Playing professional basketball requires athletes to keep a certain standard of fitness and health. There’s a lot of running, jumping and other general movements in an 82-game NBA season that requires players to be in top shape to perform at the best of their abilities throughout the long grind.
Of course, not everyone who has played in the NBA fits this “ideal” physical mold. The NBA has seen quite a few heavyweights in the league, including a few well-known players.
10. Garth Joseph (315 pounds)
Garth Joseph had a short stint in the NBA. Joseph, a center standing at 7-foot-2, only played four games in the 2000-2001 season. He played two games each for the Toronto Raptors and Denver Nuggets and was never really able to throw his weight around in the league.
Joseph is the only player from Dominica to ever play in the NBA. Aside from the US, he also played in Greece, China, France and Iran.
9. Robert Traylor (320 pounds)
Robert “Tractor” Traylor was a highly touted athlete who was part of the McDonald’s All-American Game when he was in high school. He was drafted by the Dallas Mavericks as the sixth overall pick in 1998 and was immediately shipped to Milwaukee for none other than Dirk Nowitzki.
Though showing potential early in his career, Traylor was only able to play for seven seasons in the NBA and eventually played internationally. He was playing for the Vaqueros de Bayamon squad in Puerto Rico when he suffered a fatal heart attack in 2011.
8. Kevin Duckworth (320 pounds)
The 7-foot Illinois native entered the NBA in 1986. He spent part of his first year with the San Antonio Spurs but was quickly moved to the Portland Trail Blazers. After a lackluster rookie season, Duckworth proved his mettle and was named the league’s Most Improved Player in 1988.
During the latter part of his career, Duckworth struggled with his weight and was cut and moved by several teams. He finished his NBA career with the Los Angeles Clippers in the 1996-97 season.
7. Priest Lauderdale (325 pounds)
Weighing in at 325 pounds we have Priest Lauderdale. The Central State University product definitely had promise and suited up for the Atlanta Hawks in the 1996-97 season, where folks thought he could’ve been a solid backup for Dikembe Mutombo.
Instead, Lauderdale played just 35 games in one season in Atlanta, failing to make much of an impact. The 7-foot-4 behemoth played for the Denver Nuggets the following season, but then his short-lived NBA stint ended after he averaged just 8.8 minutes in 39 games.
6. Thomas Hamilton (330 pounds)
After a rocky collegiate career, the 7-foot-2 big guy was eventually signed by the Boston Celtics at the start of the 1995-96 season after going undrafted. He sat out most of the season, though, only seeing the court for 11 games. Hamilton’s Celtics stint ended after that one campaign, and he was not seen in the league for the next three seasons.
Hamilton returned to the NBA in the 1999-2000 season when he was signed by the Houston Rockets. After playing 22 games (and even making seven starts), he was ultimately released by the Rockets after spending some time on the IR list. Rockets legend Calvin Murphy called him “2 Sandwiches” during his time in Houston.
5. Michael Sweetney (348 pounds)
Michael “Sweets” Sweeney was a Naismith College Player of the Year finalist in his junior year for Georgetown University. He was selected ninth overall in the 2003 NBA Draft by the New York Knicks as a prospective power forward.
Sweetney failed to impress in his first two seasons with the Knicks and was subsequently traded to the Chicago Bulls. The forward battled with weight issues and was eventually cut from the team. The big man had several stints with the Boston Celtics in training camp after that, but he never made the team.
4. Sim Bhullar (350 pounds)
Toronto-born Sim Bhullar was another giant who went undrafted, entering the league in 2014 when he signed with the Sacramento Kings to play for their Summer League squad. After just two games in the preseason, Bhullar was waived by the Kings and was acquired by their NBA D-League affiliate, the Reno Bighorns.
Bhullar made some waves in the D-League, recording his first-ever career triple-double in February 2015 against the Los Angeles D-Fenders with a stellar 26-point, 17-rebound, 11-block stat line. Later that year, he signed a 10-day contract with the Kings and made history as the first player of Indian descent to play in an NBA game. He eventually left the NBA that same year.
3. Eddy Curry (350 pounds)
Eddy Curry was one of the handful of NBA players to go straight to the league right after high school. The 18-year-old was drafted as the fourth overall pick by the Bulls in the 2001 NBA Draft. The Illinois Mr. Basketball awardee of 2001 spent four seasons with the Chicag0-based squad and even led the team to a 2005 playoff run.
Controversies about Curry’s heart condition clouded the latter part of his stay with the Bulls, and he was then traded to the Knicks and wound up with a six-year, $60 million dollar contract. Curry went around the league for the rest of his 11-year career in the NBA, even winning a championship with the Miami Heat in 2012.
2. Shaquille O’Neal (360 pounds)
Coming in at the No. 2 spot is Superman himself: Shaq.
When he entered the NBA in 1992, Shaq was an instant phenom. He was tall, muscular, athletic and could sprint the length of the floor and break the backboard with a massive slam. Diesel was just 294 pounds when he step foot in the league, but his transformation began when he moved to L.A. a few years after.
After winning his first championship with the Lakers, O’Neal decided to beef up and found himself at around 341 pounds in 2002. As the awards started to pile in, so did the pounds. He eventually recorded a career high in mass when he got up to 360 pounds a few years later, with some reports suggesting he got up to 370.
1. Oliver Miller (375 lbs)
Just to keep things in perspective, 375 pounds is heavier than your average panda bear. Imagine defending an actual panda bear on the block.
“The Big O” was initially at 270 pounds when he started his 11-year career in the NBA but inflated to a whopping 375 pounds. This had to weigh down his ability to play professional basketball at the highest level. He had to move around different teams and was in and out of the league. Miller even found himself suiting up for the Harlem Globetrotters at one point.
In 2012, he was sentenced to a year in the Anne Arundel County Jail after allegedly pistol-whipping a man during a barbecue cookout in Arnold, Maryland. Get this man his brisket and get out of his way.