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The Heaviest NBA Players: Now & Throughout Basketball History

As one player said: “Yeah, I’m a fat guy, but I’m kicking your butt on my court.”

Who are the heaviest NBA players ever? Plus, the heaviest active NBA players
Credit-NBA/DeviantArt/Joker Mag

When you think about the game of basketball, the first attribute you think of is probably height.

After all, the NBA has seen a ton of tall players (and a handful of shorter ones) dominate on the court. The league’s average height stands at 6 feet 6.5 inches.

But few fans ever consider just how heavy these guys are. So I decided to dig into the data to see what’s what.

Here are the heaviest NBA players ever – sourced from data at NBA.com and Basketball Reference.

As a tiebreaker, poundages are sorted by the player’s highest recorded weight.

Heaviest Players in NBA History

Oliver Miller, C/PF – 380 Pounds

Oliver Miller quote: "The fans didn't bother me with what they said. All that did was motivate me. My feeling was, 'Yeah, I'm a fat guy, but I'm kicking your butt on my court.'"

While he was listed at 270 as a rookie, Oliver Miller packed on serious weight during his pro basketball career. At one point, he tipped the scales at 380 pounds – making him the heaviest player in NBA history.

In fact, he told one source that he was pushing 400.

“I remember fans on the road used to ask me, ‘You want a cheeseburger?'” Miller said.

“The fans didn’t bother me with what they said. All that did was motivate me. My feeling was, ‘Yeah, I’m a fat guy, but I’m kicking your butt on my court.'”

Growing up in Fort Worth, Texas, Oliver was always the biggest guy in his neighborhood.

“I didn’t want to be an offensive lineman. I wanted to play quarterback. That’s how I got my ball-handling skills.”

The 6’9″ big man went 22nd overall in the ’92 NBA Draft, but bounced around to four different franchises during his first stint in the league.

After spending time overseas – which included an All-Star season in the CBA – he returned to the NBA for 48 games with the Timberwolves before wrapping up his career.

Sim Bhullar, C – 360 Pounds

Meet the first player of Indian descent to play in an NBA game, Sim Bhullar

At 7’5″ and 360 pounds, Sim Bhullar is an absolute specimen.

The New Mexico State product went undrafted in 2014, then spent months honing his craft in the NBA’s D-League (now G-League).

After signing a 10-day contract with the Sacramento Kings in the spring of 2015, Bhullar made history as the first player of Indian descent to play in an NBA game.

“It was a great feeling and I’m happy to be kind of an ambassador,” he told BBC.com.

“Hopefully more kids growing up will see there’s a player of Indian descent on the court and we can get a couple more Indian NBA players.”

After that 2014-15 season, Sim took his talents to East Asia, where he spent time in Taiwanese and Chinese pro leagues.

Thomas Hamilton, C – 330 Pounds

Thomas Hamilton quote from 1996: "I really think college is needed. It's another step up from high school and gives you time to really get down and do what you have to do, the things that prepare you to be here. And for things if you can't get here [tothe NBA]."

Not to be confused with the Scottish earl or the Cleveland Guardians’ radio broadcaster, the NBA’s Thomas Hamilton stood 7’2″ and weighed 330 pounds on the court.

Despite leading his Chicago high school to a state title, Hamilton never played college basketball because he was academically ineligible. In fact, his next taste of competitive play was in the NBA.

The undrafted center got his first taste of pro action in 11 games with the Boston Celtics in 1995-96. He bounced around after that, but didn’t appear in another game until 1999 with the Houston Rockets.

After a lower back injury sent him to the injured list, Hamilton never made a return to the NBA level. Still, his highlights are pretty fun to watch.

Shaquille O’Neal, C – 325 Pounds

Shaquille O'Neal on the Boys & Girls Club of Newark: "It gave me something to do. I’d just go there to shoot. I didn’t even play on a team."

Coming in at fourth on the list is the legend himself. Nothing more can be said about Shaq that hasn’t already been written.

The 7’1″ 325-pounder is considered by many to be the greatest big man of all time.

It seems like he was destined to play basketball. Shaq grew to 6’6″ by the time he was 13 years old.

As a kid, he joined the Boys & Girls Club of Newark to stay off the streets.

“It gave me something to do,” he said. “I’d just go there to shoot. I didn’t even play on a team. It always gave me somewhere to come. I could do my homework there. It gave me a lot of opportunities.”

After a historic career on the court, the four-time NBA champion and 3-time Finals MVP decided to take on new challenges: a music career, acting, sports broadcasting, business ventures, and more.

Priest Lauderdale, C – 325 Pounds

Priest Lauderdale: This 325-pound center went from Division II to the NBA.

A Division II product of Central State University in Ohio, Priest Lauderdale played professionally in the Greek Basket League after graduation.

The 325-pound center’s performance grabbed the attention of the Atlanta Hawks, who drafted him 28th overall in 1996.

After 74 NBA games across two seasons, Lauderdale pursued alternative league in search of more playing time.

All told, the 7’4″ Chicago native played professionally in Greece, Bulgaria, Venezuela, China, Lebanon, and more.

More heavy players in NBA history:

  • Tacko Fall, C – 311 Pounds
  • Yao Ming, C – 310 Pounds
  • Dexter Pittman, C – 308 Pounds
  • Nikola Pekovic, C – 307 Pounds
  • Garth Joseph, C – 306 Pounds
  • Garret Siler, C – 305 Pounds
  • Ha Seung-Jin, C – 305 Pounds
  • James Lang, C – 305 Pounds
  • Gheorghe Muresan, C – 303 Pounds
  • DeSagana Diop, C – 300 Pounds
  • Jerome James, C – 300 Pounds
  • Kevin Duckworth, C – 300 Pounds
  • Eddy Curry, C – 295 Pounds

Heaviest Active NBA Players

Jusuf Nurkić, C – 290 Pounds

At 7 feet and 290 pounds, Jusuf Nurkić is the heaviest active NBA player.

At 7 feet and 290 pounds, Jusuf Nurkić is the heaviest active NBA player.

The Bosnian center was a first-round pick of the Chicago Bulls back in 2014, who shipped him to Denver on draft night.

With the Nuggets, Nurkić was named to the NBA All-Rookie Second Team in 2015.

The 2017 Mason Plumlee trade sent him to Portland, where he immediately earned more playing time.

Jusuf comes from a family of giants. His father is a 400-pound police officer, and his teenage brother wears size 16 shoes.

“He [a] big ass kid.”

Nikola Jokić, C – 284 Pounds

Nikola Jokic quote: "If you’re not scared, if you’re not pressured, if you don’t feel nervous, you didn’t choose the right sport."

3-time NBA MVP Nikola Jokić is the second-heaviest player in today’s NBA.

The nearly 7-foot Serbian holds the record for fastest triple-double (achieved in 14 minutes and 33 seconds).

It’s been a metoric rise for Jokić.

He grew up in a tight two-bedroom apartment with his parents, two brothers, and their grandmother. Now he’s the NBA’s highest-paid center and a superstar in the league.

Brook Lopez, C – 282 Pounds

Brook Lopez was 7'0" and weighed 235 pounds as a high school senior.

Brook Lopez was 7’0″ and weighed 235 pounds as a senior in high school.

For reference, I was about 5’9″ and weighed about 100 pounds less at the same age.

Lopez went on to play at Stanford alongside his twin brother, Robin, and became a All-Pac-10 player.

Brook was selected 10th overall in the 2008 NBA Draft, just 5 picks before his brother went to the Suns.

After becoming an All-Star in 2013, Lopez took home his first NBA championship with Milwaukee in 2021.

Joel Embiid, C – 280 Pounds

A quote from Joel Embiid that says: I pretended my way to the NBA. I seriously got to the league by watching YouTube and living in the gym. There’s no other way to explain it.

Before coming to the U.S. to play basketball as a 16-year-old, Joel Embiid focused on playing volleyball and soccer while living in Yaounde.

He didn’t pick up an interest in hoops until he was 15.

“I pretended my way to the NBA,” he said.

“I seriously got to the league by watching YouTube and living in the gym. There’s no other way to explain it.”

After an injury ended his one-and-done season with the Kansas Jayhawks, Embiid entered the league as part of the much-heralded 2014 NBA Draft class.

On October 25th, 2016, the 7-footer made his long-awaited NBA debut and has since become an MVP, a 5-time All-NBA member, and 7-time All-Star.

More of the heaviest active NBA players:

  • Wendell Carter Jr., C/PF – 270 Pounds
  • DeAndre Jordan, C – 265 Pounds
  • Jonas Valančiūnas, C – 265 Pounds
  • Naz Reid, C – 264 Pounds
  • Rudy Gobert, C – 258 Pounds
  • David Roddy, PF – 255 Pounds
  • Bam Adebayo, C/PF – 255 Pounds
  • Tristan Thompson, C/PF – 254 Pounds
  • Mason Plumlee, C – 254 Pounds
  • Anthony Davis, C/PF – 253 Pounds

FAQs

Does being heavier give you an advantage on the court?

Not at all. Throughout basketball history, we’ve seen plenty of smaller players who’ve made their mark at the NBA level.

Who is the heaviest guard in NBA history?

At 250 pounds, LeBron James is the heaviest player to ever play guard in NBA history. While primarily a forward, King James has spent time at both shooting guard and point guard throughout his career.

Who is the lightest player in NBA history?

That would be Spud Webb, who was listed at 5’6″ and 133 pounds.

Who was the tallest and lightest player for their height?

Manute Bol. He stood 7 feet 7 inches tall, but was only listed at a reported 200 pounds. How is that even possible?

Written By

Division III baseball alum (McDaniel College) and founder of Joker Mag. Sharing underdog stories to inspire the next generation.

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