Basketball is a sport filled with genetic freaks (the average height for an NBA player is roughly 6’7”, about half a foot taller than the average NHL player). And most of these vertically blessed athletes are in great shape, because, after all, basketball players are constantly running around and working up a sweat (just watch a post-game interview and you’ll see all that sweat rolling down their faces). The New York Daily News reported that NBA players can run upwards of 2.72 miles per game, which is more than twice the distance the average NFL cornerback and wide receiver runs, and much more than baseball players (although there’s really no surprise there). So with all that running, you’d think it would be impossible to be out of shape at the highest level of the sport, but somehow players—and some of the best players of all time—have managed to pull it off.
These guys challenge the notion that you have to work hard and be in great shape to be a professional athlete. Apparently you just need to be talented (and freakishly tall, of course).
A few interesting things to note about this list: Of the 15 players, only one is a guard, whereas the rest are centers and power forwards, and most are around 7’0” tall. Unsurprisingly, many of the players on this list saw their playing days cut short by injuries, but some of them managed to have long, productive careers. Most of these players hovered around 300 lbs., but some reportedly came dangerously close to 400 lbs. Unlike the list of the 15 fattest NHL players, some of these guys aren’t just big by professional sports standards; they’re big by any standards. A few of them might even be considered obese.
Here’s the list of the 15 fattest NBA players of all time. Let us know if we missed anyone.
15 Shaquille O’Neal
Shaq, who was listed as 325 lbs. at the end of his career, wasn’t always heavy (well, he was always heavy, but he wasn’t always as fat). In fact, in his early years with Orlando he was fairly lean. But with each passing year in the league it seemed as though he packed on a few more pounds. By the time he joined the Celtics he was pretty huge. Still, it didn’t stop him from becoming one of the best basketball players in the history of the game. He is 7th all-time in points scored, 7th in blocks, and 13th in rebounds.
14 Sim Bhullar
Sim Bhullar is a giant in every sense of the word. At 7’5” and 360 lbs., he’s one of the all around biggest players in the history of the NBA (the guy makes Shaq look small in comparison). Born in Toronto and raised in Brampton, Bhullar, who is of Indian descent, played ball at New Mexico State University and was picked up by the Sacramento Kings after the draft. He’s currently playing in the D-League for the Toronto Raptors’ affiliate.
13 Charles Barkley
Hall of Famer Charles Barkley rivals Shaq went it comes to fat basketball legends. He’s taken a lot of heat over the years for his weight, and in 2007 he was challenged to a race by the much older, yet fitter, Dick Bavetta, who was in his late 60s at the time (Barkley ended up winning, but not by much). Thanks to Weight Watchers, Barkley, who was a five-time all-star and 1993 MVP, has lost a considerable amount of weight.
12 Eddy Curry
The Bulls had high hopes for Eddy Curry when they drafted him 4th overall straight out of high school. While he put together a few pretty good seasons, he didn’t exactly live up to expectations. One of the things that might have held him back was his weight. There’s a reason they called him “Baby Shaq.” But unlike Shaq, Curry was unable to reach greatness, which prompted O’Neal to comment on the comparison by saying: “I was a little big but I was still putting up historical numbers. If he wants to get that next contract he’s going to have to go to the New York Athletic Club three times a day and just ride the bike.”
11 Glen Davis
Glen Davis, who is listed at 6’9” and 289 lbs., earned the nickname “Big Baby” because of his large, soft body (and also because he’s been known to whine). He’s been big his entire life. In fact, when he was 9 years old, he was so big that he had to play with the older kids. Legend has it that when he was just a teenager, he got in a wrestling match with 325 lb. Shaquille O’Neal at an LSU camp and apparently lifted and body slammed him to the ground.
10 Ray Felton
At 6’1”, Ray Felton is the shortest guy on this list. He’s also the only point guard. To be fair, he only weighs roughly 200 lbs, so he’s far from obese. But he does look a little chunky for the position that he plays. A photo floated around the Internet in 2012 showing Felton at a basketball camp with a noticeably protruding stomach. He’s since trimmed down a bit, but it hasn’t helped his game all that much. He’s averaging just 9.4 points per game this year with 3.4 assists as an occasional starter for the Mavericks.
9 Jahidi White
Jahidi White’s career was plagued by injuries, and as a result he only played seven seasons in the NBA, finishing with 5.9 points per game total. He might not have been injured so often if he was in better shape. At 6’9” 290 lbs, he looked like some sort of monster on the court, which is probably why he was cast as a giant alien in the Sci Fi Channel TV Movie Showdown at Area 51.
8 Stanley Roberts
According to some, Stanley Roberts had the potential to be one of the best centers in the game. Sports Illustrated compared him to fellow LSU player Shaquille O’Neal (they also compared him to Fat Albert). But things didn’t exactly work out for Roberts in the NBA, and a big reason for that was his poor conditioning. He was notorious for being out of shape, weighing as much as 345 lbs. He was often injured throughout his short career and was banned at one point for violating the league’s drug policy (as SI notes, he smoked weed throughout his time in the NBA).
7 Michael Sweetney
Michael Sweetney was listed at 275 lbs. during his playing days, but by the looks of it he weighed well over 300. After being drafted 9th overall out of Georgetown University, where he averaged an impressive 18.2 points per game, Sweetney spent just four years in the NBA before being let go. His weight problems were often discussed in the media during his time in Chicago, and it undoubtedly led to his inability to make it at the pro level. He’s currently playing ball in Uruguay, and footage of him would suggest that he’s bigger than ever.
6 Greg Ostertag
Greg Ostertag is the poster boy for big clumsy white basketball players. For the most part, the Utah Jazz put his size (7’2” 280 lbs.) to use on defense, as he was seen as a liability on offense, never managing to average double-digit points per game in a single season. Despite not being much of a player, he helped lead the Jazz to a winning season every year and became something of a fan favorite. After his NBA days came to an end, he had a short stint in the D-League for the Texas Legends, sporting a few extra pounds.
5 Bryant Reeves
Bryant Reeves kind of looks like Greg Ostertag’s slightly heavier brother. Reeves was nicknamed “Big Country” because he grew up in a small town in Arkansas, but it’s also a pretty good descriptor of his physical appearance. At 7’0” and somewhere around 300 lbs., he was an absolute galoot on the court. He played his entire career in Vancouver and had a few good seasons, but weight problems and injuries brought a premature end to his career.
4 Jerome James
Jerome James is perhaps best remembered for his time in Seattle, starting 80 games at center for the Supersonics during the 2004-2005 season. James has had an interesting career. Before joining the NBA, he toured with the Harlem Globetrotters, and after his first season, he played briefly in the Yugoslav Basketball League. Near the end of his career, he was traded to the Chicago Bulls, but he never played a game with the team. However, a photo of him in a Bulls uniform shows that he had gained a considerable amount of weight.
3 Robert Traylor
You don’t get a nickname like “Tractor Traylor” for no reason. To say the least, Robert “Tractor” Traylor was a big man, weighing well over 300 lbs. at one point. Like so many big players before him, Traylor’s career was cut short by poor conditioning. He was cut by the New Jersey Nets before the 2005-06 season because he failed the team’s physical examination. Tragically, Traylor passed away at the age of 34 from a heart attack. He was playing pro ball in Puerto Rico at the time.
2 Zach Randolph
Zach Randolph has had a long and successful career in the NBA, being named to two all-star teams and recording an impressive 17.0 points per game through 15 seasons. All of this despite not being the most athletic looking guy. At roughly 260 lbs., he’s far from the heaviest guy on this list, but you can tell just by looking at him that he’s not in good shape. He’s often sweating heavily and looks out of breath. But at least he has a good sense of humor about it. Back in 2015, he went on Jimmy Kimmel and read the following mean tweet: “Zack Randolph is not so much IN basketball shape. Rather he IS a basketball shape. Yes, I just called him fat #sports.”
1 Oliver Miller
Oliver Miller. "The Big O." He's more famous for being fat than he is for having been a basketball player. Most of the players on this list only struggled with weight for a few years, but Miller was big (and not just strong big, like Shaq, but flat out fat) for his entire career. Somehow his weight didn't seem to hold him back very much, as he had a lengthy career in basketball that extended well after his last game in the NBA. He was listed at 315 lbs. but some say he got up to roughly 375 at one point, roughly 50 lbs. heavier than Shaq but four inches shorter.