Out-of-shape NBA players—it almost sounds like an oxymoron in a league which is mostly populated with lean, athletic machines.
However, with size at a premium in the league, a handful of big bodies can occasionally find themselves a roster spot.
History effectively serves to illustrate the truth in this, as over-sized men such as Jerome James, Robert Traylor, Mike Sweetney, and most of all, Oliver Miller, found themselves trudging up and down NBA courts in the recent past.
Moreover, we may be seeing more of this occur in the future. If a lockout eventually does come to take place in 2011-12, many NBA players may rapidly fall out of shape, a la Shawn Kemp during the 1998 lockout.
An out-of-shape NBA is a bad NBA, so for the fans' sake, let's hope that a lockout is avoided.
But regardless of what happens, there are still some out-of-shape players currently playing in the NBA.
Some are simply eating up roster space and are on their way out of the league, while others have been able to become solid contributors for their respective teams.
But all players on this list share one common trait: they are out of shape. So without further ado, here are the 10 most out-of-shape players in the NBA.
In 2009-10, Zach Randolph made his first NBA All-Star appearance.
Although that proves that he can certainly get it done on the court, he has always been a bit on the chubby side (listed at 6'9", 260 lbs). And that being said, his girth has often limited his athletic ability.
As a result, he is a horrible defender, and he can barely get off the floor.
Nevertheless though, his wide-bodied physique likely factors into his becoming so efficient on the boards, as he has averaged double-digit rebounds in five of his nine NBA seasons (11.7 rpg in 2009-10).
So with that nasty attribute to his game, coupled with his decently quick feet and smooth jumper, just image how good Z-Bo could be if he managed to shed a few pounds.
Prior to the 2010 NBA Draft, DeMarcus Cousins turned a lot of heads, albeit often for many of the wrong reasons.
First, his attitude and work ethic were drawn into question.
Responding to this, Cousins worked out like never before, eventually declaring that he was in the best shape of his life.
However, by the time the pre-draft combine rolled around, his statement also came to be questioned, as he weighed in at 292 pounds, significantly higher than his listed weight at Kentucky.
Furthermore, he was measured to be at 16.4 percent body fat—the 12th highest measurement in NBA history.
Nevertheless, Cousins was still drafted fifth overall by the Sacramento Kings, and his performance in the summer league showed that he was likely worth the risk.
So, as long as he can keep his conditioning issues under control, Cousins looks to translate his size and skill into a long and successful NBA career.
It's rare that a guard ever makes headlines for being out of shape.
However, during the summer of 2010, Baron Davis did just that.
ESPN's Chris Broussard first reported that Davis had ballooned up to 260 lbs, an unimaginable weight for a 6'3" point guard. However, Davis quickly responded, shooting down those rumors.
However, that wasn't the end of his offseason ordeal.
Next, in September, Davis was guilty of irking new Los Angeles Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro to the point where he complained to the media that his point was not in shape to run the offense.
However, Davis has since returned to practice, and according to rookie Eric Bledsoe, "he's looking good."
So with this summer's weight questions behind him, will Davis be able get in good enough shape to provide some veteran leadership to the Clippers, a team which could potentially surprise some people in 2010-11?
In 2005, a body-mass index (BMI) survey conducted by The Associated Press named Shaquille O'Neal as not only obese, but the most obese player in the NBA.
However, BMI obviously has numerous weaknesses (it doesn't factor in muscle mass vs. body fat), and this is especially apparent when it is used to measure athletes.
So if BMI is ruled out, why is Shaq on this list?
Shaq's new head coach, Doc Rivers, even declared that O'Neal was "in very good shape," coming into camp for the Boston Celtics.
Very good shape for Shaq is not really saying much (yes, he is very muscular, but he is also fatter than most NBA players).
Weight problems have followed him throughout his time in the NBA , and although they haven't prevented him from succeeding, he has often been larger than necessary.
And with his increasing age, his plodding size (listed at 325 lbs, but likely closer to 350) will wear on his body and continue to result in the gradual decline of his skills.
But expecting to play only about 20 minutes per game, Shaq will definitely still be able to positively contribute to the C's quest for a championship.
Technically, Rasheed Wallace is retired.
However, there have been rumors that he might return midseason in 2010-11 for one last championship run.
But last season, he was a shadow of his former self.
Knowing he was going to be playing a reduced role off of the bench, Wallace showed up fat, lazy, and indifferent (according to Bill Simmons, at least).
And if Sheed is planning on playing less than a full season, expect even less.
If his return were definite, he would certainly be ranked higher on this list, since the 2010-11 version of Rasheed Wallace would be one of the saddest things to ever grace an NBA court.
If your nickname is Big Baby, then you're probably not a great physical specimen.
Glen Davis, listed at 6'9", 289 lbs (he weighed in at 298 at the rookie combine, 14th highest of all time), certainly fits that bill.
It doesn't help his cause when opposing fans are able to terrorize him with well-thought-out insults like fat boy.
Furthermore, citing his high school success as a defensive lineman, in 2009, Davis stated his desire to someday play professional football (a sport that readily accepts obese athletes).
But regardless of all of this, Davis can ball, playing an essential role for the perennially contending Boston Celtics.
As long as he keeps his weight under control, Big Baby should continue to lead the C's vaunted second unit during their 2010-11 title run.
There is nothing tiny about Keith Gallon.
In the pre-draft combine, the 6'9" forward-center weighed in at a whopping 302 lbs (12th all time) with 15.1 percent body fat (20th all time).
Furthermore, while in college at Oklahoma, he gained notoriety for shattering a backboard on a failed alley-oop attempt.
Yet, his draft status was often in question, due primarily to his weight issues (he stated that he likes to snack on junk food all day in an interview).
However, the Milwaukee Bucks saw some promise, selecting Gallon with the 47th overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft.
Yet on Wednesday, the Bucks finally cut him, with GM John Hammond explaining that the decision was made in order to allow Gallon to sign into a better situation with another team.
So as long as he can keep his weight down and not eat his way out of the league, Keith "Tiny" Gallon should get a chance to sign on with another squad and continue pursuing his NBA dream.
So far, this list has seen its fair share of huge rookies in DeMarcus Cousins and Keith "Tiny" Gallon.
However, both of those individuals pale in comparison to this first-year giant, Dexter Pittman.
After losing 100 lbs to prepare for the NBA, the 6'10" Pittman weighed in at 303 lbs (tied for ninth all time) at the pre-draft combine, but he shocked onlookers by registering a 20.4 percent body fat measurement (fourth all time).
Still, the Miami Heat selected Pittman with the 32nd overall pick, ultimately signing him to a three-year contract.
However, with all of the talent now surrounding him in South Beach, coupled with the comfort and security of his multi-year deal, it would be easy for the rookie center to slip up and physically regress.
And if that were to happen, Pittman's first contract could also be his last.
Sean May went from being a national superstar in college at North Carolina, to a promising young player on the Charlotte Bobcats, to an individual whose injury and weight concerns nearly forced him out of the league.
In 2008, the 6'9" May underwent microfracture surgery, and during his time off from basketball, he grew upwards of 300 lbs.
Most recently, May was signed by the New Jersey Nets, but following a stress fracture in his foot, he was waived.
Now, injured and off his feet, the question looms as to whether he will be able to keep from inflating up to 300 lbs again.
If not, and with no current team, Sean May's brief NBA career may have come to an end.
The most out-of-shape player in the NBA is undoubtedly Eddy Curry.
This offseason alone, he refused to attend New York Knicks team workouts, showed up to camp 25 lbs overweight (at 325), and was immediately injured, tweaking his hamstring.
He is now expected to miss four-to-six weeks.
This marks the third consecutive year where Curry has been unable to complete training camp due to injuries. During those two other regular seasons combined, Curry has only played in 10 games.
Furthermore, Curry's past witnessed some even more ridiculous occurrences, such as the time he returned to the team from an illness, sat on an exercise ball, and it exploded—a sequence of events which was typical of his career narrative in New York.
So, since it seems that he is always either hurt or deemed to be too out of shape to play by his coach, Mike D'Antoni, it would be surprising to see Curry's career continue past this season, the last on his current contract.