The Biggest Athletes In The World—You Won’t Believe Just How Big Some Of Them Are
NATALIYA KUZNETSOVA – 5’7″, 225 POUNDS
Professional female bodybuilder Nataliya Kuznetsova is only 5 feet and 7 inches tall—which, to be sure, might be considered average as far as the height of the typical Russian woman—but trust us, she’s scary. This lady, to her credit, will put many male bodybuilders to shame with her extremely chiseled and toned body. Also, have you seen her biceps? They are reportedly 18.5 inches in girth. She won’t just beat you in arm wrestling, she might very well rip your arm out if you try to challenge her to do it. Also, she can bench press 385 pounds—that’s more than the weight of most people in this list.
KONISHIKI YASOKICHI – 633 POUNDS
Japanese-Samoan sumo wrestler Konishiki Yasokichi, who was once regarded as the heaviest sumo wrestler in history and was given the distinction of being the first non-Japanese-born wrestler to attain the second-highest rank in sumo wrestling, was a beast in the ring during his career’s peak. Because of his size, he was called the “Dump Truck.” He was dominating sumo wrestling at the time because he was so big and unstoppable—indeed, all his wins were by yorikiri (force out). When Yosokichi finally retired from sumo wrestling, he went back to Hawaii to have gastric bypass surgery, and to its credit, was able to lose 150 pounds.
GHEORGHE MUREȘAN – 7’7″
Romanian Gheorghe Mureșan, who is 7 feet and 5 inches tall, is the tallest professional basketball player in history. Even if he was not the most skilled inside the basketball court, his arms would stretch and be able to easily grab the ring, which gave him a huge advantage as a basketball player. Interestingly enough, Mureșan’s parents were of normal stature, but a pituitary gland disorder led him to grow as tall as he is. To his credit, he was able to use his disorder as a stepping stone into a lucrative career in basketball. In retrospect, even he might consider this to have been a stroke of luck, given it was what enabled him to join the NBA, basketball’s premier professional league.
PETER CROUCH – 6’7″
Peter Crouch is, as far as we know, one of the tallest professional football players in history. The man stood at almost 7 feet. Indeed, with his height, he could have made a career in basketball if he wanted to—he certainly had the speed and dexterity for it. Unfortunately, he was described as one of the most awkward players in football. He was, no doubt, fast, strong, and effective at short distances, but he was too tall to look anything less than awkward. To a huge degree, football is one sport where height doesn’t proffer a noticeable advantage.
CHOI HONG-MAN – 7’2″
Choi Hong-Man is 7 feet and 2 inches of bulk and muscle. Consider for a moment that this beast of a man is a professional fighter. What kind of person without a death wish would want to get inside the ring with this guy? He’s so big that he looks like he can snap anyone’s torso in half in a matter of seconds. He has gotten inside the ring with some of the best fighters in MMA, to varying degrees of success, but MMA journeymen who have decided to go inside the ring with Choi Hong-Man have been folded like they were toys.
STEFAN STRUVE – 7FT
Dutch mixed martial artist Stefan Struve is 7 feet tall and the tallest fighter in the UFC (the world’s premier MMA fight league). He is definitely a guy you don’t want to meet inside the octagon without having upgraded your health insurance to include emergency brain surgery. Many of his opponents have had a hard time with Struve, particularly because of his long limbs, which can reach out and strike from unexpected angles. He’s not the most skilled in the octagon nor the most athletic, but he’s managed to win 29 of his 41 matches by throwing his fists like a sledgehammer in the general direction of his opponents.
DANNY JONES – 6’7″
Fitness athlete and personal trainer Danny Jones, whom the internet has affectionately called “The Fearsome Tree Man” (for obvious reasons), is another freak of nature. The guy is huge! He’s not just vertically impressive, but his body is also that of a Greek god, chiseled to perfection. His journey to stardom is also, to a huge degree, an interesting one. A twitter user shared some photos of Jones and compared him to a tree. For reasons that only Google’s algorithms will know, that all snowballed into making Jones this overnight internet sensation. Jones shared for an interview that thousands suddenly began following him on Instagram, and he had no idea what was going on.
AMAZON EVE – 6’8″
Erika Ervin, who is more popularly known in America as Amazon Eve, is a professional fitness trainer who stands at 6 feet and 8 inches tall. She’s been referred to in the media as the tallest model in the world. We’re not sure if this distinction is accurate, but we’re sure that she is at least among the tallest models in the world—because just look at her! Indeed, her height, which has been flooring everyone with amazement ever since, has also opened up a few opportunities for her; she appeared on the front cover of many magazines and was even given a supporting role in the hit television series American Horror Story.
HOLLEY MANGOLD – 350 POUNDS
American female powerlifting champion Holley Mangold is reportedly one of the biggest—and heaviest—female powerlifters in history. Although Mangold stood at a mere 5 feet and 8 inches tall, she weighed a whopping 350 pounds. Interestingly enough, bigness probably runs in the family for Mangold, because her brother, NFL center Nick Mangold, is huge, too. In 2013, she decided to make an investment in her health and join the reality television weight-loss competition, The Biggest Loser but was ejected for having lost only three pounds. The reason she gave for her abysmal performance on the show was that she was allergic to running on the treadmill.
MAMADOU N’DIAYE – 7’6″
Senegalese professional basketball player Mamadou N’Diaye, who played in the NCAA and was drafted by a few NBA teams only to be cut before the regular season began because his skills were not up to NBA standards, is one immensely tall person at 7 feet and 6 inches. Unfortunately, he didn’t start a successful career in the NBA, which is the world’s premier basketball league, but he did, to his credit, end up playing for The Correcaminos UAT Victoria, a Mexican professional basketball team. Mamadou N’Diaye, at 26 years of age, still has his career ahead of him, so he could still be drafted to the NBA if he performs spectacularly for the league he’s currently playing in.
RANDY JOHNSON – 6’8″
Professional baseball player Randy Johnson, who was nicknamed “The Big Unit” because of his towering height, has had quite a storied career in baseball. He has 303 career victories and 4,875 strikeouts, which puts him at the top 2 in terms of strikeouts behind Nolan Ryan. His height—and by extension, his strength—is what he credits for his dominant fastball, which is regarded among the best in the league. Johnson was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2015, and his jersey number was retired in honor of his many accomplishments in the sport.
USAIN BOLT – 6’5″
Jamaican sprinter and world-record sprint holder Usain Bolt, who is widely regarded as one of the fastest sprinters in history, is 6 feet and 5 inches tall. Many regard his height as one of the main factors that give him an edge in sprinting. Indeed, Bolt, who almost never runs out of gas during a competition, is also always a foot taller than the athletes he competes with, which means his stride is longer and wider. He’s been given the nickname “Lightning Bolt” because of the speed with which he frequently leaves the competition in the dust. In 2017, however, his 4-year winning streak ended after he was beaten by Christian Coleman.
MICHAEL PHELPS – 6’4″
Michael Phelps, who is said to be the most decorated Olympian in history, is another athlete who is arguably able to use his size to his advantage. Phelps is a competitive swimmer, after all, and many have argued that his 6-feet-and-4-inch frame is perfect for swimming. Swimming experts have always said that the length of a person’s torso has a positive correlation to how fast he can swim, and Phelps apparently has a torso that is equivalent in length to someone who is 6 feet and 8 inches tall. Not only that, but Phelps has, to his credit, a wingspan of 6 feet and 7 inches—a length that is longer than his height!—which, in a sport where a fraction of a second matter, is definitely helpful for reaching farther.
YAO MING – 7’6″
Chinese-American former basketball player Yao Ming, who is ranked among the best centers in the history of the NBA, is also among the league’s tallest. Yao, much to his credit, is also one of the best-known Asian athletes in history, starting his basketball career in China and later transitioning to the NBA. It is unfortunate that his career in the NBA was cut short due to multiple foot injuries, but while he played for the Houston Rockets, he was one of the biggest forces to reckon with. Indeed, even NBA heavyweights like Shaquille O’Neal said as much and respected the man’s towering presence on the court.
JAN KOLLER – 6’7.5″
Retired Czech football player Jan Koller, who is highly regarded in the sport for both his height and strength on the field, is the all-time leading scorer for the Czech Republic national football team. You can’t call yourself a true-blooded football fan if you have no idea who this guy is, because, to a huge degree, he’s huge in the sport—both literally and figuratively. Indeed, at 6 feet and 7.5 inches tall, he’s nowhere near being the tallest player but is reportedly the best player among the tallest players and one of the best players among all the players in general (if that makes sense).
DARYA KLISHINA – 5’11”
Russian Olympic long jumper Darya Klishina, who is 5 feet and 11 inches tall, is among the tallest female long jumpers today. She’s been noted in the media for being both extremely good-looking and extremely athletic. The blossoming blonde even had offers to do modeling because of those very characteristics. Her father, who used to be an athlete, influenced her to specialize in long jumping and join the Olympics. And, to her credit, she’s had a moderately successful career as a long jumper, getting the second-best jump in the world in 2010 after achieving a jump of 7.03 meters.
BLANKA VLASIC – 6’4″
Croatian track and field athlete Blanka Vlasic is a two-time Olympic world champion and is ranked as the second-best female jumper in the history of the sport. She’s another athlete whose height has arguably given her some kind of advantage. Indeed, the woman was able to win 16 international medals in high jumping. The Croatian sensation is apparently very famous in her home country; she has appeared in numerous magazines and is being paid to endorse more than a few brands and products. To her credit, Vlasic said that she has no intention of retiring yet, despite having had numerous injuries in recent years.
KERRI WALSH JENNINGS – 6’3″
Professional beach volleyball player Kerry Walsh Jennings, who is reportedly the most successful beach volleyball player in the world today having already won three Olympic gold medals, is another athlete whose height can only be an advantage for her in her sport. At 6 feet and 3 inches, Jennings has a wingspan longer than most beach volleyball players, which contributes to her ability to reach the ball during the most inopportune moments. Interestingly enough, Jennings said the degree to which she grew in high school, from 5’8″ to 6’ in a span of a year, was nothing short of amazing.
RICHARD METCALFE – 7FT
Former rugby player Richard Metcalfe, who is reportedly the tallest rugby player in the history of the sport, also has a scary presence on the field. Rugby, after all, is a contact sport. Picture Richard Metcalfe, who is 7 feet tall and 310 pounds of pure muscle, running towards you, preparing to scoop you up and fling you about, and you’ll have an idea of just how scary this man was to the men standing against him in the field. His size no doubt contributed greatly to his performance as a rugby player. Indeed, to a huge degree, it was all he had going for him, given how avowedly injury-prone he was on the field.
AARON SANDILANDS – 6’11”
Former professional footballer, Aaron Sandilands, who played Australian rules football for the Fremantle Football Club in the AFL, was a huge man at 6 feet and 11 inches. Anyone who knows about Australian football will likewise know that the sport is absolutely brutal—unlike in American football, Aussie players don’t have the benefit of using padding or helmets when they play the game. It is also, to a huge degree, a full-contact sport, which means that Sandilands, who was one of the biggest players to ever play, must have elicited more than a few scares from the competition.
ALEKSEY KAZAKOV – 7’2″
If someone said there should be a height limit in professional volleyball, we would be bobbing our heads in agreement. Height, after all, gives a clear advantage when playing volleyball. The standard height of the volleyball net is 7 feet and 11 inches, and tall people, with their frame and wingspan, will clearly require less effort to be smashing the ball over it. Kazakov is 7 feet and 2 inches, and, to his credit, looks like he’s got a wingspan that’s almost as long as his height, which means he doesn’t even need to jump to block an oncoming spike. Totally unfair if you ask us!
MOHAMMAD IRFAN – 7’1″
Pakistani professional cricket player Mohammad Irfan, who is reportedly the tallest player to play what is referred to in the cricketing world as first-class and international cricket, stands at 7 feet and 1 inch tall. There is another player, Muhammad Mudassar, who’s in Pakistan’s cricket developing program who is taller than Irfan by 3 inches and will snag the distinction of the tallest player once he goes professional, but until then, Irfan is the tallest. And apparently, height matters in a game of cricket, too—especially for bowlers, which is Irfan’s position. Irfan’s height, to a huge degree, helps him generate more pace and bounce as he bowls, which gives him more than just a discernible advantage.
NIKOLAI VALUEV – 7FT
Former professional boxer Nikolai Valuev, at 7 feet tall, was a literal beast in the boxing ring. One of his opponents described him as a “bogeyman” inside the ring—that’s how scary the man was. Indeed, Valuev’s size and height gives him a clear advantage in boxing. The length of his arms alone allows him to pummel his opponents from a farther distance. Which is why Valuev, to his credit, has only ever had 2 losses in the ring out of the 50 fights he’s been involved with. And those two losses were by decision—because nobody could knock him out.
BRITTNEY GRINER – 6’8″
Professional basketball player and slam-dunking phenomenon Brittney Yevette Griner, whose accomplishments in women’s basketball would put her on anyone’s shortlist of best female players in the league, stands at 6 feet and 8 inches tall and is a literal beast on the court because of her size. Indeed, she’s one of the most dominant players in the WNBA, and we feel that her height, and by extension, her wingspan— which is almost as long as her height—has a lot to do with it. To Griner’s credit, she only needs to tiptoe to reach the basketball ring, which explains her enviable game statistics, particularly her blocks per game percentage.
LACINA TRAORÉ – 6’3″
Lacina Traoré, who’s been affectionately called “The Big Tree” for reasons that can only be described as obvious, is a professional football player who plays forward for the CFR Cluj. At 6 feet and 8 inches, the man is among the tallest players in professional football. At this height, players tend to move awkwardly on the football field, but not Traoré, who, to his credit, seems to be amazingly athletic and well-built for his height. And, did we mention that he’s tall? We bet that most of his opponents on the field are thanking their lucky stars that it’s European-rules football they’re playing, because if this were Australian-rules football, then well, there’ll be a lot to be scared about when standing opposite this man.
DANE DE LA ROSA – 6’7″
Former professional baseball player Dane De La Rosa, who used to play in the MLB for the Tampa Bay Rays and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, is certainly among the biggest baseball players in history. Let’s face it: he’s not the best player out there and can’t even be considered anywhere near the level of MLB’s moderately-hailed marquee players, but he is, without a doubt, huge, and his size is quite noticeable on the field. We’re not really sure to what degree his size was able to contribute to his success as an athlete, but it’s safe to say that it didn’t as much as one would expect.
RIK SMITS – 7’4″
Younger basketball fans would have only passively heard about Rik Smits, given the slew of big men in the NBA, both past and present, who’ve been hogging all the attention. Shaq, Yao Ming, David Robinson, and more—sure, they were good, but so was Smits, albeit to a lesser degree. But there is no doubt that Rik Smits, at 7 feet and 4 inches, was a force to be reckoned with during his time. Sure, the man hasn’t been inducted to the Hall of Fame, but we feel that to be a travesty, given all the man has accomplished for the Indiana Pacers, the only team he played for throughout his career.
CHUCK NEVITT – 7’5″
Former professional basketball player Chuck Nevitt, at 7 feet and 5 inches, was one of the tallest players in the history of the National Basketball Association. He has played an astounding 12 seasons before retiring. Unfortunately, he never rose to the level of being a marquee player despite his unusual size and athleticism—he didn’t have the, how shall we say, electricity that other big men had at the time. Amusingly, he said his response to people who ask him whether he played basketball—because he’s so tall, after all—is that sometimes he did and sometimes he didn’t. This was a comical allusion to how many thought he wasn’t playing (well enough) while he was on the court.
ZDENO CHÁRA – 6’9″
Slovakian ice hockey player Zdeno Chára, at 6 feet and 9 inches tall, is reportedly the tallest player to ever play ice hockey professionally. The man is already 43 years old yet he said in a recent interview that he’s not planning to retire. And, why should he? If he still loves the game and can still play it at the level he’s required to, then more power to him. That being said, ice hockey is one sport where things can get a bit heated at times; players are literally allowed to beat each other up for a few seconds free from lawyer interference, after all, which is something we don’t quite understand but is apparently part of the sport. And if you’re as big as Chára, then you know he has at least one discernible advantage given these unusual rules.
ANDY FORDHAM – 6’2″, 445 POUNDS
Retired professional darts player Andy Fordham, is huge, both vertically and horizontally. He stands at 6 feet and 2 inches tall and weighs a whopping 445 pounds. Of course, it’s not like those vital statistics proffers to him an advantage while playing darts—in fact, if anything, obesity is a disadvantage in any sport. Except maybe sumo wrestling, where obesity is one of the requirements. In any case, Fordham seems to be really good at darts and has, in fact, won many competitions. Unfortunately, his health, to a huge degree, has also been a frequent concern.
JON RAUCH – 6’11”
Former professional baseball player Jon Rauch, who is reportedly the tallest player to ever play in the Major Leagues, stands at 6 feet and 11 inches tall. We’re not sure if his height gave him an advantage, but he is confirmably one of the best tall players in baseball and is, in fact, an Olympic gold medalist in the sport. He’s a pitcher, so it is totally possible that his size contributes to making his fastball as fast as it is, but we can’t help but think that at 290 pounds, running must be somewhat of a chore for the man. Indeed, we noticed that he frequently seemed out of gas on the field.
EDDY CURRY – 7FT
Professional basketball player Ed Curry, who did not just play for the NBA but for other international basketball leagues as well towards the end of his career, reportedly stood at 7 feet tall. Interestingly enough, Curry was said to be a reluctant basketball player who initially aspired to be a gymnast, but was entered into the basketball team because of his height and built. In retrospect, this turn of events would eventually put him on the path to becoming a basketball superstar. To his credit, he would later be drafted to the Chicago Bulls and earn the distinction of being the first Bull after Michael Jordan to lead the team in a major statistical category.
DONDRE HARRIS – 7FT
Football is a sport where big men abound. But imagine a football coach calling you one of the biggest people he saw. That’s exactly how Dondre Harris was described by his coach. And for good reason—the man is 7 feet tall and tipped the scales at 380 pounds, after all. Indeed, Harris earned the distinction of being the tallest lineman in the history of college football, and some were even of the opinion that he was too tall to play football. They say he loses gas quickly and lacks the requisite foot speed. But so far Harris has proven the naysayers wrong. He’s still young and has yet to be recruited into any professional league, but we’re sure that it’s only a matter of time.
HASHEEM THABEET – 7’3″
The NBA is one sports league where height and athleticism are indubitably valued. And Hasheem Thabeet was one athlete who had both, so of course, it was but natural that he was drafted into the league. The Tanzanian-American turned out to be a moderately unstoppable force in basketball, becoming the second overall draft pick in the NBA. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to translate all the hype to actual numbers on the court and was traded into oblivion. We’re not sure if Thabeet will be having a future in basketball—he has, to his credit, the option of playing in international leagues.
GURSIMRAN “SIM” BHULLAR – 7’5″
Gursimran Bhullar, at 7 feet and 5 inches tall, was the 6th tallest player in the NBA and the first player of Indian descent to play in one, was downright intimidating on the court. This, of course, has a lot to do with the fact that he is so huge, and maybe some of it has to do with the fact that his facial expression is frequently like that of an angry person. Whatever the case may be, the numbers he produced for the NBA were the opposite of stellar, which explains why he was eventually dropped. To his credit, his score in the NBA was good enough to get him drafted into a Taiwanese, and later, a Chinese basketball league.
MANUTE BOL – 7’7″
Sudan, for some reason, produces more than its fair share of tall people in the world. It’s no wonder that Manute Bol, who is from Sudan, is so tall. Indeed, the man is 7 feet and 7 inches tall, making him the tallest player (tied with Gheorghe Muresan) in the NBA. And nobody can deny that Bol used his height to his advantage. With his height, the man didn’t even need to tiptoe to reach the ring—hell, he didn’t even need to jump or tiptoe to block shots, all he needed to do was raise his long arm and do a slapping motion. To his credit, Bol was the second-best shot-blocker in the league, second only to Mark Eaton.
RICHIE GRAY – 6’9″
Scottish rugby union player Richie Gray, who stands at 6 feet and 9 inches tall, is definitely one player who is hard to not notice on the field. He stands out like a sore thumb around his fellow teammates like Gandalf would to a merry gang of hobbits, after all—he is that tall. And while one would think someone this tall and lanky would perform awkwardly on the field, we can happily report that this is not the case for Gray, who’s actually more athletic than one would expect given his height. He’s not the best player on the field, but, to his credit, he’s no slouch, either.
SUN MINGMING – 7’9″
Sun Mingming, at 7 feet and 9 inches tall, holds the distinction of being the tallest basketball player in the world. Anyone who chances upon any of this guy’s pictures alongside his teammates can readily see that he makes his teammates, none of whom can be said to be vertically challenged, look like children. He is that tall. And that’s not all, apparently, Mingming and his wife (who is 6’1″) also hold the Guinness World Record for being the tallest couple in the world. So to some degree, their children can be expected to carry the mantle when they grow up.
SHAUN ROGERS “CHUNKS” – 6’4″
Former professional football player Shaun Christopher O’Shea Rogers was called “Chunks” in the locker room. And anyone who’s seen this guy wearing nothing but his drawers inside the locker room won’t be able to deny that “Chunks” is a pretty apt nickname, given his 350-pound, 6-feet-and-4-inch frame. In fact, our only gripe with the nickname is that it’s too effete a word to describe just how big this man is. It’s also fitting that he played professional football, for what other sport exists out there that would better suit a man who has this degree of size.
PAUL SOLIAI – 6’4″
Former Samoan-American professional football player Paul Soliai, who last played for the Carolina Panthers in the NFL, stands at 6 feet and 4 inches tall and weighed a whopping 345 pounds. People typically take the description “Samoan” to be synonymous with big, and for good reason, considering most Samoans are, well, big—Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson is one famous example as well as MMA fighter Mark Hunt. And Paul Soliai seems to be par for the course, because he is just like his fellow famous Samoans, quite huge, too. To his credit, he’s been praised for his quickness despite being so large on the field.
LENNOX LEWIS – 6’5″
Former British professional boxer Lennox Lewis, who’s widely regarded as one of the best boxers in history—and is, to some degree, the best British boxer in history—owing to his being a three-time World Heavyweight Champion, is a beast in the ring and stands 6 feet and 5 inches tall. He also competes at the Heavyweight class, which puts his weight above 200 pounds; indeed, he’s been reported to weigh around 245 to 250 pounds during his last few fights. Before Lewis retired from the sport, he was able to defeat legendary boxers Mike Tyson and Vitali Klitschko respectively, cementing his position as one of the last great heavyweights of the century.
RORY ARNOLD – 6’10”
Australian professional rugby player Rory Arnold, who plays for the French rugby union, Stade Toulousain (one of the most successful clubs in Europe), stands at a towering 6 feet and 10 inches tall. Apparently, this huge person had been playing rugby since he was 16 years old. He was scouted by the Murwillumbah rugby, and he played two seasons for them. His career in rugby has taken off ever since, and, to his credit, he was eventually able to reach the pinnacle of Australian rugby before his late 20s. He’s not the biggest professional Australian-rules rugby player, but he’s definitely among the most intimidating.
IVO KARLOVIC – 6’11”
Croatian professional tennis player Ivo Karlovic is the tallest player in professional tennis today, tied with Reilly Opelka, an American professional tennis player who also, like Karlovic, stands at 6 feet and 11 inches tall. And we’re betting that Karlovic’s long limbs have a lot to do with the fact that he holds the distinction for having the third-fastest serve in professional tennis, after professional tennis players Samuel Groth and John Isner. His height and long wingspan reportedly allow him to serve tennis balls in unorthodox angles that frequently catch his opponents off-guard. This is why, Karlovic is, to his credit, regarded as one of the best servers on tour.
LISA LESLIE – 6’5″
Entrepreneur and former professional basketball player Lisa Leslie, who is now the head coach for the BIG3’s Triplets, was one of the most celebrated players in the WNBA. Indeed, she holds the distinction of being the first player in the WNBA to have been able to dunk during an officially-sanctioned game. Leslie was also able to add ‘author’ to her list of accomplishments after the release of her book, “Don’t Let the Lipstick Fool You.” And in 2011, she included the Los Angeles Sparks to her investment portfolio by becoming one of its co-owners.
SHARRAN ALEXANDER – 448 POUNDS
British female sumo wrestler Sharran Alexander, who got the Guinness Record for being the heaviest sportswoman in the world in 2013, weighs an incredible 448 pounds. Interestingly enough, she’s a late bloomer, having started in sumo wrestling at the age of 41. She was even amusingly signed up by her children to compete in the sport. Thankfully, it was a sport that was well-suited for Alexander’s size, and she even had an advantage over the other competitors because she was huge. To Alexander’s credit, she was able to win four gold medals while competing internationally as a sumo wrestler.
SHAQUILLE O’NEAL – 7’1″
Retired professional basketball player Shaquille O’Neal is without a doubt one of the best basketball players in the history of the NBA. He was, to a huge degree, such an unstoppable presence on the court that he forced the coaches of other teams to employ what was called the “Hack-a-Shaq” strategy, which consisted of intentionally fouling O’Neal whenever he held the ball to neutralize his dominance. O’Neal was one of the league’s tallest players, but his dominance stemmed from both his height and athleticism, which was—and still is—rare for men over 7 feet tall.
ERIC “BUTTERBEAN” ESCH – 425 POUNDS
Retired professional boxer Eric Esch, who is more popularly known as “Butterbean,” is definitely of average height but more than average heft. Indeed, the man reportedly fought inside the ring carrying 425 pounds of weight. Despite this, the speed with which he was able to throw those sledgehammers he calls hands was unbelievable. His fists were lightning fast, and anyone who got caught by them had very little chance of remaining conscious. A lot of his wins inside the boxing ring were knockouts. Unfortunately, Butterbean was also known to gas out very quickly because of his weight and could be expected to be exhausted during later rounds.
BIG SHOW – 7FT, 383 POUNDS
Professional wrestling superstar and occasional actor Paul Donald Wight III, who is more popularly known as “Big Show,” has a height of 7 feet. Outside of his wrestling career, he’s also appeared in more than a few shows for film and television. He’s one of the biggest professional wrestlers in history, but of course, there are quite a few who dwarf him in the league, wrestling being a sport where size and strength is a common and sought after characteristic. To Big Show’s credit, he’s lost a lot of weight in recent years and now sports a more chiseled and toned physique.
YVETTA HLAVÁČOVÁ – 6’5″
Czech long-distance swimmer Yvetta Hlaváčová, who holds the women’s record for having swum the English Channel for 7 hours and 25 minutes, is a giant at 6 feet and 5 inches tall. She’s even taller than Michael Phelps, the most successful competitive swimmer in history. Indeed, she’s one of the tallest female long-distance swimmers in the world (if not the tallest), and we suspect that both the length of her wingspan and her size 13 feet have contributed a lot to her enviable swimming abilities. Hlaváčová, to her credit, has attracted a lot of endorsement deals due to her swimming accomplishments.
LAURA DIJKEMA – 6FT
Standing at 6 feet tall, Laura Dijkema is hardly the tallest female volleyball player in the world, but she does tower over a lot of women in the sport, and she clearly puts her length, as well as her wingspan, to good use, as evidenced by how well she performs on the court. Apparently, she’s been playing volleyball since she was 7 years old. And by 16, she already found herself playing for the highest volleyball league in the Netherlands. To her credit, she was, as a young woman, immediately scouted to play for other international leagues, but now plays for the Italian women’s volleyball team, Azzurra Volley San Casciano.
HAFTHOR JULIUS “THOR” BJORNSSON – 6’9″, 400 POUNDS
Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson, who many will know as the man who played “The Mountain” in HBO’s hit television series Game of Thrones, is an absolute behemoth of a man. He stands at 6 feet and 9 inches tall and weighs 400 pounds, which makes him the most fitting person to play “The Mountain.” Indeed, he’s a one-man moving company, considering all the weight he can single-handedly lift. He has also, unsurprisingly, won a number of strongman tournaments—you know, those contests where contestants do all kinds of lifting and grunting. Trust us, you wouldn’t want to get on this man’s bad side.