NBA athletes are better known for their abnormally human height and crazy athleticism, but there have also been a few NBA athletes that applied a chisel to their bodies and created physiques worthy of a top 20 placement in a Mr. Olympia contest. When we think of a sport like basketball, the first thing that comes to mind is leaping ability - with quickness and agility a close second. But since the days of Wilt “The Stilt” Chamberlain, the game has changed dramatically. Chamberlain might have been considered “jacked” in his era, but latter-day NBAers probably wouldn’t have trouble hanging with Wilt if he played in the modern era in spite of his 7’3" prowess.
Being a world class or professional athlete can mean that being talented and gifted isn’t always enough. We’ve seen it with golf when Tiger Woods displayed his buffed-out body when other golfers ideas of lifting weights was grabbing the clubs out of their SUVs when caddies weren’t around. And in the world of tennis, Serena Williams is single-handedly redefining what might be required for world-domination on clay courts.
Bigger, faster and stronger is a whisper that must beckon every athlete, from the “up-and-comers” to the “top-of-their-gamers.” Give Steph Curry a few more years and I’m sure he’ll be looking like Russell Westbrook. So, without further ado, let's take a look at the Top 15 Most Jacked NBAers. For nostalgic and props reasons, we threw in some former players who were worthy of a spot due to the size of their guns.
15 Blake Griffin
The 2011 NBA Slam Dunk Contest winner already possessed the body of a Greek god coming out of Oklahoma. Known for his rounded-shoulders and NFL torso, Blake could have just as easily suited up for the Sooners football team at defensive end. He stands in at 6’10” and weighs 251 pounds of pure muscle and can leap over cars in a single-bound. He’s definitely built more like a tight-end than a power forward, but after all the outrageous dunks he threw down during the first couple years in the league, he showed he belonged in the NBA. His only downside could be that he’s been considered a ‘soft player’ which belies his well-crafted muscular physique. But as you read on, you’ll see that the NBA is for big boys and having 17” pythons for arms means nothing if you don’t have the heart and attitude to match. With this list, the players had to be jacked-up from the inside and out because those are the ones who get remembered years after they’ve stopped playing.
But with Griffin being only 27, he might mature and develop a dominant game besides his once famous posterizing dunks. And once he sheds his reputation as a flopper for good, then he might earn some respect as one of the NBA’s top “Jacked-up” dudes. But for now, he’ll have to settle for 15th place on this list.
14 Larry Johnson
Who could forget Larry Johnson playing the role of ‘Grandmama’ for a Converse commercial. Seeing Johnson in an old “grandma dress,” complete with salt and pepper wig while palming a basketball and performing an array of dunks caused him to become a cross-over success. Only someone with a body like Johnson's could have pulled it off without ruining his image and being the laughingstock of his locker room. Standing at 6’6” ( 6’7” depending on who you go with) and 250 pounds, it’s safe to say that Larry Johnson could more than hold his own on the court. In fact, it was due to his size and strength that he was able to play the power-forward position despite being undersized. While he played in Charlotte, he teamed up with another hard-body, center Alonzo Mourning, and the two created the NBA’s version of a tag-team. Magazine covers displayed the two flexing their biceps while displaying the youth of their age as the Hornets became the team to watch. Eventually, the rest of the league got big too and Johnson’s body took a beating. He had to retire a bit earlier than usual due to health issues and lingering back problems.
13 Derek Fisher
We had to throw one of the “little guys” early in this list, so that it isn’t dominated only by all the ‘Bigs.’ The former Knicks head coach and Lakers favorite was pretty buff during his playing days. He was known as one of the strongest players during his playing days and if you don’t believe us, search YouTube for footage of D-Fish bulldozing 6’8” LeBron James while running through a James pick. I bet you LeBron learned to anchor down the next time he saw the 6’1,” 200 pound guard coming his way.
Fisher figured out quite early that in order for him to succeed in the NBA, he was going to have to develop muscle to make up for quickness. He became diligent about what he ate by switching to a more clean and natural diet. Then he hit the weight room and built out that physique which was worthy of a Muscle & Fitness article detailing his training regiment. His off-the-court drama might have hurt his image as a tough guy a bit, but we’ll keep his personal life out of it. When Fisher played the point, you knew he was going to create fits for the weaker opponent as he brought a level of physicality to the point guard position which is now be seen throughout the NBA with guys like Russell Westbrook, Jameer Nelson, and even Dwyane Wade. Point guards are no longer the smallest and skinniest guy on the team.
12 Amar’e Stoudemire
If ever there was a player that most guys would like to be like other than Michael Jordan and, perhaps, Tom Brady, Amar'e Stoudemire would have to be that guy. Blessed with good-looks, a smooth demeanor and a cool-ass name, Stoudemire has the body to bring it all together. It’s not often you see someone standing at 6’10” and weighing 245 pounds looking cool in a designer suit or ripped-up jeans. Stoudemire has redefined the idea of a renaissance man. Comfortable on the court, or in the front row of Fashion Week in New York, Stoudemire gets his fair share of attention.
His sculpted body makes him worthy of the NBA’s ‘Most-Jacked’ but what’s more interesting is that he wasn’t always that way. Coming straight out of high school, he was more long and lean than hard and defined. But intense sessions in the Suns' weight room turned him into the hardbody that he is today. He’s broad-shouldered and well-proportioned which gives him an edge over less proportioned big-men. The fact that he has muscles where others didn’t know were, makes him move like a black panther on the court. Google Stoudemire’s dunks and you’ll see a big man throwing it down with vengeance, which is what he became known for. With so many great athletes lacing it up each night, standing out in the league meant creating a body that others would have to take notice. Stoudemire was quick to do that after his rookie season and found his calling card by posterizing anyone who dared to stand in his way to the rim.
11 Dwight Howard
You can almost say that Dwight Howard followed Amar'e Stoudemire’s blueprint to buffness. Both jumped straight from high school to the pros playing the center position, and both stand at 6’ 11” with similarly lean bods. He entered the league he became a marked man, as other big centers wanted to show the young kid what the NBA was really like. But within a few years, Howard learned quickly he’d have to pack on some weight and muscle if he was ever going to live up to his Number 1 overall billing. Since that up and down season, Howard developed the body that became known for its strength.
Howard is so confident in his body and physique that he unofficially crowned himself “Superman.” Now that takes a lot of courage and confidence to consider yourself one of the strongest superheroes in a league full of grown men, but there he was, red cape and all, during the 2008 Slam Dunk contest, which he won. Another reason to have confidence in Howard’s own confidence is the fact that he took the Superman moniker from another equally strong and imposing figure; Shaquille O’Neal. As to who the real Superman is, that would depend on who you ask.
10 Anthony Mason
Another “blast-from-the-past is former Knick and Heat forward Anthony Mason. Mason makes his way onto the list due to the fact that he made it into the NBA based on his muscle. Blessed with neither great shooting ability or amazing handles, he found his way into the league by force. He worked hard to become a big, strong defender and crazy hustler who won the hearts of New York Knicks fans. Standing at 6’7” and 245 pounds, Mason could hang with the best of them and found a place in Pat Riley’s ‘beat ‘em or bruise em’ team mentality. Those who remember his playing days might recall all the scraps and hard fouls he instigated. Back in the mid-90s, the NBA was more NFL than just straight-up hoops and Mason took full advantage of that.
The fact that Mason played for 13 years and made the NBA All-Star team (reserve fill-in), also proves that hard work in the gym does indeed pay off. His heart, courage, intensity and crazy-cut body insured Mason a spot on most coaches rosters who needed a body-guard type player for the Wild-Wild-West type league at the time. But the fact that Anthony Mason could also score when you least expected it was a definite added bonus.
9 Nate Robinson
No NBA ‘jacked list’ would be complete without Nate Robinson’s name on it. The diminutive 5’9,” 180 pound guard is not only well-respected for his heart, courage and outrageous leaping ability (43.5 inches), but also for his cut and compact body. Robinson changed the image of the little man from a cute oddity (“look mom, he’s as tall as me!”), to a force that needed to be wrecked with. After winning not one, not two, but three Slam-Dunk contests, ‘little Nate’ has certainly carved his place in NBA history.
Robinson is the true definition of an athlete as he knows what it takes to succeed in any sport. He actually attended the University of Washington on a football scholarship before deciding to focus purely on basketball. Ever the dreamer, Robinson is now considering playing football again. But when you’re built like a small tank and have crazy abilities (and confidence) like Nate does, people tend to take you a bit more seriously. Robinson was fortunate enough to get a tryout with the Seattle Seahawks though most still consider him a long shot to make the roster. But since Robinson has already defied many odds being a “little guy” in a big man’s sport, anything’s possible.
8 Alonzo Mourning
Sports and athletics are interesting to watch when they are viewed historically. When applying a keen eye out for trends, you can certainly spot them, like the move from the short-shorts of the 70s to the baggy-type shorts of the 90s. And how about the pull-up striped socks to the neatly rolled-down or barely-there socks. When it came to centers, there was the long, tall and lanky centers like Kareem, Bill Walton and perhaps even Patrick Ewing once he came into the league, then there was “Zo” as in Alonzo Mourning. Mourning changed the way the center looked and played. He stood at 6’10,” and 240 pounds, which didn’t make him the tallest center in the league, but he certainly was the most buffed-out center who played during his time. You could also say that Mourning was the first of the new center-type bodies that you see mentioned in this list. When he donned his Heat uniform, he filled it like a linebacker playing center with really broad shoulders and muscular legs and calves. He put his work in the weight room and it showed; 7-time NBA All-Star, 2-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year, 2-time NBA Shot-blocking leader and NBA Champion in 2006.
Mourning’s accomplished career came playing against others who stood 3-4 inches over him most nights. If not for his chiseled arms and built-out lower body to bang against the behemoths he faced daily, he wouldn’t have lasted long in the league. But once he started to get defined, he became a force to be reckoned with. His broad and rounded shoulders were something new back in the 90s, but are pretty typical in most buffed-up NBAers today. This just goes to show how Zo redefined the game by redefining his body.
7 Charles Oakley
Anyone with the nickname “The Oak” has to cut an imposing figure. Charles Oakley was the anchor of the physical New York Knicks teams of the mid-90s. He was the ultimate protector and either the instigator or the punisher of many team scrums. I worked for the Knicks during those years and I never really saw anyone take Oakley head-on. In fact, after meeting the man several times in person, I wouldn’t take him head-on either. If humans were houses, Oakley would be a 10,000 sq. foot mansion. At 6’8” and 245 pounds, the nickname The Oak suited him well. He wasn’t your average 6’8”/245 pound guy because he was built with the thickness of a farm-boy. With hands like catchers mitts and a back you could board up empty doorframes with, Oakley was naturally jacked. Some people have to spend countless hours pressing plates and squatting till their legs fall off, but not The Oak. He only needed to throw on his jersey, flex his muscles and wear that scrowl he always had and you knew to brace yourself when driving down the lane. Oakley is the ideal jacked-NBAer because he had the body, brawn and attitude to match. Few players will probably forget going against Charles Oakley and that’s really saying something.
6 Serge Ibaka
Serge Ibaka had to make this list. Ibaka is from Africa (the Republic of Congo) which isn’t known for having big, tough and jacked-up guys. I don’t think many can argue that Ibaka has grown bigger recently. His jacked-up body always brings a sense of excitement whether he’s ripping a rebound from an opponent’s grasp or rising to deliver one of his trademark rim-rocking dunks.
Ibaka is a 6’10,” 245 pound athlete who puts the power in power forward. Don’t expect to see him hanging out by the perimeter drainage deep-threes, that’s not what he’s built for, even though he's pretty good at it. His job with the Thunder is to get down and dirty and as physical as possible without getting tossed. But don’t get me wrong, we aren’t talking about a scrub who’s out to use up his fouls while frustrating other teams. Ibaka is a three-time NBA All-Defensive Team, two-time NBA Shot-Blocking leader and has medaled twice representing his adoptive homeland of Spain. Serge Ibaka can play. The thing about his game is that it’s almost purely physical and to accomplish all that he has against arguably some of the best athletes in the world says a lot about him and his physical abilities. They don’t call his spot the power forward position for nothing.
5 Lebron James
The King would have placed higher on this list, but I took several factors into consideration when deciding who was the most Jacked-Worthy. King James has had the world at his feet since the age of 15, so he’s had access to the world class of resources - all he needed was the will and desire to get jacked. To his credit, he focused on honing his skills, then hitting the gym like a madman. The results? After four years, we started to see the man-child drop the child part of his physique and show the world what he was capable of. By the time he reached Miami in 2010, he already looked like a mini-version of The Incredible Hulk. Few could argue that LeBron James isn’t one of the most Jacked-Up athletes ever at 6’8” and 250 pounds of proportional chiseled flesh. Once he developed his game to suit his new-found physical advantage, little could stop King James once he turned full-steam towards the rim.
Lately, he’s shed some weight but still has the physique - only more lean and cut. He’s become more health and workout focused, which can be seen in a video of James walking around with a huge tire around his waist. Simply having a nickname like The King means that you have to watch your back all the time, lest someone take away your throne. But with James a part of the past six NBA finals and winning the last one in 2016 with his hometown of Cleveland, I’d say that the King can sleep peacefully at night for now.
4 David Robinson
Another oldie but goodie who deserves crazy respect is The Admiral, David Robinson. This guy came out of the Naval Academy already jacked-up. Maybe it was all those pushups or loading torpedoes onto carriers. Who knows? All we know is that by the time Robinson turned pro two years after sitting out due to military obligations, he was ready to tear the league up and tear it up he did. Though not very big according to big-man NBA standards, Robinson was able to mold his 7’1,” 235 pound body into a mountain of hard rock. He then used his size, strength and athleticism to run rings around less mobile and strong centers around the league. By the time his career was over, he was a two-time Hall of Fame Inductee (regular career and Olympics) and was a two-timeNBA Champion. Not bad at all for a skinny kid who grew five inches since his senior year of high school.
3 Metta World Peace
If you knew nothing about basketball and were told you’d be meeting someone named Metta World Peace, you might expect someone with a multi-colored crocheted hat and perhaps some cool dreadlocks to match. Never in your wildest dreams would you match the name World Peace with a guy who’s 6’6” and 26o pounds of absolute granite. The athlete formerly known as Ron Artest grew himself to be a prototypical NBA player by adding pounds of muscle after two years at St. John’s. Unfortunately, he was once notorious for the infamous, “Malice in the Palace.” But since changing his name to something more peaceful sounding, he managed to overcome his negative image.
World Peace deserves his ranking high on this list due to his dedication and hard work. He’s always been a tireless worker on and off the court and skilled for his position, but he also dedicated himself to becoming a defensive force as well, something a lot of players aren’t willing to do. As a matter of fact, he seemed to take more pride shutting down the other team’s star player than he did in scoring. Defense is a mindset which requires toughness and lots and lots of muscle. You’re not going to shut down Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant or LeBron James simply by denying them the ball. You’re going to have to bring the heavy guns and that’s what Metta World Peace brought each time he laced up his Nikes. Mental toughness, heart, courage and a body that looks like it needs to have a jack-hammer applied to it means you are definitely a jacked-NBAer.
2 Ben Wallace
For those who’ve never heard of Ben Wallace, you’d better look him up. This guy was an absolute Mr. Universe if there ever was one. Wallace had everything going against him coming out of college. Playing ball for Division 2 Virginia Union University (yes, that Virginia Union), he lettered in four sports; football, baseball, basketball and track. He won All-State honors in all but track. On the court, he was known for his domineering defense averaging an incredible 6.9 blocks per game one season. In spite of all the accolades and standing at 6’9” and 240 pounds, Wallace went virtually unnoticed during the 1996 NBA draft. After a short stint in Italy, he was signed by the Washington Bullets/Wizards.
Since being snubbed on draft day, Wallace went on to win a treasure-trove of NBA awards (five-time All-NBA Defensive Team Award, four-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award, four-time NBA All-Star and an NBA Championship in 2004). Not bad for someone who never averaged more than 10 points in a season.
In spite of being severely undersized at center at 6’9,” Wallace applied his enormous strength to discourage other centers from doing their thing. And, since this article is about jacked-up NBA players, there was no way Ben Wallace would be left off this list. There once were rumors going around about how Wallace had benched 400 pounds during his playing days but this could not be confirmed or denied. What we do know however, is that Wallace was the only center capable of giving Shaq fits during his prime. With Wallace being a 6’9” center versus the 7’1” beast with the shiny bald head, I think that’s says it all.
1 Karl Malone
And then there was one and his nickname was The Mailman. Karl Malone is the one true player who could have gone into bodybuilding. His physique was already on par with the Ronnie Colemans and the Lee Haneys (former Olympian champions). Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit, but he certainly could have competed since Malone was a special specimen who stood at 6’9” and 250 pounds.
The Mailman was named as such because he delivered on the court. Whether they were buckets on hapless defenders or haymakers on anyone crazy enough to try and out-man him, you could never take your eye off of him. Not only was he seriously jacked, he also had a mean-streak to him. I’m sure Dennis Rodman still has nightmares about him since Rodman was on the receiving end of several of Malone’s blatant elbows.
Karl Malone was big, tough, strong and sometimes a bit dirty in the way he played. Having watched dozens of his games, I can’t ever recall anyone taking a swing at him after he knocked them senseless. But if you’ve ever seen Malone flex and kiss one of his biceps, the reason why becomes quite clear. There also aren’t too many NBA players who could boast about having wrestled professionally for one night the way Karl did when he teamed up with Diamond Dallas Paige at World Championship Wrestling (WCW) against Hulk Hogan and, yes, Dennis Rodman. If for any other reason, the fact that he wrestled in front of thousands of fans against The Hulkster deserves the Number 1 spot of all-time jacked-up ballers. Even long after he's done playing, The Mailman still delivers.
Leave A Comment
Looking for an AD FREE EXPERIENCE on TheSportster?Get Your Free Access Now!