’s about time you do your thing’.”

Shaquille O’Neal: “Yeah, ‘give me 40 (points)’. I was very impressed. I hate to see him go down like that.”

With the Kings defeating the Warriors in the 9-10 play-in game, De’Aaron Fox and Co. will battle it out against Willie Green’s boys in a bout for the final remaining playoff spot. However, with Zion Williamson potentially missing the tie with soreness in his hamstring, neither Barkley nor Shaq has too much faith in the Pelicans.

New Orleans has not disclosed any more details about Zion’s injury so far. Hoping that he hasn’t reaggravated the hamstring injury that caused him to miss a large part of the 2022-2023 season, fans will be eager for an update.

Zion has three days to recover from the injury. If he manages to suit up for the crucial encounter, the New Orleans side will have a great shot at making it to their second playoff appearance in seven years. However, whether or not that will happen remains to be seen.

Post Edited By:Tonoy Sengupta

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Advait Jajodia

Advait Jajodia


Advait Jajodia, a seasoned NBA journalist, has had a passion for the game for over a decade. His journey from admiring Kobe Bryant's precision to being in awe of Stephen Curry's long-range mastery instilled a profound understanding of basketball. With a background as a two-time National-level player, Advait uses his experience on the hardwood to offer insightful analysis. Over three years of dedicated sports journalism has equipped the 21-year-old with a unique perspective, reflected in his prolific portfolio of 3,700+ articles.

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