Charles Barkley gives Pelicans’ Zion Williamson a lesson on how to fall in the NBA: ‘Don’t be stupid’

A potentially scary moment for New Orleans Pelicans star Zion Williamson Thursday night provided a teaching moment for NBA legend Charles Barkley. 

During Thursday’s broadcast of the Pelicans-Kings game, the “NBA on TNT” crew was discussing what initially looked like a serious injury for Williamson. 

Zion Williamson on court

Zion Williamson of the New Orleans Pelicans against the Sacramento Kings during the first half of a game at Golden 1 Center April 11, 2024, in Sacramento, Calif. (Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Williamson, who was sidelined a week earlier with a bruised left finger, went down late in the second quarter with what appeared to be a left wrist injury. He was driving to the net when he fell and put his arms down to catch himself. 

He headed back to the locker room and later returned, but not before Barkley offered some advice. 

“Do not catch yourself, man. I hate when players do that. Fall on your a– or something,” Barkley said. 

CHUCK barkley

TNT basketball analyst Charles Barkley on air before an NCAA Tournament Final Four game between the Purdue Boilermakers and the North Carolina State Wolfpack at State Farm Stadium April 6, 2024, in Glendale, Ariz.  (Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

Shaquille O’Neal then encouraged the 61-year-old Hall of Famer to demonstrate. 


“Show us. Show me right now. Fall on your a– right now,” Shaq said laughing.

Barkley complied.  

“Don’t be stupid. Your body is too much – it’s got too much force,” Barkley added. “You’re going to break your finger or your wrist. Fall on your a–.” 

Zion Williamson dribbles

New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson (1) drives against the Sacramento Kings during the second half of a game Thursday, April 11, 2024, in Sacramento, Calif. The Pelicans won 135-123.  (AP Photo/Benjamin Fanjoy)

Williamson returned to score 23 points in the second half and 31 total to help the Pelicans beat the Kings 135-123. He scored 26 Friday night to beat the Golden State Warriors 114-109 and help boost New Orleans’ playoff positioning. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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