It’s no secret that size is an important factor in sports. Be it basketball, football, or wrestling, if you’re too small, you’ll likely get dunked on, tackled, or body-slammed in no time. That helps explain why the rosters are often filled with some of the largest people around.
Over the decades, there have been an array of memorably massive athletes, all with their own successes in their respective sports. Yet these 20 larger-than-life athletes might just be the biggest ones. They’re so gigantic, in fact, that they make fully grown adults look like babies! Here they are, from smallest to tallest…
20. CC Sabathia (6 feet 7 inches): Even though some players have reached this New York Yankees pitcher’s height, none of them were ever as heavy; he weighs 300 pounds! Sabathia throws strikes at 100 miles per hour, so it’s no wonder players fear him every time he steps on the mound.
19. Peter Crouch (6 feet 7 inches): When you think of tall athletes, rarely do you imagine a soccer player. Still, Crouch shocked critics who thought his size might deter his success in the sport by making two appearances for England in the World Cup.
18. Zdeno Chára (6 feet 9 inches): Not only is this massive hockey player the tallest athlete in the history of the NHL, but he’s also currently the captain of the Boston Bruins. That’s a pretty tall order for anyone, including him!
17. Randy Johnson (6 feet 10 inches): He might not have been the tallest player in Major League Baseball history, but with a moniker like “The Big Unit,” he was certainly one of the most feared!
16. Ivo Karlovic (6 feet 11 inches): Can you imagine Karlovic—easily the world’s tallest tennis player, and who also weighs 230 pounds—firing tennis balls in your direction on the court? That would be pretty intimidating, even for masters like Roger Federer.
15. Jon Rauch (6 feet 11 inches): Height doesn’t factor into one’s ability to play the game of baseball as much as other sports. Still, teams like the Miami Marlins were happy to have this incredibly long and lean pitcher hurling fastballs from the mound.
14. Eddy Curry (7 feet 0 inches): A seven-foot-tall player in the NBA isn’t all that rare, but when combined a weight of 300 pounds, you can bet this former member of the Chicago Bulls and New York Knicks was a sight to behold. Unfortunately, his career was plagued with health issues relating to his long and heavy frame.
13. Dondre Harris (7 feet 0 inches): An athlete standing at seven feet is certainly impressive. But what makes Harris even more spectacular is that, in addition to his height, he weighs 380 pounds—and he’s only a high school student!
12. Nikolai Valuev (7 feet 0 inches): Standing at seven feet and weighing 331 pounds, you have to imagine anyone stepping into the ring with this former professional boxer and two-time World Boxing Association heavyweight champion was in for a tough day at the office!
11. John Krahn (7 feet 0 inches): Krahn shocked college scouts when, as a 17-year-old high school student, he stretched to seven feet and weighed a staggering 440 pounds! As one of the largest players in football history, he was a shoo-in to make the roster at Lincoln University.
10. Margo Dydek (7 feet 2 inches): As a member of the WNBA’s Connecticut Sun, Dydek held the title of tallest woman to ever play in her league. Unsurprisingly, she was also the all-time leader in blocks. Sadly, she passed away after suffering a heart attack in 2011.
9. Hasheem Thabeet (7 feet 3 inches): It was the highlight of Thabeet’s life when he was picked second overall in the 2009 NBA draft. Unfortunately, his height didn’t translate to the court the way his coaches hoped it would, and he ended up being traded from team to team before ending up in a league in Japan.
8. Andre the Giant (7 feet 4 inches): Diehard wrestling fans are used to seeing some pretty massive athletes in the ring, but nothing compared to when Andre the Giant entered. Weighing 520 pounds, he was the only person worthy of feuding with Hulk Hogan.
7. Gogea Mitu (7 feet 4 inches): Born in 1911 and weighing in at 330, Mitu was the tallest boxer in the history of the sport. Tragically, his career was short-lived. That’s because, in 1936, he passed away at the tender age of 21. He only ever participated in two fights.
6. Sim Bhullar (7 feet 5 inches): After playing for the Sacramento Kings during the team’s summer league, Bhullar, who weighed 360 pounds, was the first person of Indian descent to ever make the league. Unfortunately, he was waived after just two games.
5. Yao Ming (7 feet 6 inches): In an NBA career lasting nine seasons, Ming was an eight-time all-star and named to five-time All-NBA teams. Here, he towers over LeBron James, who is 6 feet and 8 inches, by the way.
4. Gheorghe Mureșan (7 feet 7 inches): In a sport populated with some of the tallest people in the world, you’d have to be pretty big to stand out—and this retired Romanian NBA player was! The seven-foot, seven-inch-tall, 315-pound Mureșan was tied for tallest in league history.
3. Manute Bol (7 feet 7 inches): As a member of the Warriors, Heat, 76ers, and Bullets, Bol became the only player in the history of the league to have recorded more blocked shots than points scored.
2. Sun Mingming (7 feet 9 inches): Despite his incredible height, Mingming (standing here with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) never made an NBA team. It just goes to show that being tall doesn’t always mean you’ll make the cut! Fortunately, he did find success playing in the Chinese professional league.
1. Suleiman Ali Nashnush (8 feet 5 inches): As one of few people to ever surpass eight feet in height, it goes without saying this Libyan basketball player was huge. Surprisingly, in 1960, he underwent surgery to stop his growth. Who’s to say how tall he could’ve grown?
Everyone knows athletes can grow to incredible sizes, but over eight feet? That’s massive.
Share the world’s largest athletes with your friends who love sports!