It is no secret that being a successful athlete takes more than a passion for sport. In the world of sports, it takes a specific type of athlete with the ability to excel in the profession, whilst managing a strict fitness guideline and the strength to be a force to be reckoned with. However, while many of these athletes focus on their physiques and keeping their head in the game, there have been countless sportsmen who have proven that they can reach the highest levels of their sports profession, despite having a soft-spot for calories or merely being 'big-boned'.
In saying that, it is easy to make a list of the largest athletes throughout history. However, instead of focusing solely on the size of the following athletes, this list displays the most impressive, successful current athletes who have not just learnt to live with being larger than other players- they have used it to their advantage to become some of the most well-known, respected athletes in the industry.
Something that many people do not realize when it comes to large athletes in the world of sports is that there is a vast difference between being an overweight sports enthusiast and being a stand-out player that can use their sizable bodies to dominate in their profession. Some of the most successful athletes in the history of sports have been larger and overall stronger than those seen in fitness magazines and sports covers. Furthermore, particularly in sports such as football and wrestling, being a larger athlete is automatically a massive advantage in the profession, because of their strength and sizable nature.
Thus, here is a list of the 15 largest athletes in the world, who not only have fought their way through their profession to become the most well-known athletes in their line of sports, but have proved that being an athlete doesn't necessarily involve agility and strict diets. Rather than just list people from one particular sport, we've decided to list a couple of the largest athletes from different sports.
15 John Scott, San Jose Sharks
This longtime NHL enforcer has made a living out of pummeling smaller guys, while bringing his own brand of justice to the rink. Over the course of his seven year career, Scott has amassed 517 penalty minutes in 274 games, giving him an average of 1.88 penalty minutes per game, and a lot of those PIMs were fighting majors. Scott stands at 6'8" and what sets him apart from other NHLers who are the same height is his weight, as he checked in at 270 pounds, making him on of the largest athletes in NHL history.
14 Zdeno Chara, Boston Bruins
If you're a hockey fan, you should've definitely expected to see Big Z on this list. The giant force stands at a towering 6'9" and weighs in at 255lbs. After struggling to adapt to the NHL game in his first few years with the Islanders, Chara began to dominate with Ottawa before becoming the best shutdown defender in the league with the Bruins. He's a Norris trophy winner and a Stanley Cup winner and is fully deserving of those honors.
13 Hasheem Thabeet, Grand Rapids Drive
Hasheem Thabeet, a Tanzanian professional basketball player currently plying in the NBA's D League, is one the larger athletes playing pro ball today. Sadly, his career hasn't turned out like he hoped after he was drafted second overall by the Grizzlies. The 28 year old Thabeet towers in at an amazing 7’3” and 263 pounds, but hasn't been able to translate that to success in the big leagues.
12 Sim Bhullar, Sacramento Kings
This Canadian born basketball player is the tallest active player in the NBA, standing at a staggering 7'5". He's currently signed with the Sacramento Kings, though he only say action in three games this year where he managed a grand total of two points. Bhullar is in the history books of the NBA though, as he's the first player of Indian descent to make an appearance in the league. He's also the sixth tallest player in NBA history, give him another spot in the history books.
11 Jonathan Broxton, Milwaukee Brewers
Jonathan Broxton is a pure power pitcher as he packs every ounce of his weight into every pitch he throws. While he's not as tall as other entrants on this list (he stands at 6'4"), he's one of the heavier players in the league, at a whopping 305 points. Broxton's best seasons are behind him (he once amassed 106 saves over five years), but he's still pitching in the majors for the Milwaukee Brewers.
10 Nate Freiman, Oakland Athletics
Switching gears from the diminutive, but large Jonathan Broxton, we have first baseman Nate Freiman. Currently playing for their AAA affiliate, the Nashville Sounds, Freiman hasn't been astounding at the major league level, with a .256 batting average and 39 RBIs. Freiman is a presence at the plate, standing at 6'8" and 250 pounds, making him one of the largest players in the MLB.
9 T.J. Barnes, New York Jets
Weighing 364lbs and standing at 6'7", former Georgia Tech defensive tackle T.J. Barnes is one of the largest players in a league where being large is commonplace. Currently playing with the New York Jets, Barnes is part of one of the better defensive groups in the league. While his stats are not eye-catching, his size helps the team in the run game and he still has the potential to grow, as he's only 24 years old.
8 King Dunlap, San Diego Chargers
King Dunlap is a monster of an offensive tackle for the San Diego Chargers, standing at 6’9” and 330 pounds. Drafted 230th overall by the Eagles, Dunlap has had a solid NFL career this far. At the moment, Dunlap is currently in charge of protecting his team’s beloved quarterback, Philip Rivers, for the San Diego Chargers, where he's been for the last couple of years.
7 Peter Crouch, Stoke City
When thinking about large football players, any fan of the European game would immediately think of Mr. Roboto himself, Peter Crouch. The English striker hovers over defenders at a huge 6'7" and uses every bit of his height when trying to poach goals in the box. Crouch has featured for the National team, along with notable English clubs like Liverpool, Tottenham Hostpur and Southhampton.
6 Kristof Van Hout, Delhi Dynamos
Known to be the tallest active footballer on the planet Earth, Kristof Van Hout is a 6'10" goaltender who plies his trade in the Indian Super League for the Delphi Dynamos. Though he's not a well-known commodity across Europe, he has played for some notable clubs, including Belgium's Standard Liege and Genk. Though he must not have much lateral movement, I wouldn't try to sneak a corner kick by him at the near post!
5 Craig Smith, Golf
It's difficult to determine who the "largest" golfer might be, as most of the taller golfers are slim, while the heavier golfers seem to be a little bit shorter. So, we decided to go with the alleged tallest professional golfer in the world, as he looks like he still packs a few pounds in that huge frame. Standing at 6'8", Smith isn't a well-known golfer and hasn't won any notable tournaments, but he' definitely aware of his size as his Twitter handle is @craiggiantsmith.
4 Julius Long, Boxer
When your nickname is The Towering Inferno, you must be a pretty big dude. Checking in at 6'9" and 300 pounds, Long is easily one of the biggest boxers in the world. Sadly, that size hasn't translated to great success, as he has an unimpressive record of 16-17 with 14 KOs. In 2013, Long broke a nine fight losing streak, when he beat Jason Williams in New Zealand.
3 Ivo Karlovic, Tennis
In a sport filled with tall, slim players, Karlovic stands a little bit above the rest. He's a huge 6'11" and weighs 230 pounds to go along with it. The Croatian born tennis player currently sits at 27th on the World Rankings and has won six career singles titles, with none of them being major events. He reached the peak of his career in 2008, as after winning four events in the space of a year, he reached the 14th rank in the world.
2 Big Show, WWE
Firstly, it should be obvious that wrestler should be considered athletes. It takes huge athletic ability to do what they do in the ring, so there should be no disputing this selection. Also, there are several huge wrestlers that this list could've just included them, so we decided to only include the largest active on our list. Big Show, once named The Giant in WCW, is listed at 7'0" and 450 pounds on WWE.com and is one of the most accomplished wrestlers on the current WWE roster.
1 Hong-Man Choi, MMA
Fighting out of South Korea, this 34 year old MMA fighter both towers over most of his opponents, while outweighing them as well. At an astronomical 7'2" and 352 pounds, Choi is one of the largest athletes in the world, let alone just MMA. Though he currently sports a losing record of 2-3, he'll have a chance to even that up in July, when he'll be fighting Carlos Toyota, who's nearly a foot shorter than him at 6'3".