There is no question it takes an elite, well trained athlete to make it in the National Basketball Association. If you have ever watched, or have been a part of a high level basketball practice, you quickly realize the bulk of the time is spent running and improving cardio conditioning. There have been some large men throughout the years in the NBA; players like Robert "Tractor" Traylor and Oliver Miller come to mind immediately.
When you make it to the NBA, you not only take your training to the next level, but you also take your bank account as well. Most players in the NBA are earning well over nine figures, some even eclipsing 10 and 11 figures throughout their careers. With income like that, it is easy to understand how a player could put on a few pounds after retiring. As a player, it is easier to keep the weight off. You are constantly working out, playing in games, and during the off-season, many players have extensive workout regiments as well. But, once the time comes to hang em up, and call it a career, that is when players find themselves packing on the extra meat.
This list will illustrate the dangers of being rich and having the ability to eat whatever you want whenever you want, without a proper workout routine.The following are 15 NBA players who got fat after retirement.
15 Yao Ming
The freshly Hall of Fame-minted Yao Ming kicks off the list. The 7'6" Chinese big man retired in 2011 and surely has packed on the pounds since. Yao had an incredible impact on the globalization of the game during and after his career. He still travels the world promoting the game of basketball and his following has stayed steady even after his retirement. His career was cut short due to injuries, largely due to his freakishly tall and large body. Ming has reportedly put on 50 pounds of extra weight since his retirement. In his 14 years in the NBA, Yao made eight All-Star teams, and five All-NBA teams.
Ming is a legend in his home country of China; he also is a legend around the world for his contributions and philanthropy. Yao has also participated in many charity events during his career, including the NBA’s Basketball Without Borders program. He also serves as Global Ambassador for the Special Olympics, and after the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, Yao donated $2 million to relief work, and created a foundation to help rebuild schools destroyed in the earthquake.
14 Don Nelson
After a very successful high school career at Rock Island High School, Nelson played for the University of Iowa as a two-time All-American averaging 21.1 points and 10.5 rebounds a game. He was drafted 19th overall by the Chicago Zephyrs, who later became the Washington Wizards. Nelson bounced around during the early years of his career, spending time in Los Angeles and then Boston after leaving Chicago. After his mini tour around the NBA, he landed with the Celtics. This is where he would find his niche. Nelson would help the Boston Celtics to five NBA championships during his 11 years in Bean Town. Nelson even had his number retired by the Celtics franchise. After a successful playing career, Nelson would go on to have a great coaching career that spanned over four decades. As his career resume got larger and larger, seemingly so did his gut.
Nelson, like many people would, got much heavier after his days as a player. In his days with the NBA, however, he was always able to keep things in check and get the job done like the true professional that he is.
13 Lamar Odom
Lamar Odom came into the NBA at a lean 220. He had the body of a power forward, but when required, he could play at point guard. He had a lot of range, stemmed from the fact that he was lean and in shape. However, Odom eventually started facing personal demons and that's probably what contributed to his weight gain. In addition to bad eating habits, Odom has also struggled with alcohol and drug problems. We all remember the story last year of him being found in a brothel. His wife Khloe Kardashian called off the divorce from her husband temporarily as she assisted him in getting better.
Odom has since recovered quite well and has brought his weight back down closer to his NBA weight. At one point, he had ballooned up to 260.
12 Mark Jackson
Jackson has had an interesting career in basketball. He is one of the most overlooked point guards in league history. He ranks in the top five in career assists, and was a major part of some great teams in his playing days. After being one of the best point men in the game, Jackson became a great television play-by-play guy along with Jeff Van Gundy. As his stock rose and teams began to court Jackson as a coach, he was approached by a Golden State Warrior franchise looking to find a mentor for young stars Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. Jackson was the man they wanted, and he was more than excited about the job. After leading the team back to relevance, the Warriors promptly fired Jackson in favor of Steve Kerr, and the following season, the Warriors were crowned NBA champs, with Jackson stuck watching the game from the sidelines, more accurately calling the game for ABC from the sidelines. As his professional life has been a roller coaster ride, it is no wonder his weight may rise and fall as well, but since his time as a player, Jackson has clearly put on more than just a couple pounds.
11 Baron Davis
Baron Davis was once one of the most athletic players in the entire NBA. The dunk he had over Andre Kirilenko in the playoffs in 2007 is one that will be on highlight reels for the rest of time. Now age 37, Baron is not even a shell of his former self. He retired from the game in 2012 and tried his hand and broadcasting, looking to follow in the footsteps of Charles Barkley and Shaquille O'Neal; however, he may have followed a little too closely. Davis tried to stage a comeback to the NBA last season when he played in the D-League for part of the year. Hopefully for his sake, he hangs 'em up for good this year and enjoys his time away from the game. During his career, Davis was a two-time All-Star, led the league in steals twice, and was the 1997 Gatorade High School Player of the Year.
10 Eddy Curry
Eddy Curry is one of the biggest busts in NBA history. Coming out of high school, Curry was looked at as a can't-miss prospect. He was drafted 4th overall by the Chicago Bulls in 2001. His rookie season was not as exciting as he, or the Bulls, would have liked, but in his second season, he led the NBA in field goal percentage, and in his third season he led the team in points-per-game, on their way to a playoff berth. Unfortunately, Curry was forced to miss the last 13 games of that season and the playoffs with an irregular heartbeat. After a messy and scary fight to comeback and play, Curry was sent to the New York Knicks. His career fizzed out after that and he was never able to regain his form that looked so promising early on.
The cardiac issues could very well have something to do with Curry's weight gain. When he entered the NBA in 2001, he was listed at 7'1', 275 lbs, but he recently was reported to be tipping the scales at 360+ lbs. That is not healthy, and for his own sake, Eddie Curry needs to get his life and his weight back in check.
9 Derrick Coleman
Coleman was a monster during his collegiate days with the Orange of Syracuse. In 1991, the New Jersey Nets drafted Coleman first overall, and it appeared the beleaguered franchise was headed in the right direction. During his rookie season, Coleman lived up to the expectations set for him after being such a dominant player on the collegiate level. After being named rookie of the year, Coleman drew comparisons to some of the greats in the game, including Karl Malone, and Charles Barkley. What Coleman appeared to have going for him was the ability to shoot a consistent three-point shot. However, after a few years in the league, it became apparent that Coleman was not as interested in being a great player or winning, as he was about relaxing and cutting corners whenever possible. That lifestyle transitioned with him as he got into retirement.
8 Joe Dumars
At 6'3, Dumars was never the biggest guy on the basketball court. He entered the league in 1985, after averaging 26 points per game during his senior season at Mcneese State University. Joe had a stellar NBA career, including six All-Star appearances, two NBA Championships, and one NBA Finals MVP Award. Also, in 1995, Dumars was the first player to be given the Sportsmanship Award, an award that is now given annually to the player with the best character. After his playing days were through, Dumars found another challenge; he had to find a way to fill the void left by the game. He, like many of his peers, went into the front office world. In 2000, he became President of Basketball Operations for the Detroit Pistons, and after two seasons, he won the Executive of the Year Award. In 2004, he became the first African-American General Manger to win an NBA Championship. It is somewhat easy to understand how a man with so much success could put on a few pounds.
7 Antoine Walker
After winning an NCAA Championship as a sophomore at Kentucky in 1996, Antoine Walker appeared to be a shoe-in for at least. The Boston Celtics believed so when they used the 6th overall pick in the draft to select Walker. In his rookie season, Walker led the Celtics in points (17.5) and rebounds (9.0). The Celtics drafted Paul Pierce in 1998. The team did well with Pierce and Walker as a 1-2 punch but they were never able to get over the hump in the Eastern Conference. Ultimately, the Celtics decided to trade Walker to the Mavericks, which seemed like the beginning of the end for Walker.
However, after being sent back to Boston, he found himself part of the biggest trade in NBA history, which involved five teams. Antoine ended up landing with the Miami Heat, and along with Shaquille O'Neil and Dwyane Wade, he would help lead the Heat to the NBA title in 2006. After the 2006 season, Walker's career pretty much fizzled out and he began to have many troubles off the court, including the addition of some pounds.
6 Metta World Peace
Metta World Peace is not retired from the NBA, but there was a point recently when he was out of the league and playing in China. While he was away from the NBA, Artest kept himself busy, including a stint on Dancing With The Stars. While on the show, Artest weighed in at around 270 pounds, much higher than the 230 he was when he first came into the NBA. Ironically World Peace returned to the NBA this past season, playing on one of the worst Lakers teams of all time. He's still a UFA now and his NBA career is once again up in the air. You wonder if he'll find a way to maintain his weight when he officially does retire from the game of basketball.
5 Dominique Wilkins
"The Human Highlight Reel" was once the face of high-flying, gravity-defying, NBA superstars. He and Michael Jordan are responsible for saving the Slam Dunk Contest and creating a new breed of rim attacking athletes. During his playing days, Wilkins tipped the scales at 224 lbs. Currently, Wilkins is rumored to be closer to 260. Wilkins, it seems, has no problem with his weight and he has demonstrated he is still capable of strapping it on. In his 50s now, Wilkins has won the NBA's "Shooting Stars Competition" which pairs a retired player, a WNBA player, and a current NBA player in teams of three and pits them against other like teams. Wilkins was a nine-time All-Star, seven-time All-NBA selection, and in 1986, Wilkins led the NBA in scoring. With his resume, Wilkins is entitled to pack it on, after all, as he did give us some of the greatest moments in basketball history.
4 Shawn Kemp
Paired with Gary Payton, Shawn Kemp is part of one of the greatest 1-2 combos to never win an NBA Championship. "The Reign Man" as he was dubbed, was basically Blake Griffin before Blake Griffin, he dunked on the competition with reckless abandon and routinely made an opponent question all their life choices to that point. Kemp spent eight years in Seattle battling for a title, coming up just short to Michael Jordan and his historic Bulls team in 1996. After the Sonics, Kemp went to Cleveland, where he began to put on weight in bunches. He ended his career in 2003 well over his weight with the Sonics.
After retiring, Kemp went back to the Northwest and settled in Seattle and bought a bar. Kemp would be seen frequently at the establishment, enjoying the privilege of his stardom. Aside from the weight gain, Kemp seemed to have many issues that could have been causing stress in his life, and many times stress causes weight gain.
3 Magic Johnson
Showtime himself! Magic Johnson was the slender 6'9" athlete coming out of Michigan State in 1979. Drafted first overall by the Los Angeles Lakers, Magic was just that: Magic, from the jump. In his rookie season, he, along with Kareem Abdul Jabbar, would lead the Lakers to the NBA championship. In fact, Magic would lead his team to nine NBA Finals appearances in his first 11 years, with his teams going 5-4 in those appearances. After testing positive for HIV in 1991, Magic held a press conference to announce to the world what he had found out, and ultimately Magic was forced to retire from the game of basketball. During his first few years away from the game, Magic didn't change much in his appearance, and he began to get a bit healthy in 1996, when he attempted a comeback to the NBA. The comeback was short-lived, but did have its share of ups and downs. Making it official and final in '96, Magic called it a career. After that point, Magic began to get round as he entered his 40s and 50s.
2 Shaquille O'Neal
Shaq was the most dominate force the NBA has seem in a long time, if not ever. When he entered the NBA as the number one overall pick by the Orlando Magic, Shaq weighed under 300 pounds. Coming into the league, he was built more in the mold of David Robinson, but as he progressed in his career, he found a comfortable weight that enabled him to use his body as a weapon more so than before. Once Shaq began using his body as a weapon, he amassed some of the greatest stats in NBA history, including 15 All-Star games, two scoring titles, three Finals MVPs, and four championships. It was obvious O'Neal would be the type of player to gain weight after retirement, though, as he was known for his lack of motivation for practicing and working out even during his playing days. No matter how big he gets, however, Shaq will always be one of the funniest ex-players around.
1 Charles Barkley
As a player, Barkley was nicknamed "The Round Mound of Rebound," implying he was not all that skinny as a player. Charles has, however, found a way to add at least 50 pounds to an already husky frame and it's noticeable. Since retiring, Barkley has been an outspoken commentator for various networks over the years. It seems the older he gets, the more he becomes the old man from the movies, yelling at the neighborhood kids. As he gets fatter, the stereotype fits more and more. To be fair, Barkley was one of the greats of his generation, and many believe he is one of the all-time great players to have never won an NBA title.
Although he never won an NBA championship, Barkley does have two Emmy Awards for Best Studio Analyst. Much like his contemporary on and off the court, Shaquille O'Neil, Sir Charles must be smarter than he looks.