Unless you’re a sumo wrestler or an offensive lineman, professional athletes are not supposed to be overweight. If your full time occupation is to be in shape, maintain a great body, run up and down a field or court, and practice or play in games 5 times a week, it would be difficult to even try to gain weight. Think about the amount of calories you would have to consume to gain weight, while you were working out 5 times a week. And I’m not talking about the healthy kind of weight that you gain by having more muscle than fat. I’m talking about the unhealthy kind of weight that you gain by consuming so much fast food that you could feature a commercial for them.
For athletes, their body is their temple. Their full time job is not only to make sure that they have certain skills, but to make sure that their bodies are in tip top shape. And to be fair, most athletes are in phenomenal shape.
LeBron James looks like a 6’9” Hercules and Serge Ibaka looks like Adonis. By all accounts, most NBA players are human specimens, but of course, there are always some outliers for everything. When players first enter the league, they can get away with eating McDonald’s before games because they are still 19-years-old, but as players get older, those habits and taste buds can be very difficult to change when players age. Some players do have chefs to help them control the amount of calories they consume and to make sure that they are eating clean food. But many players do not have personal chefs, unless you consider Ronald McDonald and Wendy as one.
The following NBA players are the heaviest that have ever played the game of basketball. The only condition to this list is that they must have played for at least 3 NBA seasons. There are some players that were heavier, but they only played in 1 or 2 NBA seasons and less than 82 games. This is a list of the heaviest players that have proven that they could play with players that were literally half their weight.
10 10.Gheorghe Muresan – 303 pounds
At 7 foot 7, Gheorghe Muresan was one of the tallest players to ever have played in the NBA, so this is one of those scenarios where a player weighs a lot because he is so tall. The 30th pick in the 1993 draft quickly became a fan favorite in Washington and the entire country for that matter, for his size and personality. Muresan was your quintessential gentle giant.
Despite, being so tall and heavy, Muresan was able to play 6 seasons in the NBA and even averaged an impressive 14.5 points per game, 9.6 rebounds per game, and 2.3 blocks per game in his 3rd season in the league. Muresan was not just a tall player that stood around trying to block shots. He was fairly good at collecting garbage points and a decent rebounder as well.
In fact, he won Most Improved Player in the 1995-1996 season and he has always been in the upper echelon for players with the highest field goal percentage. But perhaps Muresan’s most prestigious feat was not on the court, but off the court. Muresan starred in a movie with Billy Crystal called “My Giant” where Muresan obviously played the role of the giant.
9 Dexter Pittman – 308 pounds
Dexter Pittman was selected with the 32nd pick of the 2010 draft by the Miami Heat. Pittman just finished his fourth year in the league, but has already played for five different teams, along with two different stints with the Miami Heat. Pittman has only averaged 2.3 points per game and 1.8 rebounds per game up to this point in his career, and he looks he will be the 12th man on whatever team he plays for however long his career lasts.
This past season, Pittman was signed by the Atlanta Hawks on a day 10 day contract, waived by the Hawks, signed by the Houston Rockets for the rest of the season, and the waived by the Rockets right before the playoffs started.
It is remains unclear whether or not Pittman will even be in the NBA next year, but he does have some skills and decent size, but he is going to have to shed 30 pounds or so to be able to get back on the court again.
8 T7. Mengke Bateer - 310 pounds
The Mongolian big man who played for China eventually made it to America following the footsteps of players such as Wang Zhi Zhi and concurrently playing with Yao Ming. Bateer was one of the best players in China, but when he arrived in the States, he realized just how big the competitive gap really was. The language and cultural barrier was not the only thing that Bateer had to overcome, the NBA game was just too different from what Bateer was accustomed to.
7 T7. Yao Ming - 310 pounds
At seven foot six inches, being 310 pounds is not necessarily overweight, but that is a whole lot of weight for any person to carry. It is no coincidence that Yao ended up having some major foot problems in the middle of his career. Being big and tall is almost a pre-requisite to becoming a NBA player, but at a certain point, one can be too big and tall for the NBA. And Yao’s head was in another stratosphere compared to everyone else’s. Still, Yao had a brief, but an amazing career. In many ways, he was the segue way for the NBA to enter into Asia, a feat that made the 7’6” big man even bigger in stature.
6 T5. Robert Traylor - 320 pounds
Robert “Tractor” Traylor had so much hype come outing of the University of Michigan that the Milwaukee Bucks traded Dirk Nowitzki to the Dallas Mavericks to get him. Traylor was always on the heavy side, but once he got into the NBA, his weight got a bit out of control. The sixth pick in the 1998 draft was selected before players such as Dirk Nowitzki and Paul Pierce, but he was never able to become the Baby Shaq that many thought he could become.
The big fella only played 7 seasons in the NBA where he averaged only 4.8 points per game and 3.7 rebounds per game. At just 6’8” the Tractor could not afford to put on the excess weight that he gained throughout his career. It made an already slow player, even slower. Traylor was able to utilize his size when he was younger, but as soon as he ballooned to 300 plus pounds, his lack of athleticism made him too much of a liability on defense.
5 T5. Kevin Duckworth - 320 pounds
Duck was a two-time All Star and won the Most Improved Player in the ’87-’88 season. The big fella had a very solid 11-year pro career. When his weight was south of 300 pounds, Duckworth was a very effective player. In his 5th year in the league, he averaged an impressive 18.1 points per game and 8.0 rebounds per game. However, as he got older, he began to go north of 300 pounds and as a result, he lacked the quickness to really be the same type of scoring threat that he once was.
4 Michael Sweetney - 348 pounds
The 9th pick in the 2003 draft was supposed to bring some grit and toughness to the New York Knicks, but he was a bit too soft and pudgy to really be the type of bruiser that the Knicks were used to with the likes of Charles Oakley and Anthony Mason.
Sweetney only played 4 seasons in the NBA where he averaged 6.5 points per game and 4.5 rebounds per game for the New York Knicks and the Chicago Bulls before finally being waived.
3 Eddy Curry - 350 pounds
Curry was selected with the 4th pick in the 2001 draft right out of high school. The twin tower combination of Eddy Curry and Tyson Chandler had the city of Chicago buzzing with excitement. And by Curry’s 4th season with the Bulls, he was averaging 16.1 points per game and 5.4 rebounds per game. In his 7th season, he was averaging 19.5 points per game and 7.0 rebounds per game for the New York Knicks. Curry was a legitimate offensive threat. However, by his 10th season in the league he was already showing signs of wear and tear on his body. Curry was becoming heavy set and he could not get the type of lift that he was used to getting, which pretty much derailed the rest of his career, since he was already such a poor rebounder and defender.
2 Shaquille O’Neal - 360 pounds
Shaq was pretty thin during his first few years in the league, but once he became a veteran, his zeal for getting in shape during the off season pretty much dissipated. It is not a secret how frequently Kobe criticized Shaq for being lazy in practice and for refusing to train in the offseason like he did. Shaq loved basketball, but not the way that Kobe did. He had other interests in the offseason other than playing basketball (like making bad video games) and sometimes that caught up with him physically. Surprisingly, Shaq was able to stay healthy for the majority of his career, despite being so big. That is until he tore his Achilles in his final year and called it quits.
1 Oliver Miller – 375 pounds
Quite frankly, it is amazing that Oliver Miller was even able to get up and down the court with lightning fast NBA point guards. Most big men struggle keeping up with the fast paced game of the NBA, so it is hard to know whether to applaud the Big-O for being able to play in the NBA or to critique him for being so heavy despite being a professional athlete. But Oliver Miller was able to play 9 seasons in the NBA despite all of the excess weight that he had to carry running all over the court. Imagine wearing a 150-pound vest as you tried to shoot a basketball and that is basically what Oliver Miller had to do versus everyone else.