Charles Barkley has told a story about the conversation he had with Moses Malone during his playing days that inspired him to get in shape. Back in 2021, Barkley brought it up as an example of how someone needs to have a serious conversation with Zion Williamson about taking care of his body — “Somebody’s got to be a grown person down in that relationship and say, ‘Yo, man, you got to get in shape,’” Barkley said at the time.
Fast forward to today and many of the same issues that plagued Williamson in 2021 still exist today, as he only appeared in 29 games during the 2022-23 campaign before he got shut down due to injuries. On a new episode of The Steam Room, Barkley once again brought up his conversation with Malone, and said that he’d love to be the person who has that same conversation with Williamson.
“We’ve never met,” Barkley said. “You gotta get somebody in your ear. I don’t think the coach has enough power to tell you what to do. I don’t think David Griffin, who’s a friend of mine, has enough power to tell you what to do. But somebody gotta tell you like, “Yo, man, you gotta get in shape.” ‘Cause you’re gonna keep getting hurt if you’re out of shape.”
After Barkley told his Malone story and said that he thanks “God every day for Moses,” Ernie Johnson said that Barkley as currently playing that role for Williamson.
“I would love to,” Barkley said.
“I’ve seen dozens of guys eat their way out of the NBA,” he went on to say. “And it can happen quickly, because once you start getting hurt, you’re gonna keep getting hurt. And you’re gonna lose your talent.”