The NBA is a league where some of the most athletic freaks in the world play. Guys that soar through the sky like LeBron James or Gerald Green remind us why people marvel at the pure athleticism of the NBA. However, there’s another side of the NBA that’s not often acknowledged or recognized. Guys like Robert Traylor, Oliver Miller, and an old Shaquille O’Neal bring about a different side of the NBA that is often forgotten.
These are the guys who are amazingly overweight but still play at the highest level. These are the guys that offer the opposite characteristics of the freak athletes but still have enough skill and basketball IQ to stay in the league. To be overweight and in the league means that you’re offensive game is strong enough that you can push other players around, and your defensive rotations are among the best. If all else fails, it also includes players who sign big contracts and then let themselves go.
As a society, we often view professional athletes as individuals who are the peak of athletic ability. Often we see the best players as the most athletic players at the same time. Think of guys like Kobe in his prime, LeBron, Dwyane Wade, and Tracy McGrady. All athletic monsters who, in one way or another, dominated the league when their presence. How often do we hear about guys like Raymond Felton or Glen Davis dominating the league? Well this is a shout out to those players in the league that aren’t the prototypical super athlete in sports, but the guys who use their ball IQ and hustle to counteract that extra Big Mac.
10. Jared Dudley, Height: 6’7, Weight: 225 lbs.
Jared Dudley signed with the Clippers over the offseason with the expectation of being the wing player and spot up in the corner and wait for Chris Paul or Blake Griffin to feed him the ball for the 3. And then run back and play defense on the best perimeter player on the other team.
This hasn’t been the case as Dudley lost his shot, plays decent defense at best, and looks to be more overweight than ever. Seems that Jared needs to get away from those Big Macs and jump into the Subway line with Jared Fogle.
9. Deron Williams, Height: 6’3, Weight: 209 lbs.
It hurts to put a point guard who used to rival Chris Paul on this list. Deron came out of the University of Illinois in 2005 with Luther Head and Dee Brown, a team that ran basically a three point guard lineup and did damage in the tournament. Williams came into the league with a blast and had one of the best crossovers in the league.
After his trade to the Nets, Williams suffered severe ankle injuries that have never really recovered. With most leg injuries, Williams put on weight but has never been able to work it off. Now, he runs the point for one of the oldest teams in the league, occasionally kills players with that legendary crossover and reminds us of how brutal injuries can be to a players’ career.
8. Kyle Lowry, Height: 6’0, Weight: 205 lbs.
Lowry is one of the best hustling point guards in the league, always diving for loose balls and confronting teammates for not putting their body on the line (ask Steve Novak). Despite his hustle, it also looks like Lowry has never ran a suicide in his life.
This year, he’ll be leading the Raptors to their first playoff run since 2008 and doing it in style. Bringing a rugged style of play from Philadelphia, Lowry will be playing extra-hard in his contract year. This way, he’ll be able to afford more and more Philly cheese steak sandwiches in the future.
7. Zach Randolph, Height: 6’9, Weight: 260 lbs.
Z-Bo literally looks like a giant cuddly teddy bear. This makes his presence on the Grizzlies even more appropriate, as Z-Bo could probably be the mascot just as easily. Despite his weight though, Randolph has been one of the best power forwards in the league since arriving in Memphis in 2010.
Embracing the grit and grind culture of the team, Randolph has emerged as a leader on the team and in the community. His presence is so loved that earlier this year, after noticing a special needs fan in the crowd wanting his attention, Randolph took off his warm up jersey and gave it to the fan without hesitation. Now try to tell me that this guy isn’t a lovable teddy bear.
6. Boris Diaw, Height: 6’8, Weight: 250 lbs.
Boris Diaw should have been on the GMs voting list for players who make the most of limited natural ability. Constantly overlooked for his presence on the floor, Diaw is seen setting up teammates, grabbing rebounds, and defending LeBron extremely well in the 2013 Finals.
At 250 pounds, Diaw is surprisingly mobile for such a big guy. As the Spurs prepare for another deep playoff run, Diaw plays a pivotal role on the team providing a forward position that can stretch the floor on offense and play good defense. Guess it’s true what they say, everything is bigger in Texas.
5. Anthony Bennett, Height: 6’8, Weight: 259 lbs.
Wow, this is the #1 draft pick from the 2013 draft. Bennett, from Toronto, Canada, was picked first to fill a small forward void that the Cavaliers have had since The Decision
In Bennett, the team saw potential in a player who could bump and grind with the best of them. The problem is that Bennett was coming off a shoulder surgery which did not allow him to get into shape for the season. Bennett, now playing behind Luol Deng and Earl Clark, is out indefinitely with a sprained knee, something I’m sure will not help his weight loss for the future.
4. Jared Sullinger, Height: 6’9, Weight: 260 lbs.
The second Jared on our list, this young Celtic player has shown lots of potential for the city of Boston to get behind. Sullinger plays the power forward position, and can definitely bump with the best of them as his caboose allows him to box players behind him with worry.
As part of a rebuilding team, Sullinger gets a lot of playing time to develop his skills into a future piece of the team. With centerpiece point guard Rajon Rondo back on the floor, Sullinger sees many more looks from all over the floor. It’s a good thing that Sullinger hasn’t embraced this new trend of tight jerseys in the NBA, as he’s one of the players who still tries to wear baggier jerseys in game.
3. Chuck Hayes, Height: 6’6, Weight: 250 lbs.
Hayes is the definition of a savvy veteran that every team wants on the floor and in the locker room. After ten years in the league, Hayes has only played for three teams but has a reputation of a locker room guy across the NBA. Although known more for the hitch in his free throw (he invented the hitch), Hayes brings toughness and energy to this young Raptors team.
He also brings with him a style of play that is rare in the league. He uses his body to create space between himself and the defender, a skill that has been long lost among the young players in the league. And how does he do it? Let’s just say that 250 pounds seem like a little bit of lowball estimate at Hayes’ actual weight nowadays.
2. Raymond Felton, Height: 6’1, Weight: 205 lbs.
Felton was the starting point guard for UNC in the 2005 tournament where the school went to capture the NCAA Championship. Going 5th overall in the 2005 draft, Felton went to a Bobcats team that didn’t utilize his fullest abilities. After going to New York and playing under Mike D’Antoni, Felton was able to run a quick offence ensuring that his teammates got involved.
After being traded away and then coming back to New York, Felton was thrown into a different offense. Now the offense runs through Carmelo and the rest of the team stands around waiting for a spot up shot whenever Carmelo gets stuck. Again, the 205 pound measurement of Felton doesn’t seem to be accurate given his picture. Maybe he should go to the Lakers where he can practice running again with coach D’Antoni instead of standing around in New York.
1. Glen Davis, Height: 6’9, Weight: 289 lbs.
This guy’s nickname is Big Baby. It’s partially because he’s an emotional player, but primarily because of his massive figure. When Davis played for the Magic, the dark colors of the uniform hid how big he actually is. Now in the Clippers white and red, opponents are able to see Davis’ true figure in time for them to get out of the away.
Davis’ weight is known all across the league and he is both embraced and ridiculed for it. The ridicule has gone as far as a fan in New York holding out his box of food and pointing at it to distract Big Baby from hitting his free throw. There’s no remedy for Big Baby. If he grows up to not be Big Baby, who knows what he could become.