The Largest Athletes In The World Are Truly Massive
Athletic events have been around for as long as recorded history. Gladiatorial combat gave way to wrestling, Olympics, football, American football, baseball, and a wide range of other sports. Through all of this, we have seen incredible speed, strength, endurance, and the most impressive at first glance, size. Over the rest of this article we are going to look at the largest athletes to enter their field. It isn’t always about height, though, sometimes the athletes can be short, but their size comes in different forms. Read on to see some of the biggest athletes of all time.
The Giant Named Andre
A favorite of the generation that watched him, Andre the Giant was not just a big wrestler for the, then named, WWF, he was a big personality. With a starring role in The Princess Bride and legends surrounding his heavy drinking and rags to riches story, Andre was known more for being a gentle giant than the heel he eventually became close to his retirement from wrestling. At 7’4″ and around 520 lbs, the man made Hulk Hogan (6’7″) look small in their matches.
Boxing is about big men beating each other until one is on the mat or one wins by decision. If you step into a ring and you happen to see a 7 foot tall, almost 330 lb giant, there is likely a few thoughts going through your head, none of them confident. Nikolai “The Russian Giant” Valuev didn’t win simply because he was big. With a 50-2 heavyweight record, he has fought some of the best in the sport, he last career win being a match against the legendary Evander Holyfield.
A super heavyweight fighter known as the Techno Goliath, Korean Colossus, and Korean Monster was a huge success in K-1 kickboxing. At 7’2″ and mid 300 lbs, his talent showed in kickboxing though it didn’t translate as well when he moved to MMA. For those in K-1 kickboxing, though, he is an unforgettable opponent.
Far from one of the tallest people on this list at only 5’11”. Instead, he is a giant in the body building world. While Arnold started the attention to the sport, Coleman elevated it. As an eight time Mr. Olympia winner (a record by the way) and holding a record 26 IFBB wins, he his far from a one trick pony. At 300 lbs, he is a rock when it comes to muscle. His arms alone are 24 inches.
Hockey is a sport of grace, speed and agility. It also has some violence mixed in for good measure. When most people are close in size, someone like Chara, at 6’9″ can seem to have an unfair advantage. As an enforcer, he could pound people into the ice, and he is as tough as they come. The scariest part, though, is for the keepers. His hardest slapshot topped 108.8 mph, which may be the fastest in the world. He also won the hardest shot challenge five years in a row starting in 2007.
The Strongman and MMA slab of stone, Pudzianowski is only 6’1″ and 300 lbs. It seems strange to include him on this list, considering the size and weight of many others. But what makes him so terrifying is the fact that he has won five Strongman competitions and had a successful career in the MMA. His record is 12-4 for MMA fights, which shows that he is more than just a strongman competitor.
Probably one of the most famous athletes on this list, Yoa Ming moved from China to compete in the NBA. He was the number 1 overall draft pick by the Houston Rockets and has not let them down. At 7’6″ he was a giant among giants and played as an All-Star in all but one of his nine NBA seasons. Injuries to his ankle and foot forced him to leave the sport early, but he left a significant legacy.
For those that watched the NFL in the mid 80’s, Perry may be better known as The Refrigerator. Credited as one of the beasts on the ’85 Bears defensive line, his role as a defensive tackle terrified many offensive opponents. He was around 330-340 lbs during his career and a terror for QBs over his 10 seasons. His rookie season had him winning the Super Bowl and made his name famous. To get how big he was, the average ring size for a man is around a 9 or 10. The Fridge had a size 25 Super Bowl ring.
Butterbean. Eric Esch is not a household name until you say that name. Becoming known as a legendary fighter, Butterbean was more than just a boxer. He wasn’t the ideal size or shape for what you would expect, but he could destroy opponents. At 5’11” and 425 lbs, there was a ton of weight behind each swing. When he retired from boxing, he left a 77-10-4 record. He then moved in to MMA with a 17-10 record and 3-4 record in kickboxing. He could take a beating just as easily as he could pound it out, if not better.
John Scott defined what it meant to be an enforcer in the NHL. At 6’8″, he stood shoulders above the other players. When it came to protecting the little guy, Scott was the guy that you wanted in your corner. His size alone made it extremely scary to consider throwing gloves and entering fisticuffs.
Basketball fans often fall in love with the street ball side of the sport. AND1 Mixtape Tours really let the street ballers show off their over the top abilities. Troy Jackson, known as Escalade, was one of these great ballers. What most didn’t expect, when hearing the name, is the size of this man. At 6’10” and somewhere close to 400 lbs, he was a giant that could move like few others. Unfortunately, in 2011, he passed away from heart disease at the young age of 38.
Baseball isn’t a sport known for huge players. There have been a number of tall pitchers, but one of the tallest is Jon Rauch, who stood at 6’11” making those around him look tiny. To put that into perspective, he is just 2 inches shorter than Shaq. On top of that, the guy had a mean arsenal of pitches including fastballs, sliders, change ups and cutters.
Football, soccer, whatever you call it, Peter Crouch was one of the giants in the sport. At 6’7″, he bucked the trend of the average player. He was also a top talent in the Premier League starting in 1998. A fantastic striker that has played for Tottenham, Liverpool, Stoke City and others, he capped 42 games for the English National, and played as a forward in World Cups 2006 and 2010.
To be considered tall in the NBA requires some serious height. Manute Bol stood at 7’7″ and was as lanky as they get. He may not have been the most talented all around player on the court, but the man could block shots like no other. With over 2,000 shots blocked in his career, and almost 1600 points, he did a great deal for his teammates. He became a political activist after his career ended, but his life was cut short in 2010 at the age of 47 due to kidney failure.
A player of no single sport, Bob Sapp is a renaissance man of sports. At 6’5″ and 350 lbs, he started in the NFL, turned to MMA, headed to Wrestling and K-1 Kickboxing. He was drafted third round of the 1997 draft, and eventually moved to many Japanese MMA circuits finding more losses than wins. Moving to wrestling, though, showed just how talented the big man was.
Ahh, our first tennis player. Tennis players are known for their physics. They are athletic and generally of average eight. Then we see the seemingly stretched out Ivo Karlovic enter the stadium, standing at 6’11” and competing at a high level. He ended up at number 14 in the ATP world rankings, hold the record for most career aces, and has the second fastest recorded serve ever, at 156 miles per hour. His second serve is a record holder, coming in at 144 mph.
Now we move to the first woman on the list. Margo Dydek towered above all others in the female basketball world. At 7’2″ she was taller than most of her male counterparts, but in the world of women’s basketball she was a giant. On top of that, she was the number 1 overall pick in the 1998 WNBA draft, and became a 2 time All Star. She also led Poland to the 19999 European championship and was granted the Polish Gold Cross of Merit. She retired in 2008 but still holds the WNBA blocking record with 877 total.
Dekoda Watson is likely the smallest of the giants on this list, but his mix of size and speed make him impressive. Not only is he an accomplished linebacker, now playing for the San Francisco 49ers, he was a star Track and Field sprinter and jumper. With two state titles in 2006, winning the triple jump with a 42 foot 10 inch leap, and running the 100-meter dash in 11.07 seconds, his size did not hamper his speed. In general, the large guys push through their opponents, but with Watson, he could outrun or outright leap past anyone trying to stop him from getting a sack. He is a monster on the field.
The high jump is not a sport most people think about until the Olympics roll around, but for Blanka Vlasic it has been her life. At 6’3″ she is huge and the size makes it that much more difficult to be successful in a sport where a bar is all that stands between you and success. In spite of all of this though, she won Silver in 2008 and Bronze in 2016, plus plenty of gold medals from World Championships through the years.
Dalip Singh Rana
Wrestling has a fair number of large athletes, but the modern day Andre the Giant is named The Great Khali. Dalip Singh Rana, The first Indian wrestler to sign a contract with the WWE in 2006, stands at 7’1″ and looks more like a machine than a man. He has also turned his fame and size into an acting career.
The 7’0″ center, Eddy Curry, was a fourth overall draft pick in 2001. The biggest issue with this man was his constant weight gain. He started his career at 285 lbs, but due to health problems, most likely due to a congenital heart condition, his weight and health continued to move in the wrong direction. He still put up the points and was a respected player in spite of it all over his 11 year career with the NBA.
Big fans will know Paul Wight better as Big Show. The wrestling giant has been a staple of the profession since he joined the WWE in 1999. At 7’0″ and nearly 400 lbs, Big show is the epitome of the big athletes on the list. Top that off with his acting career and the fact that he won $15,000 on the trivia show Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader for the United Service Organizations charity, and you can see why Wight is still on our screens all the time.
This guy is less about height, though he is taller than most, but more about his size. Nate Newton was 6’3″ and 335 lbs, all inside a huge frame as he protected Troy Aikman on the road to three Super Bowls. He also rose above expectations as he was undrafted out of college but earned six Pro Bowl selections and three rings.
Okay, you should expect a sumo wrestler to be big but Emmanuel Yarbrough was incredibly big. He set the record for Guinness Records at 882 lbs. At 6’8″ this made him a terror in the sumo ring. He was a true athlete and World Amateur Sumo Champion but died in 2015 at the age of 51, leaving a legacy that is unforgettable.
Golf is next on our list. Yup, you got that right, Golf has some giants. Does height give players an edge in golf? That is hard to say. In actuality, the larger body takes a bit of a beating and can lead to shorter careers. For Phil Blackmar, though, at 6’7″ it didn’t have an impact. He was on the PGA Tour for 15 years. On top of that, he has had a number of wins in his career as well, with the 1985 Greater Hartford Open, ’88 Provident Open, and ’97 Shell Houston Classic.
Another tennis player, John Isner stood at 6’10” and has been showing that he is no slouch with one title every year from 2010 to now, only missing 2016. He is feared for his serve, with the fastest on record at 157.2 mph and a top ranking of number 9. He also played the two longest recorded matches in 2010 and 2018 at Wimbledon.
They don’t come much taller than Shawn Bradley. Playing in the NBA, he has faced off against some of the giants of the sport, and still stood tall. Playing as a center from the ’90s to the ’00s, he was constantly in the eye of attackers as someone to decimate. He stood against them all though, coming in at 14th in shots blocked of all time. At 7’6″ he was a terror for those playing against him.
Loek Van Mil
Another almost Major League player joins our list with Loek Van Mil. At 7’1″ the Dutch pitcher went between double and triple-A playing while in the States. He never got to the Majors, but he was highly respected in the sport. He did spend time playing in Japan, Australia and the Netherlands, appeared in the 2007 World Baseball Classic and was ready for the 2008 Olympics, but missed out due to an injury.
Another soccer/football player for our list that stands at 6’10” and stands as the tallest professional soccer player yet. In 2016 he had to retire due to a 2014 ACL injury. He has the distinct honor of being the only Elgin City FC player to score in League Two playoffs.
Daly may not want to be on this list but he was one of the biggest personalities in the PGA. At 5’11 and 285 lbs, his body could not handle the constant rigors of playing the game. In 2014, it became clear just how unhealthy, and how poorly treated, Daly’s body was. In an interview with The Guardian in 2014 with Ewan Murray, the following quote tells you all you need to know, “He still smokes – to the tune of 40-a-day – but his infamous Diet Coke fondness has been toned down a little … ‘I used to have 26-28 cans a day. Now I have 10-12 at the most.’”
The 7’7″ giant of the NBA, Romania’s Gheorghe Muresan had a short career due to injuries. He was amazing when he was able to play, leading the league in field goal percentages in ’96 and ’97, and winning Most Improved Player in ’96. After his early retirement, he ended up acting and making guest spots on various shows. Most famously, he worked with Billy Crystal on the film My Giant.
This is one that most people won’t recognize, though they should. The British sumo wrestler, Sharran Alexander, stands 6′ even, and weighs in at almost 450 lbs. She holds the Guness World Records’ title as heaviest sportswoman as of 2013. In 2006, at 41 years old, she made it to the British Sumo team due to her time on a British Channel 4 show called Strictly Lady Sumo. She ended up as the British representative at the World Sumo Championships in Japan the same year.
One of the biggest names on the list in stature and name, Aaron Judge carries a legendary career on his giant shoulders. At 6’7″, he not only stood above almost all other players, he also won Rocky of the Year, played in the All-Star Game, won the Home Run Derby, and beat Mark McGwire’s home run rookie record. And that was just his 2017.