The Pelicans Went To War On Twitter After Stephen A. Smith Said Zion Williamson Was All About Burgers

Stephen A Smith
New Orleans Pelicans

Stephen A. Smith is somebody I’ve really come around on. I can grasp that he cashed in a respectable career as an NBA beat reporter to loudly yell on TV for millions of dollars per year. Good for him. I can just sidestep First Take and enjoy the delights of his independent show, where he 100% commits to answering any and every ridiculous question lobbed his way.

When it comes to retired athletes, or those currently affiliated with professional sports teams, who come at media members with the, “YEAH, BUT DID YOU EVER PLAY IN THE LEEEEEEEAGUE!?” argument, I kind of scoff at it. Many of us plebs with slightly above average athletic ability had a reality check, probably quite early in life. We realized we couldn’t dream of cracking the top 1% of the top 0.1% of people on this planet who can make a living as an athlete. So here we are, covering sports and doing our best to chase that passion in a different lane, all the while championing the people, cities, and teams millions of people care for so much.

With all that said, this Old West duel between Stephen A. Smith and whomever is at the helm of the New Orleans Pelicans Twitter account is absolutely captivating.

As he’s wont to do on the four-letter network, Stephen A. got on ESPN today and poked fun at Pelicans star Zion Williamson for his diet.

Full transparency: I’m guilty of doing this myself as recently as last weekend while reflecting on the fact that, for the second year in a row, the Slam Dunk Contest was won by Mac McClung, a non-NBA player. Having a dude like Zion Freaking Williamson in the Dunk Contest would single-handedly revive interest in the NBA’s All-Star Weekend.

Anyway, that’s beside the point. The Pelicans caught wind of Stephen A. throwing shade at Zion, clipped together a highlight reel of Stephen A’s athleticism (or lack thereof), and set it to his infamous rant on how much of a bum former No. 1 draft pick Kwame Brown was at basketball.

This sh*t was sending me.

Now here’s the next fun little bit: Stephen A. replied! He had the classic story about how he could’ve been much better as an athlete if not for a “devastating” knee injury.

Not saying I don’t believe Stephen A. It’s just funny that he got defensive at all and decided to stage a counterattack of sorts. Hell, he didn’t do half-bad of a job. Every washed-up athlete has some version of a what-if scenario. It’s all good. Stephen A. found his way to great success in the sports industry. He should be commended for it. It’s his job to talk for a living, and lo and behold, he did that in very entertaining fashion. Not only on the ESPN segment, but with this Twitter retort.

“What’s y’all excuse for never winning anything???” SAVAGE.

Here was the last reply from the Pels:

It’s true, though — the Pelicans haven’t won anything. And honestly, the human wild card that is Zion Williamson is who all of New Orleans’ championship hopes hinge on.

We’ve seen Zion stay on track with his diet before, only to regress, or get injured and then regress in that department to compound all his issues. No denying that Zion is a transcendent talent. When he’s engaged, nobody can stop him. Never has there been a player with his blend of size, strength, distributing ability, and raw athleticism. JJ Redick did a great breakdown recently about how Point Zion is on the rise.

The Pelicans are on a 6-1 run in the last seven games Zion has played. He’s coming into his own more as an all-around playmaker, and still has plenty of room to improve his jump shot and his overall defensive play. There’s no question New Orleans has a strong core of players who could easily make a deep playoff run, but the likes of Brandon Ingram and CJ McCollum are known commodities. Zion is the X-factor whose ceiling is seemingly whatever he wants it to be.

So I get Stephen A’s skepticism. Zion has missed a ton of games to start his career, yet this season, he’s suited up for 45 of 56 contests. That’s a pretty good clip for most big-time players around the league in the era of load management. Nobody’s going to be Allen Iverson and play 82 games while averaging almost 43 minutes a night. Those days are long gone. We’re getting the best we’ve seen out of Zion since he entered the NBA. For the sake of basketball’s future, I hope that continues, because it’s guys like Zion who are going to help the NBA rebound in an era where the NFL dominates the sports news cycle even during its offseason.

Some very funny reactions came from this Stephen A-Pelicans social media war of words. Do enjoy a collection of those on your way out. What a saga!

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock