Accepting retirement isn't an easy feat for an athlete. They're not only losing what they've been so passionate about for all those years, but they're also losing the proactive training regimen that came with it. Most of these athletes had trainers that worked end over end to keep them in tip-top shape. Now, since that has been taken out of the equation, they're only left with the individual willpower and self-discipline to keep them motivated to stay cut and lean.
For many athletes, transitioning back to the pedestrian life can be brutal. They're not mandated to hit the weight room and jack their bodies up until they look like grapefruits anymore. Instead, they are faced with the reality that they no longer have to follow a strict diet anymore. Yep, that juicy triple cheeseburger with a large side of fries and a coke? It's all fair game now.
Because most athletes want to catch up on all the delicacies that they were forcefully avoiding during their careers, they end up splurging. This isn't to say that they didn't eat plenty before, but they were active. That's what kept them lean. Those daily practices burned most, if all, of the calories that they were consuming. With that out of the picture, their drive just disappears. It's safe to say that most retirees would rather spend time in front of the television than outside running suicides on a blistering day. It's just not going to happen.
This list covers retired athletes that put on more weight than they should have throughout the course of their retirement. Reasonably speaking, a retiree should no doubt enjoy their time off. They've earned it after all. But these athletes just took the phrase "larger than life" way too far.
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15 Tonya Harding
Tonya Harding's infamous scandal with rival skater Nancy Kerrigan shook the nation when it first occurred back in 1994. After being stripped of her U.S. Championships title and being banned by the USFSA, the widely publicized ice skater resorted to a short-lived boxing career, which ended miserably.
It should not be surprising to see that the once fit Harding has packed on some extra baggage. Figure skating is no easy feat after all. It's been said that this sport can burn anywhere from 500 calories and up per hour. After dropping this recreational activity out of her daily routine, her body started filling out, for a lack of better words.
14 JaMarcus Russell
Considered one of the biggest busts in NFL history, the former quarterback moved on to bigger and better things, like stuffing his face with Krispy Kreme donuts until he started to look like an offensive lineman. At least the guy is enjoying his retirement.
Coming into the league, Russell's oblong figure was already one of the biggest worrying factors for his coaches. You can even contribute that to one of the reasons why he fell out of the NFL. At the scouting combine, Russell weighed 265 pounds. By early 2013, he plumped up to an incredible 300 pounds. Remember that rumored comeback that he was planning that same year? Well, that never panned out the way it wanted to. Former esteemed quarterback Jeff Garcia even put him through a grueling workout process to try and get his confidence back. No teams wanted him and the "well-rounded" quarterback eventually fell back into obscurity. Poor guy.
13 Scott Mitchell
The former unheralded quarterback was known for backing up legendary quarterback Dan Marino. Although his career never blossomed even under the tutelage of Marino, Mitchell still got to play with the likes of Barry Sanders, Rod Woodson, and even sat in with Don Shula during quarterback meetings.
What you may all remember Mitchell for, besides his relatively under-performing NFL career, was his appearance on the hit show, "The Biggest Loser". Upon retirement, Mitchell relieved himself of the mandatory training days and instead consumed unhealthy foods on a daily basis. After succumbing to this lack of dieting, he eventually found himself weighing steadily at 366 pounds, prior to the show. It just goes to show that life after the NFL can bring some pretty hefty consequences.
12 Roger Clemens
The former MLB pitcher known as the "Rocket", had an illustrious, as well as controversial, career that defined who he is today. After exploding onto the scene in the mid-80s, Clemens was a force to be reckoned with. His valiant game-winning efforts almost made him a genuine hero if it weren't for his blood-boiling immeasurable attitude. The guy was a beast, and he was also in relatively good shape.
Then, his weight started to increase throughout his various team stints. People started to believe that he was overweight, overpaid, and over the hill. It didn't help that after retirement, Clemens abandoned his workout plans and started getting a bit rounder around the edges. Honestly, the guy is starting to bear the shape of the mound that he pitched on for more than two decades.
11 O.J. Simpson
Everybody knows the story of O.J. "The Juice" Simpson. Once heralded for his football skills is now incarcerated as we speak. Now, it's safe to say that "The Juice" pretty much let go of everything related to exercise, just look at his weight progression over the years. His pudgy appearance had plenty to do with his eating habits during his jail stints.
The disgraced running back's unhealthy binge eating landed him in the 300 club at one point. Maybe all those pork n' beans and ice cream did the trick, or maybe it's even the guilt -- although highly unlikely. His disregard for any sort of relatively stable diet blew him up like a balloon. It doesn't help that his once well-built legs are now substantially weakened due to all those years on the playing field. The future doesn't look too bright, or light, for the guy.
10 Ken Griffey Jr.
Griffey Jr's impact on the game of baseball was undeniably massive. The 13-time All-Star was a dominating force in his prime and is considered by many to be one of the greatest players to ever step on the baseball field. Besides, he has all the accolades to prove it.
During the back end of his career, it was hard not to notice that Griffey Jr. let go of his once-slim build. In 2010, the guy looked like he was chasing Prince Fielder's gut. Retirement didn't help much either. Griffey was never the most dedicated fitness and it caught up to him in retirement. You have to admit though, no double-chin can ever take away that electric trademark smile.
9 Magic Johnson
The former Showtime-era great is doing some big things in his post-playing days. Everything from closing major business deals with his investing company to advocating for a cure for AIDS, Johnson's been more active than ever. Well, not exactly physically active.
After retiring back in 1996, the legendary point guard hung up his shoes for good. He also hung up the need to stay in basketball-ready shape too. Really, what's the need anymore? Johnson, now 56 years old, is still under continuous treatment for HIV. His weight gain could be attributed to the medication that he's currently on, which is completely within reason.
8 Kevin Stevens
This name may not ring a bell for non-hockey fans. The former NHL forward was one of the faces of the Pittsburgh Penguins during the early-90s. Oh, and you can't possibly forget that decimating blow he took from Rich Pilon during the pivotal Game 7 of the '93 series. Ouch. The guy literally needed over 100 stitches to reconstruct his face.
After retiring and falling into obscurity, Stevens clearly let himself go. At his prime, Stevens was a 6-foot-3, 230-pound superstar. Nowadays, he is looking more like a member of the Italian mafia. I would bet my money that if Stevens were to reenact that infamous collision with Pilon in his present-day weight, there would be a much different outcome -- think train versus bicycle.
7 Michael Jordan
The legendary shooting guard was in the best playing shape of his life during his prime years. The guy was not only a monster on the hardwood, but he was also dedicated to keeping himself in the best physical shape possible -- as evidenced by all the greatness he displayed during his career.
After retiring, the former basketball king started gaining a significant amount of weight while he was under the radar. Without the continuous calorie-burning exercises and workouts, along with dominating his fellow peers on the basketball court, he started "rounding out" and looked less like the physical specimen that we all knew and loved him for.
6 George Foreman
Historically speaking, boxers tend to gain weight throughout their careers. Sometimes it's to thrust them into the next weight class, or it could be for endurance purposes. Whatever the case, the extra muscle certainly doesn't hurt them, especially for "Big George" Foreman.
When he finally retired, Foreman was already looking pudgy. It wasn't until he finally started enjoying retirement and becoming fully focused on his salesmanship to market his "lean, mean, fat-reducing grilling machine", did he start becoming reminiscent of a bowling ball. Honestly, even at his current age, I doubt many people would want to join him in the ring for a spar. He could still knock the pants off of someone without question.
5 Diego Maradona
The retired Argentine footballer was known for his exceptional ball control, vision, and reflexes during his prime. He was also known for his relentless drug abuse during and after his career. It's remarkable that the man is still standing on his two feet after all that he went through.
There have been few footballers in the history of soccer that had what Maradona had. No, I'm not talking about the "speedy coffee" and the obesity scare, but his gift to carry an entire team on his shoulders. Seriously, in his prime, the guy was dominating the game. Upon his retirement at age 37, Maradona's weight started to increase rapidly due to all the abuse that his body took during his love affair with drugs. At one point, Maradona was so overweight that he was at risk of losing his life and was forced to undergo a gastric bypass operation -- now that's a scary thought.
4. Shaquille O'Neal
Shaq was always known as being a hefty player during his 19 seasons. But, that played to his advantage throughout the course of his career as evidenced by his dominating paint presence that he displayed night-after-night.
Previously, the 7-footer's lackluster weight management skills were always causing headlines. Remember when Kobe called out Shaq for being out of shape and lazy? Well, it seems like his weight issues carried over to his retirement days too. Currently working as an NBA analyst alongside former NBA greats, it's tough not to notice how retirement has added some extra baggage to his already stout physique.
3 Mike Scioscia
If you look at the manager great during his playing days, it's hard to believe that he looks the way that he does at his current weight. It's hard not to miss him in the dugout though. I mean, he kind of sticks out like a sore "gut".
To his credit, Scioscia has been actively eating healthier. His change in diet and the incorporation of routine exercise has led to him trimming down a bit over the years. The guy still has a ways to go in regards to his asymmetrical appearance but thankfully, the buttons on his uniform won't have to hang on for dear life anymore.
2 Charles Barkley
Sir Charles, needless to say, was always a chubby wrecking ball throughout the entirety of his professional basketball career -- Auburn included. But after retiring back in 2000, it seems that Barkley just keeps adding to his already hefty frame.
Known always as the "Round Mound of Rebound", what Barkley lacked in height (6-foot-6) he made up for in rebounds. The guy was an unstoppable force, there's no doubt about it. His post-career days, however, are a completely different story. Even when paired next to Shaq on the postgame show that he currently serves as an analyst on, he still looks bulky. You would even think that they are in the same weight class as each other.
1 William "The Refrigerator" Perry
There is a reason why Perry was given the nickname that we all know him by today. The former Chicago Bears defensive tackle was larger than life, and the best part about it was that he embraced it.
When he retired in 1996, things only started to go downhill. He struggled with his post-playing days and ended up skyrocketing up to 400 pounds. His bulldozing days as a situational fullback are from over. They've been replaced with binge eating and a lack of a diet. With the threat of morbid obesity looming over him in the coming years, here's to him getting back on track with a healthier lifestyle so he can flash that million-dollar smile with confidence again.
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