In a surprise appearance on the “Gil’s Arena” podcast hosted by Gilbert Arenas, Williamson spoke about dealing with issues that have limited him to just 114 regular season games in four years. He was asked about eating healthy to stay in game shape.
“It’s hard, man,” Williamson said. “I’m 20, 22, have all the money in the world, well it feels like all the money in the world. It’s hard.
“I’m at that point now because of certain things, I’m putting back the wisdom around me. I don’t want to say older because they get defensive, but I’m putting people around me with wisdom. Put me on game to certain things. And just go from there.”
Williamson is listed as 6-foot-6, 284 pounds.
He said some of his issues go back to having this “invincibility trait” that you feel like nothing can stop you when you’re young. He said he had to think a about the people around him and listen to those who genuinely want to help him.
Williamson played in just 29 games last season after missing the final 45 because of a hamstring injury he suffered on Jan. 2. After initially being expected to make a return around the All-Star break, Williamson re-injured the hamstring and was never able to make it back on the floor.
Prior to the 2021-22 season, Williamson broke his foot and was slated to return during the season but he was ultimately never cleared and missed the entire year.
During exit interviews in April, Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin said that for Williamson to be more available “a big part is on him.”
“I think there is a lot he can do better and he would, I think, tell you that. I think we need to do a better job examining the whole situation top to bottom a little bit better,” Griffin said. “I think putting him in the best position to succeed is important. And I think his participation is a big part of that.”
Williamson himself knows there are more things he has to do as well.
“Like [former Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski] taught me, I have to own up to my responsibilities,” Williamson said. “There are a lot of things I could have done better. I didn’t. I’m in the process of fixing those wrongs.”
“It’s more of locking in on flexibility, band work. I think it’s those things that will be able to keep me on the court longer rather than losing a bunch of weight and coming to play,” Williamson said, crediting James for the inspiration.
In his brief appearance, Williamson wanted to also get one point across — he isn’t missing games because he wants to.
“I’m a hooper,” Williamson said. “When I’m sitting on the sidelines watching my teammates in certain games they’re losing, I know if I was out there I could change the outcome.
“What I want people to know about me is I just want to hoop. I want to be out there. Nobody wants to just sit on the sideline. I think that’s what I want people to understand. I don’t want to be on the sideline. Y’all think I want to sit over there hurt? I don’t.”