One would think that if a person sprinted up and down ninety-two feet, shuffled their feet laterally side to side, and did the equivalent of fifty lunges every other day, it would be impossible for someone to be overweight. Yet, this is enigmatically something that plagues professional NBA players even though they burn a thousand calories each time they practice and play in games. Some of the more weight conscious players in the league, such as Kevin Love, have their own chefs and trainers that give them a diet plan and monitor their caloric intake because of how susceptible they are to gaining weight. Love had a history of weight issues in college, in addition to his first couple of years in the league, but after hiring a chef and implementing yoga into his offseason regiment, Love shed a lot of his baby fat and became the rebounder that he is today.
But by in large, most NBA players are not as weight conscious as Love, neither do they have their own chefs, and therefore, the temptation professional athletes face for eating savory foods with no caloric discrimination is a temptation that is difficult to flee from. I think everyone can understand that.
Paradoxically, then, it is easy to understand why some players in the league consume six to seven times more than what they can burn off. Furthermore, as players get older and older, it gets harder and harder to take the weight off as your metabolism slows down. For example, Shaq ballooned to well over 325 pounds when he was in the latter part of his career, and he was no exception. The following list of players are current NBA players that are battling weight issues despite being some of the most athletic professional athletes in the world.
*Stats are correct as of Febuary 3rd, 2014
15 Jabari Parker, Height: 6’8, Weight: 240 lbs.
Why in the world is a rookie that is only 19-years-old and the number two pick from this year’s draft on this list? The reason for that is because when you look at Parker’s body he still has a lot of baby fat on him. The reason why Parker only averaged 12.3 points per game this season (he's currently out for the year with an ACL tear), despite being the most dominant college player in America, is because he could not handle the speed of the NBA game. Now, of course, that happens to every rookie in the league, but not to rookies that are supposed to be the unanimous Rookie of the Year.
14 Raymond Felton, Height: 6’1, Weight: 205 lbs.
Felton has battled weight issues for the majority of his career and in this Golden Age of point guards, speed is as valuable a commodity as talent is. Unfortunately, Felton has struggled to keep up with opposing point guards over the past few years and at the age of 30, he has now been regulated to the bench on the Dallas Mavericks. This season, Felton is averaging a paltry 2.7 points per game and 1.4 assists per game, as a backup to the infinitely more athletic Rajon Rondo.
13 Chris Kaman, Height: 7’0, Weight: 265 lbs.
The 11-year big man is still productive when he plays, even though he has added a bit of weight over the years. With Robin Lopez out for the past few weeks, Kaman has capitalized on his playing time by averaging 9.3 points per game, 6.9 rebounds per game, and 0.9 blocks per game. Kaman has never been an explosive type of player that played above the rim, so his game has not taken on a major hit with his age and weight.
12 Kevin Seraphin, Height: 6’10, Weight: 278 lbs.
The 25-year-old still has some baby fat attached to him. Seraphin is already 278 pounds despite being only 6’10. As of right now, he is able to compensate for his weight with his youth, but Serphin is on the fast track of being out of the NBA if he doesn’t do something about his weight some time soon. This year, he is averaging 7.0 points per game, 3.6 rebounds per game, and 0.6 blocks per game. Seraphin is still developing as a player and could easily be a better rebounder if he shed 20 to 25 pounds.
11 Zach Randolph, Height: 6’9, Weight: 260 lbs.
Even when Z-bo was a rookie, he was still a below the rim player, but that doesn’t mean that he was ineffective. Even at the age of 33-years-old, Z-bo is still averaging 17.1 points per game, 12.1 rebounds per game, while shooting a very respectable 50.3% from the field. Even though Z-bo does more lay-ups than dunks, he creates so much space with his girth that his shot doesn’t get blocked too often. If you know how to use your weight right, sometimes it plays in your favor.
10 Boris Diaw, Height: 6’8, Weight: 250 lbs.
Some call him the Big Croissant, but Boris Diaw wasn’t always this big. At one point, he was a tall and lanky point guard out of France that was being experimented as the next Magic Johnson. However, after a few dark years in Charlotte, Diaw began to gain a considerable amount of weight. Since then, Diaw has always wrestled with weight issues. In fact, the San Antonio Spurs have incentives built into his contract, that if he is a certain amount of weight by mid-season, he will get a healthy bonus.
9 Anthony Bennett, Height: 6’8, Weight: 245 lbs.
To his credit, Bennett has lost a considerable amount of weight since his rookie year last year. However, the former number one pick is still a bit on the heavier side. This explains why Bennett has always been a bit out of position. He doesn’t possess the height to be a power forward, yet he doesn’t possess the speed to be a small forward in today’s up and down game. So far this year, Bennett is averaging 5.4 points per game and 3.9 rebounds pr game.
8 Jared Sullinger, Height: 6’9, Weight: 260 lbs.
Sullinger fell to the Boston Celtics with the 21st pick in the first round. The reason why Sully fell so far in the draft despite having such a successful collegiate career is because the big man had back problems. A part of the reason for those back problems is due to all of the weight that Sullinger has to carry on him. Sullinger may be able to carry this type of weight because his legs are still fresh at the age of 22, but once he gets into his late twenties, it will not be so easy.
7 Chuck Hayes, Height: 6’6, Weight: 240 lbs.
The 31-year-old is not the heaviest player on this list by any means, but proportionately, he may be the heaviest. The reason why Hayes has always been able to play center despite being only 6-6 is because he knows how to use his size so well. His weight allows him to possess an abnormally strong low center of gravity that makes him almost immovable. In his limited minutes with the Raptors this year, Hayes has averaged 1.8 points per game, 1.6 rebounds per game, and 0.2 rebounds per game.
6 Nikola Pekovic, Height: 6’11, Weight: 295 lbs.
The 29-year-old big man is one of the thickest players in the league because of his size and strength. He was a late second round pick for the Timberwolves and has exceeded expectations in his career, even averaging 17.4 points per game last year. This season, Pek is averaging 12.4 points per game and 7.5 rebounds per game, but only 0.3 blocks per game. Pek has never been a formidable shot blocker because he cannot get off the ground with all the weight that he carries. If he shed about 20 pounds, it could do wonders for the longevity of his career as he turns 30-years-old next year.
5 Andre Drummond, Height: 6’11, Weight: 279 lbs.
Drummond is still only 21-years old, so even though he is a big boy, he still possesses a lot of athleticism. However, one day all of this weight is going to be a lot harder to jump with, unless Drummond starts doing something about it right now. As players get older and older, it only gets harder and harder to shed weight, so this is something that Drummond must start working on right now. This season, Drummond is averaging 12.4 points per game, 12.9 rebounds per game, and 1.8 blocks per game.
4 Kendrick Perkins, Height: 6’10, Weight: 270 lbs.
This season, Kendrick Perkins has assumed a bench role in favor of Steven Adams. However, Perkins has never really been a stat filler anyway, so his numbers have not taken on a major hit. This season, Perkins is averaging 4.0 points per game and 5.6 rebounds per game. Since Perkins has always been more of a banger due to his size and weight, he uses his body quite well to get position down on the block.
3 Roy Hibbert, Height: 7’2, Weight: 290 lbs.
Hibbert has been battling weight issues his entire collegiate and NBA career. To his credit, Hibbert has lost a significant amount of weight over the past two years, however, he still carries with him a lot of weight, which is why he labors so hard up and down the court. At 7-2, Hibbert is able to use his height to his advantage, despite possessing very little athleticism. This season, Hibbert is averaging 11.2 points per game, 7.0 rebounds per game, and 1.8 blocks per game.
2 Dejuan Blair, Height: 6’7, Weight: 270 lbs.
In many ways, it is a miracle that Dejuan Blair is still in the league. The reason why the big man fell to the San Antonio Spurs as the 37th pick in the second round in 2009 was because he has no ACL’s. Most experts believed that he wouldn’t last longer than three years in the NBA. Yet, here he is in his fifth year in the league. Having said that, Blair has always suffered from some serious weight issues, which put a lot of stress on his knees. Although he has lost a considerable amount to help lessen the pressure, Blair needs to shed a few more pounds, if he is going to make up for his lack of size.
1 Glen Davis, Height: 6’9, Weight: 289 lbs.
Big Baby has been on the heavy side his entire career, so the fact that he has played seven years in the league already is a testament to his natural talent. On the other hand, Davis is a professional bench warmer at this point in his career. If Baby put in a little bit more effort into losing weight, he could easily be a serviceable big man for a contender because he has always possessed a high skillset. But Baby, like you and me, has always loved food just a tad bit more than basketball.