We’ve all got a very clear idea of what an athlete looks like. Usually, fans think of physical specimens built like LeBron James or Cristiano Ronaldo. Sports stars usually keep their pounds in all the right places, but this doesn’t apply to all sports stars. Some look more like dough balls than stone sculptures. However, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
So today we’re going to look at 25 athletes who packed on the pounds. Some of them were always heavy and that didn’t stop them from being brilliant. Others had moments where they went into decline and their weight suffered as a result. Check out the list via The Sportster below.
25. John Daly
Daly is a golfer who experienced early success but eventually went off the rails. The two-time major winner has a well-earned reputation for hard-living. After winning the PGA Championship during his rookie season, Daly earned another major, winning the British Open in 1995.
However, alcoholism has always been a major struggle in his life. Daly’s hectic lifestyle caught up to him as he blew up to over 300 pounds. Then there was the infamous incident that ended with him passed out beside a Hooters. Finally, Daly underwent lap band surgery to try and cut 100 pounds.
Mexico’s Valenzuela had a magical start to his MLB career. First of all, he inspired ‘Fernandomania,’ a cultural movement in the Latin American community because he was so good. A six-time All-Star, he was also a Rookie of the Year. Add in his two Silver Slugger Awards and one Cy Young award, and you can see why he was so respected.
However, this pudgy southpaw was not the most athletic-looking human. At 5″11 and 195 pounds, he was a hefty chunk of a man. Furthermore, he’s not officially in the Hall of Fame yet. Valenzuela burnt out later in his career. He may have played too many games as a youngster.
USA Olympian Hoffa is an enormous man. One of the largest shot putters on the international circuit, he weighs an astounding 324 pounds. Despite this, he’s incredibly nimble, as his sport requires him to spin within a circle that is just seven feet in diameter. Hoffa has a history of being one of the very best.
A three-time Olympian, the American shot putter has two career world titles under his belt, earning gold medals at both the 2006 World Indoor Track Championships in Moscow and at the 2007 World Track Championships in Osaka. Sometimes bigger is actually better.
The legendary wrestler and movie star was an icon of his day. Standing 7′ 4″ tall and weighing 500 pounds, he was a colossus of a man. Andre was famed for the amount of food he could put away if he wanted to put on a show for his friends. He’d go into a restaurant and eat 12 steaks and 15 lobsters.
But even more astoundingly, three people confirmed watching him drink 156 beers in one sitting. He fell asleep and the staff in the bar were unable to move him because he was so big. So they just left him there for the night. You’ve got to love the stories about this hero of a man.
Allen is one of the physically strongest NFL players ever. The Cowboys legend stood 6′ 3″ and weighed 325 pounds. In short, he was an absolute behemoth. He’d run over the opposition like an army tank because he was so big and powerful. Imagine that coming at you.
Furthermore, his weight records are insane. Allen recorded an official bench press of 705 pounds and a squat of 905 pounds. He also did 10 repetitions of incline bench press with 520 pounds. Somehow he also had the speed to run down defenders. A Hall of Famer, Allen was an 11-time Pro Bowl selection.
Strength is a feature of Mangold’s family. The sister of the former New York Jets center Nick Mangold, Holly is an established athlete in her own right. Built like a bull, Mangold represented the United States in the 2012 Olympics. Weighing an astounding 350 pounds, she’s no shrinking violet.
Her power and strength even saved her life when she crashed her truck. She escaped serious injury by pushing the steering wheel away from her body as the crash occurred. However, the impact crumpled the steering wheel. It was an insane feat of strength in a life-threatening moment.
A 10-time All-Star, Puckett retired with a career batting average of .318, six Gold Glove Awards, and six Silver Slugger Awards. Those are some outstanding statistics. However, the first-ballot Hall of Famer was never the picture of fitness as he weighed in at 180 pounds as he stood only 5’8″.
Indeed, Mitch Albom once described him as looking like a ‘mobile piggy bank.’ However, we’re not fat-shaming because we’ve got nothing but appreciation for a man who can combine being an elite athlete with a dad bod. Puckett used to rock up to spring training 40 pounds overweight but it still worked for him.
Bettis was not your typical NFL halfback. At 252 pounds and 5’11” tall, his frame was definitely burly. Built more like a fullback, he was able to use his frame to his advantage as he powered through opponents. Overall he is eighth on the list of NFL rushing yards leaders.
The six-time Pro Bowler rushed for over 13,000 yards in his career. His crowning glory was helping the Steelers to Super Bowl glory in 2005. Nicknamed ‘The Bus,’ he was able to carry defenders on his back as he rushed forward. Bettis is and was an absolute beast of a man.
Williamson is one of the NBA’s potential superstars of tomorrow. It has been a long time since a rookie has been this hyped. However, with that comes a lot of pressure and criticism. He had a three-month wait to make his debut after a knee injury and weighed a career-high 284 pounds.
This drew a lot of attention from former players like Charles Barkley. Barkley used to play at 250 pounds and said Williamson was overweight. Time will tell how his size affects his performances. But he is playing well despite this. You wouldn’t want to have to feed him though.
Eric Esch is a combat sports folk hero. Better known by his nickname ‘Butterbean,’ he’s one of the biggest men ever to set foot in a boxing ring. Weighing an enormous 425 pounds, he was unsurprisingly mostly a super-heavyweight. He even won the IBO title. Furthermore, he had a fantastic knockout record.
Butterbean won 51 straight matches before falling to Billy Zumbrun and Larry Holmes in 2001. Undeterred, he also competed in kickboxing and MMA. His combined fight record is 97–24–5 with 67 knockouts and 10 submissions. That’s a lot of violence for one man.
During his time as a Patriot, Wilfork was one of the best nose tackles in the NFL. A two-time Super Bowl Champion, Wilfork was also a five-time Pro Bowler. He spent 11 years with New England before ending his career following two seasons with the Houston Texans.
Wilfork’s weight was always a topic of curiosity. He was listed at 325 pounds, but the reality is that he was probably more than that. In college he went as high as 340 pounds, so who knows how heavy he really was? But it made him no less effective a player and he proved his skills over and over.
Ortiz’s nickname should be a giveaway. ‘Big Papi’ was certainly large, but it definitely wasn’t to his detriment. A three-time World Series champion, Ortiz was also a ten-time All-Star. This is despite weighing in at a chunky 240 pounds. But that doesn’t matter so much in baseball.
‘Papi’ helped the Red Sox end their curse in 2004. Among designated hitters, he is the all-time leader in MLB history for home runs (485), RBIs (1,569), and hits. However, an alleged failed drug test in 2003 still hangs on his shoulders.
The first-ever Mexican heavyweight boxing champion, Andy Ruiz stunned the world by knocking out Anthony Joshua in Madison Square Garden. The contrast between the two men was stark. Britain’s Joshua was tall with an Adonis-like frame, while Ruiz more resembled a flour dumpling.
However, his penchant for partying and food cost him. In their contracted rematch, Ruiz came in 20 pounds heavier. In short, he was no longer a wrecking ball of destruction and couldn’t get past Joshua’s jab. To sum it up, he ate and drank away his titles. What a shame it was.
The Argentinian soccer legend was his nation’s biggest star. Two World Cup wins will ensure you’re a legend forever. Maradona was the face of those victories, providing magical moments like that goal against England. But he also had to face his demons at various points as well.
Maradona suffered from cocaine addiction throughout the nineties. Not only did this cause his weight to balloon but he went into cardiac arrest twice. In 2004, he underwent a gastric bypass to help him shed some of the excess pounds he was carrying. To sum up, it was literally a case of life or death for him.
Wells was tremendous during his days with the New York Yankees and the Toronto Blue Jays. This was despite packing a paunch that any hibernating bear would be proud of. One of baseball’s best left-handed pitchers, he walked around at a larger-than-life 250 pounds. But check out these accolades.
A three-time All-Star, he was also a two-time World Series champion. Furthermore, ‘Boomer’ pitched the 15th perfect game in MLB history. Wells didn’t even get his career as a starting pitcher going until he was 30 years old. But he still managed to play until he was 44.
One fact about ‘Shaq’ is that he was never a fitness freak. His natural talents, power, and athleticism combined to make him a true force of nature. Other players have to hit the gym like a maniac for the same results but he just had it. That’s why he was a 15-time All-Star and four-time NBA Champion.
But it’s also a fact that as you get older your metabolism slows down. O’Neal’s waistline widened in later years as he didn’t commit to keeping trim. This definitely hindered him during his stints with the Cavs, Suns, and Celtics. He was a long way off his best days as a Laker.
At the age of 42, Colon was the oldest player to hit their first-ever home run. Nicknamed ‘Big Sexy,’ his weight has always been visible and fondly observed by fans. But despite this, the Dominican star has always been an effective player in MLB. He holds the record for most career wins by a Latin American-born pitcher.
A four-time All-Star, Colon also received a Cy Young Award. However, you’ve got to respect him for this because he is not a small man. At 285 pounds, he must be one of the heaviest players of the modern era. The fact that he played for over 20 seasons at the highest level is remarkable.
‘The Hitman’ was one of the most popular boxers in Britain during his prime. The former WBU welterweight champion fought the best of the best and held titles in multiple weight classes. But his weight fluctuated wildly between fight camps, earning him the nickname ‘Ricky Fatton.’
He once even wore a fatsuit out before a fight with Juan Lazcano in a dig at critics. He did love a pint of Guinness and a burger. After his emotional defeats to Floyd Mayweather, Hatton went into depression, ballooning up even further. His struggles would dog him for the remainder of his fighting career.
When your nickname is ‘The Refrigerator’ it’s a sign. In short, Perry was an enormous human being and one of the biggest NFL players ever to set foot on a field. At 335 pounds, opponents did not want this man to collide with them. But he wasn’t a total joke either, playing in the league for 10 years.
Perry was a Super Bowl Champion and a First-team All-American. He was brilliant during his first year with the Chicago Bears but things were very up-and-down after that. It was a struggle to balance out his weight. However, when he did, he was a ferocious opponent.
One of the ‘founding five’ members of the baseball Hall of Fame, Ruth needs no introduction. Some athletes are legends, but he’s immortal. The seven-time World Series champion achieved 714 home runs. However, it can’t be denied that he also packed on the pounds in the latter years of his career.
The press targeted him mercilessly because of his hard-partying ways. But to be fair, he drank like a soldier. At his heaviest, he weighed a hefty 254 pounds. By the end of his career, he lost the ability to run or field the ball. However, it didn’t matter because he was already an icon.
A key player in the Seattle Supersonic’s legendary 1995-96 team, Kemp helped push Michael Jordan’s Bulls to the limit. He was a six-time NBA All-Star and a three-time All-NBA Second Team member. Kemp spent 14 seasons in the NBA, playing for four different teams.
But even he didn’t have it easy. When Kemp moved to the Cleveland Cavaliers, he battled extreme weight problems. During the 1998-99 season, he reportedly showed up to a training camp weighing 280 pounds. However, GM Wayne Embry revealed he was actually 315 pounds.
Legendary right fielder Gwynn spent 20 seasons in MLB with the San Diego Padres. A 15-time All-Star, the Hall of Famer also had seven Silver Slugger Awards and five Gold Glove Awards. He had one of the best swings the game has ever seen. But he also carried a bit of extra timber around his waist.
However, Gwynn himself made light of this. He used to say that he had a body built like Betty Crocker. The Padres listed him at 225 pounds. But let’s be real, this 5’11” superstar definitely was heavier than that. At the end of the day though it didn’t hold him back from having a tremendous career and becoming a true legend.
There was a time when Harding was America’s darling. The figure skater shattered the glass ceiling when she became a national champion and the first woman to pull off a Triple Axel in competition. But she’s notorious for her rivalry with Nancy Kerrigan. It effectively squashed her skating career.
Harding decided to become a professional boxer and packed on the pounds. Gone was the slim, elegant girl. Suddenly she was a beefy woman able to take a punch. The transformation was a wild one as her life went downhill. The movie ‘I Tonya’ immortalizes her story.
He’s one of the most charismatic athletes on the planet right now, but Fury has had to overcome some incredible struggles. Fury suffered from depression and went down the dark path of drugs and alcohol. Then he ballooned up to an astounding 400 pounds. “The Gypsy King” was a long way from his athletic prime.
However, he was able to rebound and burn off the weight to fight Deontay Wilder. Love him or hate him, Fury managed to overcome his demons to compete again. Standing at 6’9″ and weighing 250 pounds, the WBC champion is a fierce competitor and the best heavyweight in the world right now.
One of the greatest soccer players of all time, Brazil’s Ronaldo won the World Cup in 2002. The former Real Madrid and Barcelona man was a powerhouse in his prime. Every team he played for considered him a talisman as he scored goal after goal. Unfortunately, his own body let him down in the end.
In the latter years of his career injuries decimated him. But he didn’t help himself. In sum, partying definitely cost him another season of top-level soccer. Now he’s got the unfortunate moniker ‘Fat Ronaldo’ to differentiate him from his Portuguese counterpart. In short, he’s unrecognizable since packing on the pounds.