As a sports journalist and enthusiast, I’ve always been fascinated by the sheer physicality of the NBA. The league is home to some of the most athletic and powerful individuals on the planet.
But what happens when that power translates to sheer weight? Let’s embark on a journey to discover the heaviest NBA players of all time, from the 10th to the 1st spot.
These are the giants who have made their mark, for better or worse, in the annals of basketball history.
10. Gheorghe Muresan – 137 Kilograms (302 Pounds)
Gheorghe Muresan is a name that resonates with many NBA fans, not just for his weight but also for his towering height. Standing at a staggering 231 centimeters, Muresan is the tallest NBA player ever.
The Romanian Giant
Gheorghe Muresan’s claim to fame is not just his height but also his dedication to the sport. Playing for two different NBA teams over a span of six years, he clinched the Most Improved Player award in the 1995-96 season. However, his career was cut short due to physical problems attributed to his stature and a pituitary gland disorder.
A Career Cut Short
Despite his passion and commitment to the game, Muresan had to retire early. The physical challenges posed by his height, combined with his medical condition, prevented him from realizing his full potential in the league.
- Points per game: 9.8
- Rebounds per game: 6.4
- Field Goal Percentage: 55.3%
- Blocks per game: 1.1
Muresan, despite his weight and height, was a reliable scorer and a solid defender during his active years. His field goal percentage showcases his efficiency in scoring, making him a valuable asset on the court.
9. Dexter Pittman – 139 Kilograms (306 Pounds)
Dexter Pittman entered the NBA with a lot of promise. His journey from the University of Texas to the Miami Heat showcased his potential, but his career trajectory took a different turn.
A Promising Start
Pittman’s initial years in the NBA were filled with expectations. After being the Miami Heat’s 32nd pick in the 2010 NBA draft, many believed he would make a significant impact. However, his weight challenges hindered his progress.
The Struggle with Obesity
Dexter’s battle with obesity became a significant obstacle in his NBA journey. Averaging just 2.3 points and 1.8 rebounds per game, he moved from one team to another, eventually leaving the NBA after five short years.
- Points per game: 2.4
- Rebounds per game: 2.0
- Field Goal Percentage: 45.5%
- Free Throw Percentage: 65.3%
Pittman’s stats reflect his struggle to find a consistent role in the NBA. His limited playing time impacted his overall averages, making it challenging for him to establish himself as a key player in any team.
8. Mengke Bateer – 141 Kilograms (310 Pounds)
Mengke Bateer, the great Mongolian who represented China, followed in the footsteps of other Asian NBA players. But his journey in the league was a testament to the challenges international players often face.
From China to the NBA
Bateer was a top player in China, but upon arriving in the USA, he confronted the vast technical gap. The NBA’s advanced gameplay, combined with language and cultural barriers, proved to be significant challenges.
A Short-lived NBA Stint
Mengke Bateer’s NBA journey was brief, spanning just three years. With limited appearances and achievements, he serves as a reminder of the challenges international players can face when transitioning to the NBA.
- Points per game: 3.0
- Rebounds per game: 1.6
- Field Goal Percentage: 50.0%
- Free Throw Percentage: 80.0%
Bateer’s numbers, while modest, highlight his ability to contribute when given the chance. His shooting accuracy and free throw percentage indicate his potential, although limited opportunities impacted his overall performance.
7. Yao Ming – 141 Kilograms (310 Pounds)
Yao Ming, the towering figure from China, not only made it to the list of heaviest NBA players but also stands as one of the tallest. His height and weight, however, were a double-edged sword.
A Legend from the East
Yao Ming’s entry into the NBA was groundbreaking. Standing at 229cm, he is the 5th tallest NBA player ever. Despite the physical challenges his height and weight posed, especially to his feet, Yao had an illustrious career. In his 8-year stint with the Rockets, he averaged 19 points per game.
Yao’s NBA journey was nothing short of extraordinary. He was selected for the All-Star team 8 times and made it to the All-NBA team 5 times. His impact was so profound that he’s often regarded as the best Asian player to grace the NBA.
- Points per game: 19.0
- Rebounds per game: 9.2
- Blocks per game: 1.9
- Field Goal Percentage: 52.4%
- Free Throw Percentage: 83.3%
Yao Ming’s stats underscore his dominance on the court. His scoring, rebounding, and shot-blocking abilities made him a formidable force in the NBA. His remarkable free throw percentage, considering his height, showcased his skill and dedication to his craft.
6. Robert Traylor – 145 Kilograms (319 Pounds)
Robert “Tractor” Traylor’s entry into the NBA was met with high expectations. However, his weight became a significant challenge as his career progressed. He was the sixth pick in the 1998 Draft, chosen even before legends like Dirk Nowitzki and Paul Pierce.
Despite the initial hype, Traylor’s weight issues became a hindrance. He played only 7 seasons, averaging 4.8 points and 3.7 rebounds per game. His potential remained largely unfulfilled, reminding us of the physical demands of the NBA.
- Points per game: 4.8
- Rebounds per game: 3.7
- Field Goal Percentage: 44.8%
- Free Throw Percentage: 57.4%
Traylor’s career averages, although modest, reflect his contributions when given the opportunity. His field goal percentage, while decent, indicates his ability to score in the paint despite his weight.
5. Kevin Duckworth – 145 Kilograms (319 Pounds)
Kevin Duckworth, affectionately known as “Duck,” was a force to be reckoned with during his prime. His weight, however, became a challenge as his career progressed.
The 90s Star
During his 12-year NBA career in the 90s, Duckworth made significant contributions to the teams he played for. He was a two-time All-Star and clinched the Most Improved Player award in the 87-88 season.
In his prime, Duckworth was a dominant figure on the court. In his fifth year in the league, he averaged an impressive 18.1 points and 8.0 rebounds per game. However, as he aged and gained weight, his agility decreased, affecting his performance.
- Points per game: 11.8
- Rebounds per game: 5.8
- Field Goal Percentage: 48.2%
- Free Throw Percentage: 76.1%
Duckworth’s stats showcase his effectiveness as a scorer and a rebounder. His free throw percentage, particularly for a big man, highlights his skill and consistency from the line.
4. Michael Sweetney – 158 Kilograms (348 Pounds)
Michael Sweetney’s story is one of unmet expectations and struggles with weight, making him one of the heaviest players to step onto the NBA court.
A Promising Start
Sweetney entered the league with high hopes, picked by the Knicks in the 2003 Draft. The aim was to infuse grit and tenacity into the team, but Sweeney’s career didn’t pan out as expected.
Despite his potential, Sweetney struggled with consistency and weight issues. His time with the Knicks and later the Chicago Bulls was marked by limited playing time, and he eventually exited the NBA after just five seasons.
- Points per game: 6.5
- Rebounds per game: 4.5
- Field Goal Percentage: 44.0%
- Free Throw Percentage: 73.2%
Sweetney’s stats, although not exceptional, demonstrate his ability to contribute offensively and defensively. His scoring and rebounding averages, considering his limited playing time, reflect his potential as a player.
3. Eddy Curry – 159 Kilograms (350 Pounds)
Eddy Curry was a scoring machine during his prime. However, his battle with weight impacted his later years in the league.
A Scoring Threat
Curry’s offensive prowess was evident from the start. In his fourth season with the Bulls, he averaged 16.1 points per game. His ability to score in the paint made him a valuable asset to his teams.
The Weight Challenge
As Curry’s career progressed, he struggled with obesity. His weight affected his speed and agility on the court, diminishing his effectiveness. Despite attempts to shed the pounds, he ultimately had to bid farewell to the NBA.
- Points per game: 13.2
- Rebounds per game: 5.5
- Field Goal Percentage: 54.3%
- Free Throw Percentage: 64.9%
Curry’s career averages highlight his scoring ability and effectiveness in the paint. His field goal percentage, above 50%, underscores his proficiency in close-range shots, making him a valuable asset in the low post.
2. Shaquille O’Neal – 163 Kilograms (359 Pounds) & 216cm Tall
Shaquille O’Neal, one of the most iconic players in NBA history, was not only renowned for his skill but also for his imposing size.
The Dominant Force
Shaq, standing tall at 216cm, weighed 163kg during his playing days. His sheer mass, coupled with his skill, made him a nightmare for opponents. He won multiple championships, showcasing his dominance in the paint.
Despite occasional issues with weight, particularly in his later years, Shaq’s impact on the game was monumental. He was a key player in championship-winning teams, leaving an indelible mark on the league’s history.
- Points per game: 23.7
- Rebounds per game: 10.9
- Blocks per game: 2.3
- Field Goal Percentage: 58.2%
- Free Throw Percentage: 52.7%
Shaq’s stats are nothing short of remarkable. His scoring, rebounding, and shot-blocking abilities made him one of the most dominant players in NBA history.
Despite challenges with free throws, his overall impact on the game was unparalleled.
1. Oliver Miller – 170 Kilograms (375 Pounds)
Oliver Miller takes the crown as the heaviest NBA player ever, weighing a staggering 170 kilograms during his playing days.
The Weighty Legacy
Miller’s weight became a defining characteristic of his career. Despite his bulk, he played for a total of 493 games over nine NBA seasons, averaging 7.4 points per game.
Life Beyond the NBA
Outside the court, Miller faced challenges, including legal troubles. Despite the hurdles, he remains a significant figure in NBA history, representing the extreme end of the scale in terms of player weight.
- Points per game: 7.4
- Rebounds per game: 5.9
- Assists per game: 2.3
- Steals per game: 1.1
- Blocks per game: 1.0
- Field Goal Percentage: 46.3%
- Free Throw Percentage: 62.3%
Miller’s stats reflect his versatility on the court. Despite his weight, he showcased his ability to score, rebound, and contribute in various aspects of the game.
His defensive and passing skills made him a well-rounded player, adding depth to his team’s lineup.
How does weight impact the performance of NBA players?
Excessive weight can impact a player’s agility, speed, endurance, and susceptibility to injuries, potentially affecting overall performance and career longevity.
Have any of the heaviest NBA players undergone weight loss programs?
Yes, several players like Eddy Curry and Shaquille O’Neal have undergone weight loss programs to manage their weight and enhance their performance.
Does the NBA have weight restrictions for players?
The NBA does not have specific weight restrictions, but players undergo physical assessments, and maintaining optimal fitness is crucial for peak performance.
How does height correlate with weight in NBA players?
Generally, taller players tend to weigh more due to their larger frame and muscle mass. However, the proportion of weight to height (BMI) is crucial in assessing the fitness level of a player.
Are there any health programs in the NBA to address weight issues?
Yes, NBA teams have nutritionists, fitness trainers, and medical staff to help players maintain optimal weight and address any health-related concerns.
The journey through the heaviest NBA players unveils a fascinating aspect of the sport—how sheer size and weight can be both an asset and a challenge. These players, with their colossal frames, have etched their names in the annals of basketball history, showcasing the diversity and inclusivity of the league.
Their stories are a testament to the relentless pursuit of passion, the battles with physicality, and the undying love for the game of basketball.