We're in an era of sports where being out of shape is unacceptable considering how high the standards are to stay competitive. However, all across sports you find out of shape players that still have excellent athletic abilities and sometimes use their impessive weight to their advantage.
More often than not, players that are out of shape are held to a higher standard. One does not see an abundance of players in the middle of the pack or at the bottom that have weight issues. In fact, just about every name on this last is near or at the top of their sport. It is not uncommon to see a baseball player be overweight and be successful. Take C.C. Sabathia for example, who claims that the extra weight helps his game and keeps him strong. On the flip side, others such as John Daly, who have remained competitive, never really prospered or reached their full potential.
Some of the best nicknames in sports have come out of poking a little fun at an overweight player. Does anyone remember Jared Lorenzen, aka “The Hefty Lefty” or “The Pillsbury Throw Boy”?
He was a pretty incredible athlete too, just check out this video.
Growing up, we all had that one friend who made us wonder, how the hell is he doing that? Typically when we think of the best athletes we automatically think muscular and trim. However, there are a handful of players who have played at their best while still being a little bit out of shape and a lot of those guys make this list.
20 Jeroen Verhoeven
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. That is probably what Jeroen Verhoeven’s motto is. Since he 's playing in nets, it is a little bit easier for Verhoeven to get away with being out of shape, as there's far less running involved and he can recover while the ball is on the other side of the field. He stays quick and agile enough to manage his weight and be a contributing goalie. Though it is pretty uncommon to see players actually make it on the field at as a heavyweight in soccer, Verhoeven has had a fairly successful career as one of soccer's larger players.
19 Andre Smith
Throughout Andre Smith’s career, he has come into training camp having to battle weight issues and many wondered if the former first rounder would be a flop because he couldn't get himself into shape. Being a large mountainous man is usually the goal for NFL offensive lineman, but generally teams have a goal playing weight for most players to keep that allow them to play at their best. Though this year reports are that Smith is doing strenuous workouts to keep his weight down, it hasn’t always been that way and pictures like this one can find their way on to the internet.
18 Eric "Butterbean" Esch
There have been many out of shape boxers to have success throughout the history of the sport. When someone has the ability to knockout their opponent quickly, they don’t need to rely on stamina and endurance to outlast the other fighter. That is exactly how Eric “Butterbean” Esch found his rise to fame. Also nicknamed “The King of Four Rounds,” Esch never had to rely on anything other than his powerful fists to win him bouts. He hasn't fought in a couple of years, but he hasn't officially retired either, which allows us to sneak him onto this list.
17 Phil Mickelson
Being at the top of his golf game in a time where Tiger Woods was also in his prime had to have been frustrating for Phil Mickelson. Often named in the same sentence, the two have been inseparable for almost twenty years. Constantly in Tiger’s shadow, the golfer known as “Lefty” also pales in comparison to Woods physique. While Woods has one of the best bodies in the world, Mickelson has been playing with a little extra throughout his career.
16 Tony Stewart
Some people believe that it doesn’t take much stamina to race in NASCAR, but if you look across the sport, you will find very physically fit and athletic humans. There has even been a recent trend of former NFL and college football players jumping to the sport to work for team's pit crews. However, if you look at Tony Stewart, the last thing you think is athletic. If you don't believe us, he's been referred to as the most out of shape driver in NASCAR by fellow driver Carl Edwards.
15 Bartolo Colon
One could say that Bartolo Colon is shaped a bit like Buddha and Colon, much like Buddha, is very proud of his belly. One of the longest tenured players in the league, Colon, unlike the consistency in him being out of shape, has had a very up and down career. When he is at his best, he's pitched well enough to win a Cy Young Award. At his worst, Colon would have some of the worst pitching stats in the entire MLB.
14 Glen Davis
Coming out of LSU, the properly nicknamed Glen “Big Baby” Davis drew comparisons to Shaq because of his size, though he'd never end up matching O'Neal in terms of skill. Upon making it to the NBA, Davis was pressured to keep his weight down, even having a clause in his contract that would earn him a bonus if he made weight. Davis struggled early in his career to make weight, but recently has managed his size pretty well and has been a solid role player for a number of teams throughout his career.
13 John Daly
John Daly hasn't been shy about his laidback, partying lifestyle. It was common to see Daly light up a cigarette while playing in a tournament on national television. Regardless of Daly’s live free or die attitude, he's won a number of touranments and made a career for himself on the PGA Tour, though he's never brought home a major championship. However, there have been low points, like when he was so overweight that he was forced to have lap band surgery.
12 Sebastian Janikowski
When you think of a 250 pound athlete, you don't generally think of an NFL kicker. However, that is just about the weight that Oakland Raiders kicker Sebastian Janikowski carries around. Known for kicking bombs with a booming leg, including a record tying 63-yarder that he booted on Monday Night Football in 2011, "Seabass" use that weight to his advanatage. Kicking threes from 60+ yards isn’t the only thing the man known as “The Polish Porkchop” does well, as he's also known for getting rowdy in bars.
It is hard to imagine a professional soccer player being out of shape. However, after an achilles injury in 2011, that is exactly what happened with Adriano, striker for Brazil’s Corinthians soccer club. Left immobile, Adriano put on a serious amount of weight. In 2012, he was put on a special training regimen by his coach to lose the weight. Once a promising young player for the country of Brazil, Adriano never got back to the shape or mobility he had when he was younger.
10 Prince Fielder
Big is beautiful, which is probably what landed Prince Fielder on the cover of ESPN The Magazine’s Body Issue. Once paired with fellow listmate Miguel Cabrera, to form one of the best 3-4 hitter combos in baseball, Fielder is one of the larger players in the MLB. The son of former MLB slugger Cecil Fielder has managed to not let the extra mass interfere with his play. Though he has always played a little on the bigger side, Fielder has not only slimmed down a bit since being traded to the Texas Rangers, but he says that he is in the best shape of his life.
9 Jameis Winston
Remember when the picture of Jameis Winston’s belly hanging over his gym shorts at his pro-day went viral earlier this year? The entire sports world was abuzz with crab leg jokes and worry of how Winston could allow his body looking to look like that right before the combine. The gut didn’t seem to worry scouts too much as Winston was drafted first overall in favor of the much less controversial Marcus Mariota. Winston has since stated that he has been working hard to get the weight off for the start of training camp.
8 Vince Wilfork
Some players like Vince Wilfork may look like they are out of shape because of their pear-shaped bodies, yet still be in great shape. Wilfork is one of those few that have pulled it off. It is an art for a defensive lineman to maintain a size that makes it hard for opposing linemen to block, yet be strong and agile enough to get around them, and then carry that weight on a sprint to the quarterback.. for four quarters.
7 B.J. Raji
NFL defensive linemen are some of the biggest humans on the planet, but weighing a monstrous 335 pounds is big for any human being. B.J. Raji has carried that weight very well and is one of the most athletic defensive tackles in the NFL. He has even intercepted a few passes, including this one that helped lead the Packers to the Super Bowl and also produced one of the best touchdown celebrations of all time.
6 Zach Randolph
Points and Rebounds aren’t all that Zach Randolph is gluttonous for. The 6’9’’ forward has carried around a heavy form since he playing days at Michigan State. A perennial NBA All-Star, Randolph has helped keep the Memphis Grizzlies in the championship hunt for the past five seasons with his smooth shot and ability to command the paint. However, the 260 pounds that he is forced to carry around prevent coaches from being confident in Randolph’s defense late in close games, at times hurting his teams in the playoffs.
5 Pablo Sandoval
The man they call “Kung-Fu Panda” because of his physique that is similar to the asian bear, Pablo Sandoval has struggled to stay in shape for most of his career. Though during his playing days with the San Francisco Giants, Sandoval often came into camp a bit heavy, he showed to up to Red Sox camp this year looking worse than he ever has. Some have even questioned if the World Series MVP may have lost interest in the game after getting paid. However, his numbers at this point of the season put him on pace to have about the same stats as last year, so maybe the panic was unjustified.
4 Miguel Cabrera
Throughout Miguel Cabrera's career, the media has questioned his weight and lifestyle choices. However, the two-time AL MVP has done everything in his power to prove that his frame has nothing to do with his game. In 2012, our generation's greatest slugger achieved the first Triple Crown in 45 years. He has also received at least a percentage of the MVP vote in every season he has played. Some imagine what he could have accomplished he not gone from a rookie that weight 185 lbs. to the 240 that he weighs today, but they should just be grateful to be watching such a masterful hitter in his prime.
3 Angel Cabrera
Unlike many golfers today who hire nutritionists and keep their bodies in tip top shape, Angel Cabrera ignores the trend and sticks to what works for him. Which is having a large belly to anchor his swing rather than well trained muscles. The Masters Champion is said to have eaten nine cheeseburgers to celebrate the major tournament win. Can you blame the guy? After accomplishing such an impressive feat, you should be able to eat whatever you want...though nine cheeseburgers might be a little excessive.
2 C.C. Sabathia
When C.C. Sabathia showed up to Yankees training camp this spring, he weighed in at 305 pounds, 30 pounds more than he had when he arrived the previous season. However, according to ESPN, the move was on purpose. According to Sabathia, the extra weight allows him to “feel a little stronger.” The former Cy Young winner did post weak stats in 2014 at the lighter weight, but it appears to be more of a decline in ability, as Sabathia is doing just as poorly this season.
1 Phil Kessel
The only hockey player to make this list, Phil Kessel recently ran himself out of Toronto because of his lazy attitude towards training and keeping himself in shape. In 2014, he admitted to Sportsnet that he skated “maybe ten times all summer.” Much like the outcome Kessel had with the Boston Bruins, the Toronto Maple Leafs highest paid and most talented player was shipped to Pittsburgh this offseason, in order to clear some space for younger and harder working guys. The good news for Kessel is that he gets to play with actual NHLers now.