Zion Williamson's Trainer Says Pelicans Star 'in Fantastic Shape' Following Criticism

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 19, 2022

NEW ORLEANS, LA - APRIL 28: Zion Williamson #1 of the New Orleans Pelicans smiles before Round 1 Game 6 of the 2022 NBA Playoffs on April 28, 2022 at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)
Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images

New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson is looking to return to stardom after working with personal trainer Jasper Bibbs this summer.

"He's in fantastic shape," Bibbs told William Guillory of The Athletic. "He's been committed to putting in the work day in and day out. I'm really proud of what he's been able to accomplish. He's a better athlete now than he's ever been."

Williamson was always an elite athlete, helping him earn an All-Star selection in his first full season in the NBA. He averaged 27.0 points and 7.2 rebounds per game in 2020-21 while shooting 61.1 percent from the field.

The problem has been durability—he missed all of 2021-22 with a foot injury and has played just 85 games in three seasons—and his weight at 284 pounds. His new contract with the Pelicans reportedly has a clause that provides incentives based on his weight and conditioning, per Rod Walker of NOLA.com.

There have also been plenty of weight jokes at his expense, which reportedly "bothers" Williamson, per Guillory.

It could be a different story this season.

"(His body composition) has improved at an extremely high level," Bibbs said. "That’s all I'll say."