Athletes come in all shapes and sizes; however, some tower over the competition. Some of the world’s best athletes are actually not your average height and weight, with some of the best coming in at over 7-feet tall! And to top that, some incredible athletes of our generation have weighed over 500 lbs! No couch potatoes to see here!
Check out these incredible athletes who prove you can find success living large and in charge.
Andre the Giant
Andre the Giant is best known for his role in the hit film The Princess Bride, but did you know he was also a professional wrestler and a star athlete for the World Wrestling Federation? Standing at 7’4″ and weight over 520 lbs, Andre definitely lived up to the “giant” status in his name. Sadly, his enormous size contributed to many health issues and he died at the age of 46 years-old.
Born in Russia, Nikolai Valuev is a monster in the boxing ring. At 7’0″ and 328 lbs, we can’t imagine anyone not being intimidated facing him in a match. A champion in the world of boxing, he has an amazing 50-2 record and was a WBA champion for a good portion of his career.
Hailing from South Korea, Choi Hong-man is a giant of a man at 7’2″ and is also an incredible talent in the world of kickboxing. Nicknamed the “Korean Colossus” he did amazing in the world of kickboxing but not so much in the MMA. Regardless, he’s truly a sight to behold.
You can’t have a list featuring the world’s largest athletes and leave off Shaquille O’Neal. At 7’1″ he is considered one of the largest basketball players to ever play in the NBA. He’s the fifth highest scorer in the history of the NBA and has also had a very successful career in Hollywood. You can sometimes see him investing in new businesses on the hit show Shark Tank.
Bodybuilder Ronnie Coleman is a legend, plain and simple. He’s considered to be the greatest bodybuilder in the world and won Mr. Olympia EIGHT TIMES. At only 5’11” and 300 lbs, his arms alone are 24 inches in circumference. That’s as big as someone’s waist! He’s also considered one of the most attractive men in the industry, so he has that going for him as well.
There seems to be a trend with super tall hockey players on the ice, and Zdeno Chara is no exception. At an incredible 6’9″, he’s known for one of the fastest slapshots in the NHL at 108.8 miles per hour. He’s also won the hardest shot challenge five years in a row at the All-Star Game Skills Competition. Born and raised in the Czech Republic, Chara is the second European-born captain to win the Stanley Cup.
Coming from Poland, Mariusz is an intimidating rock of a man that’s all abs and muscle. Standing at 6″1 and 300 lbs, he is in the Guinness Book of World Records for winning five Strongman competitions. We certainly wouldn’t want to be on his bad side, that’s for sure.
Amazon Eve is best known for being featured in the fourth season of American Horror Story, and is a powerhouse at 6’8″. But don’t let her size fool you, she may look intimidating, but she’s also one of the sweetest people you’ll ever meet. Eve is also trans and an activist for the LGBTQ community.
One of the largest basketball players to come from China, Yao Ming is a towering 7’6″. He was selected number one by the Houston Rockets and has had an amazing career since. Unfortunately, ankle injuries forced him into early retirement, but he was an All-Star for eight of his nine NBA seasons.
Eric “Butterbean” Esch
When it comes to Eric Esch, it’s best not to judge a book by its cover. He may look pudgy and like a couch potato, but this man is a powerhouse the moment he enters the ring. Weighing 425 pounds, he was a boxing champion with a 77-10-4 record. He earned the nickname “butterbean” due to his size and shape, but boy could he pack a punch to his opponents.
Hockey is considered a really tough sport due to the players needing to have endurance, strength, and resistance to cold, as well as pain. They are also seriously ruthless on the ice, but that doesn’t intimate John Scott. At 6’8″ he is a force to be reckoned with and the opposing team usually knows when to get out of his way.
All eyes were on Manute Bol every time he walked onto the court. At a towering 7″7′, he dominated the game whenever he played. Of course, his role on the court was a shot-blocking specialist and he blocked over 2,086 shots over the course of his career. Once he retired, Bol spent his days as a political activist before dying of kidney failure in 2010.
Ivo Karlovic would send most tennis players running off the court with his impressive height of 6’11”. He’s number 14 in the ATP world rankings and currently holds the record for most career aces. His serve is also lightning fast, coming in at 156 miles per hour. We’d hate to be on the receiving end of that!
A tour-de-force on the basketball court, Polish basketball player Margo Dydek is a two-time All-Star and a leader in blocked shots. She was selected number one by the Utah Starzz in the 1998 WNBA draft and used her height to her advantage, standing at an incredible 7’3″. Dydek retired from the NBA in 2008.
A linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers, Dekoda Watson is built from rock hard muscle and fierce strength. He started playing for Florida State before being drafted in 2010 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. An incredible player and someone who embodies the spirit of the sport, he knows what it takes to succeed.
An outstanding athlete and master of the Olympic high jump, Vlasic proves that it doesn’t matter how tall you are to achieve your dreams. Born in Croatia, Vlasic is a towering 6’3″ and refuses to let her long legs and arms from getting in the way of her success. She won the Silver medal in 2008 and the Bronze in 2016.
Paul “Big Show” Wight
When it comes to putting on a show, none can do it like Paul “Big Show” Wight. Not only is he a seven-time World Champion, but he stands at a towering 7’0″ and weighs 383 lbs! Wight has worked for the WWE since 1999 and has also starred in a number of films, such as Jingle All the Way and The Waterboy.
Emmanual Yarbrough is living proof that size does matter. A sumo wrestler and mixed martial artist at a staggering 882 lbs, Yarbrough lived his dream with no regrets. Starting as an All-American wrestler in college, his career includes the title of World Amateur Sumo Champion. Sadly, he passed away at the age of 51 in 2015.
John Isner has a clear advantage on the tennis court, thanks to standing at 6’10”. This is reflected in his amazing career, where he went pro in 2007 and has won a title annually since 2010. Isner is known for delivering powerful serves and even holds the record for the fastest serve ever at 157.2 mph.
We certainly wouldn’t want to go up against him.
Loek Van Mil
While this Dutch pitcher never made it to the Major Leagues, he did have a successful career switching between the Double-A and Triple-A while playing in the United States. Standing at an impressive 7’1″, Van Mil has traveled the world and played for various teams in Japan, the Netherlands, and Australia. One of his greatest accomplishments was playing in the 2007 World Baseball Classic.