There have been plenty of lists dedicated to mockingly celebrating the fattest athletes in sports, which is fine. A little mean-spirited of course, but fine.
However, when it comes to professional athletes, there's a difference between being fat and being just straight up massive. That's not to say fat athletes can't be massive too—they most certainly can. It's just weight isn't the only deciding factor.
Height plays a huge role in someone's overall stature. The problem is that it's not easy to quantify height and weight together. Well…it's not easy unless you've got a pretty badass mathematical formula that allows you to do just that.
Which I do, obviously. You can trust me on that, or click over to this spreadsheet for additional details.
That being said, this list of 35 isn't the definitive list of every one of the most massive athletes in sports. It's more of a sampling from most major sports, chosen to reflect a very wide range of largeness. If we were going for straight size, these would all be sumo wrestlers.
Alright. Let's go.
If you're surprised boxer Wladimir Klitschko is so low on this list, you're not alone. I think everyone thinks he's the size of a monster truck because he's always hanging with his lady Hayden Panettiere. The actress is a full 14 inches shorter than Klitschko.
Right-handed reliever Logan Ondrusek may be two-inches shorter than former star MLB pitcher Randy "The Big Unit" Johnson, but he towers over his teammates in the Reds clubhouse—and would on almost any roster.
Despite 10 years of nondescript play as a semipro in independent baseball—save for his initial selection by the Yankees in the 2002 draft as well as a handful of tryouts—Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim reliever Dane De La Rosa has used his big arm to key a solid year with the club.
Pro boxing is a sport defined by categorical classes of size—weight, reach—so when gargantuan Polish heavyweight Mariusz Wach squared off against the equally large Wladimir Klitschko in 2012 (a losing effort), the two men looked like human Rock'em Sock'em Robots.
Bruins forward Zdeno Chara is the tallest player in the NHL today—he stands an incredible seven feet on skates. Hockey doesn't generally lend itself to athletes of this height, but this guy is truly one of a kind. He's been a captain in Boston the last three years and is head and shoulders above (get it?) a lot of his teammates in terms of talent and skill.
Adam "Big Donkey" Dunn is a designated hitter for the White Sox, which is ideal because it doesn't look like he'd be the swiftest running the bases. Donkeys certainly aren't known for their speed either.
Fourth-line Buffalo Sabres winger John Scott has undoubtedly leaned on his size over a 10-year career spent bouncing between the AHL and NHL.
Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia is, from what I can tell, the largest player in MLB. Of course, identifying these guys is pretty labor intensive, so it's possible he's got some (unknown to me) competition. All I know is that Sabathia's official weight is listed at 290, which doesn't seem quite right. Maybe after a serious stomach flu...
Nets big man Kevin Garnett is another of just a handful of athletes on this list who surprised me with their size—or lack thereof, in this case. That's not to say KG isn't one massive man—he is. I guess that, combined with his even more massive on-court persona, always made me think he was the biggest dude on the planet.
Lakers big man Pau Gasol isn't the only Gasol on this list—but he is my preferred of the brothers, for what it's worth. (Which, I realize, is nothing.) His official weight is listed at 245, but considering he recently shaved his ever-present beard for the first time in nine years, who knows what it stands at today.
Rockets center Dwight Howard may not be one of the more intimidating personalities in the NBA, but he is certainly imposing by his physical presence alone. That being said, he's got five inches and 50 pounds on former Lakers teammate Kobe Bryant, yet he looks like a little boy standing next to him.
Magic power forward Glen Davis' nickname is "Big Baby," emphasis on the "big." He was named the SEC Player of the Year in 2006 and selected by the SuperSonics in the second round of the NBA draft in 2007.
It's a good thing Marcus Cannon is such a beast, because the Patriots are going to need all the help they can get in this season of transition. A few more injuries and this guy might be catching passes from Tom Brady.
Grizzlies center Marc Gasol is just a shade bigger than older brother Pau, who plays for the Lakers. Must be something in those Gasol genes…apparently their boys only come in sizes "Large" and "Larger."
Free-agent nose tackle Kellen Heard has struggled to stay on an NFL roster since first being signed as an undrafted free agent out of Memphis by the Raiders in 2010. He has since had stints with the Bills, Rams and Colts.
Newly signed Cavaliers big man Andrew Bynum is so lanky looking and has such fragile knees that I was actually surprised to learn he tips the scales at nearly 300 pounds. He certainly carries it well. As far as I could tell, this makes Bynum the third-largest active player in the NBA…or darn near.
Hasheem Thabeet is one of countless players in the NBA chosen ridiculously high in the draft because he is ridiculously tall. Assuming someone is going to be great professional basketball player because he's tall is a stereotype costing NBA teams millions of dollars each year. Thabeet lasted less than two seasons with the Grizzlies before being traded to the Rockets…and then the Trail Blazers…and then he signed with the Thunder in 2012.
Free-agent lineman Michael Jasper was drafted by the Bills out of Bethel in the seventh round of the 2011 NFL draft. If there's anything such as too big in the league, this guy is it. Jasper spent most of his rookie season on the practice squad before being activated in late December. He was released by the Bills the following summer and has since been dumped by the Titans, Omaha Nighthawks and Giants.
Believe it or not, before Eddy Curry's epic 100-pound weight loss in 2011, his overall size (157 net size) would've put him somewhere between the second and third athletes on this list. Which will be pretty freaking epic once you see who those guys are. Curry's current size is much better for his career—not to mention his health.
For a man of his impressive girth, free-agent guard Leonard Davis had a very impressive career in the NFL. Drafted by the Cardinals No. 2 overall in 2001, the three-time Pro Bowler played last season with the Super Bowl runner-up 49ers. An even more positive spin would be calling the Niners the "NFC Champions," which Davis' Wikipedia page does.
King Dunlap is the rather giant offensive tackle currently tasked with protecting the blind side of Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers. Having played his first five years with the Eagles, Dunlap became an unrestricted free agent in 2013 and signed a two-year deal with San Diego.
Vikings offensive tackle Phil Loadholt is positively massive, exactly the kind of guy you want blocking for MVP running back Adrian Peterson. An unrestricted free agent this past offseason, Peterson's public support had to have played a significant role in the decision to re-sign him.
During this past offseason the Rams signed undrafted free agent Terrell Brown out of Ole Miss because coach Jeff Fisher said they were trying to "add size" to their offensive line. Well the added size was short-lived, as Brown was waived following an injury in July.
They don't call him the Big Show for nothing. The WWE superstar's name isn't an ironic nickname like "Little Kevin" (God rest his soul) from The Wire, who was called little but was actually quite large. The Big Show is, in fact, quite big.
Obviously this whole list would've been occupied by sumo wrestlers if we'd gone that direction—thankfully we didn't. One is enough when you've got Emmanuel Yarborough, the Guinness World Record holder for the largest athlete. Keep in mind—this is him after losing 100 pounds.
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