Connect with us


The Largest Athletes In Sports History



In sports, if there is any way you can get an advantage over your opponents, you take it. These professionals were given a gift at birth, and grew to be some of the largest athletes of all time. They’ve been able to use their sheer size as a tool for their success in their sports, and though size isn’t everything, their size has made them what they are – amazing competitors.
While good players can handle other equally sized competitors, athletes this size often require two opponents to stop them. These athletes make us average folk look tiny in comparison, and completely dominated everyone they faced. These are the largest athletes of all time.

Blanka Vlašić – 6’4″

This Croatian high jumper is a former indoor World Champion who won silver at the Beijing Olympics. Perhaps due to her size, Vlašić suffered from injuries a lot during her career, but she always fought back to do her best and compete at a high level. She was named the European Athlete of the Year both in 2007 and 2010, after winning a total of 12 gold medals internationally over the years.

Peter Crouch – 6’7″

Despite the name, Peter Crouch is a tall soccer star from England. Most soccer players tend to be smaller with the agility to run around the pitch with the ball. Sometimes there is a need for a big man on the field and Crouch is one of the best to ever play soccer.
He is a Premier League legend who holds the record for most goals ever scored with his head – 51.

Nikolai Valuev – 7ft

It almost seems unfair to match anyone up against this Russian monster in a boxing ring, but 53 times people have fancied their chances against Nikolai Valuev. He is 7 ft tall and weighed 331 lb during his career, only losing twice to world class champions. Valuev retired from boxing in 2009 following a defeat to British boxer David Haye, and instead of staying in the sport, he became a Russian politician.

Margo Dydek – 7’2″

While seven footers might not be uncommon in the NBA, in the WNBA, they come around once in a blue moon. Margo Dydek was a force to be reckoned with in the league and was the eight-time blocks leader. She is the all-time leader in blocks in the league with 877 and was the first pick in the 1998 draft. Dydek played for the Utah Starzz and the San Antonio Silver Stars.

Rik Smits – 7’4″

The Dunking Dutchman came all the way to the NBA via Holland, and he was one of the biggest ever. Smits was more than a tall guy, he could play and even played in the NBA All-Star game of 1988. He helped the Pacers to the playoffs time after time during his 12 seasons with Indianapolis side. After retiring from the NBA Smits still wanted competition and began racing vintage motocross motorcycles.

Kerri Walsh Jennings – 6’3″

Walsh Jennings is considered to be one of the greatest volleyball players of all time alongside her long-standing partner Misty May Treanor. Walsh Jennings took home gold at three Olympics in a row from 2004 to 2012. She is one of the tallest beach volleyball players in history at 6 ft 3 in but she never took anything for granted. Walsh Jennings was always the hardest working player on the court.

Dalip Singh Rana (The Great Khali) – 7’1″

The Great Khali made an instant impact when he landed in the WWE in the ’00s. Not long after making his debut he was put in the World Heavyweight Championship picture and scored a victory over the fan favorite John Cena. After a decade with WWE, Khali opened up his own wrestling school in Punjab, India. He still makes sporadic appearances for the WWE alongside occasional film roles.

John Daly – 250 lb

Golfers don’t have to be the most athletic sports stars, but John Daly found a bit of added weight actually helped his game. Daly was known for his long drives from the tee and some of that force he generated from his swings was thanks to the weight he had around his waist. He was the first golfer in history to average over 300 yards per drive in a PGA season.

Jan Koller – 6’7.5″

Not only was this Czech soccer player tall, he used his strength to his advantage. Koller played as a striker, and it was his job to score goals for the team. Unluckily for the opposition he often proved to be too hot to handle. The big Czech striker played for some great soccer teams including Borussia Dortmund and Monaco while he helped his national team reach the World Cup in 2006.

Shaquille O’Neal – 7’1″

You don’t get the nickname “Big Shaq” in the NBA without reason, and Shaquille O’Neal is one of the largest athletes ever. Not only is he 7 ft 1 in, but he tipped the scales at 325 lb and was a nightmare for defenses. He wasn’t just in the team because he was big, he played a vital role in bringing the NBA Championship to the LA Lakers and the Miami Heat.

Brittney Griner – 6’9″

Brittney Griner came into the WNBA in 2013 with Phoenix Mercury and helped her team take the championship one year later. She plays center, and with a huge wingspan, it’s easy to see why. She is a blocking master who helped Team USA win Olympic gold in 2016. Griner has pretty much been a permanent fixture in the NBA All-Stars teams since she joined the league, missing out once in six seasons.

Jorge Gonzalez – 7’7″

Jorge Gonzalez first got into sports through his love for basketball, and the Argentine played ball in the Argentinian league. Not long after making his mark in his home country’s league, the NBA came calling, and Gonzalez was picked up by the Atlanta Hawks. He never made an appearance in the NBA and made the switch to professional wrestling where his most famous battle came against legendary WWE star, The Undertaker, at Wrestlemania.

Mamadou N’Diaye – 7’6″

At 7’6″ Mamadou N’Diaye is one of the tallest basketball players in the history of the sport, but so far in his career, he hasn’t made it to the NBA. N’Diaye played ball in college for UC Irvine but was undrafted in 2016 and has missed out on the NBA. After searching for a regular team, N’Diaye finally found his place with Fuerza Regia de Monterrey in Mexico’s basketball league, the LNBP.

Jon Rauch – 6’11”

Batters must have felt as though someone was lobbing pitches at them from the top of a skyscraper anytime Jon Rauch played. Rauch was a talented pitcher, and in his repertoire he had a great slider, fastball, and curveball, kee
ping batters on their toes. He really could do it all but never managed to win the World Series before retiring, but he did help Team USA pick up Olympic gold in 2000.

Stefan Struve – 7ft

Mixed martial arts puts two fighters inside a cage with the goal of knocking out their opponents. There are weight classes to make sure fights are fair, but when it gets to heavyweight, the rules are relaxed. Stefan Struve measures in at 7 ft and should be able to dominate the UFC, but height isn’t everything. Struve struggles to impose his size and gets beaten by the best in his weight class.

Mohammad Irfan – 7’1″

Much like in tennis, a tall cricketer has a huge advantage over their opponents. Due to Pakistani cricketer Mohammad Irfan’s height, he is able to throw the ball faster than most others and at 7’1″! He is the tallest player ever to play first-class and international cricket. The fast bowler played for Pakistan for three years, but in 2017 he was suspended after failing to report two approaches of corruption that season.

Richard Metcalfe – 7ft

Rugby is a physical game for those who love a good scrap, and while American football players wear lots of protective padding, rugby players wear barely any. It is a game played by big men, but none were bigger than Richard Metcalfe who measured in at 7 ft tall. The star played for his home country of Scotland with pride, but his career was cut short due to a serious knee injury.

Sharran Alexander – 448 lb

It took Sharran 41 years to realize her passion for sumo wrestling, but once she got started, she couldn’t stop. In 2013, she was named the heaviest woman in sports by Guinness World Records. By profession, she is a childminder, but when she took up sumo wrestling, she found she had a talent for it. Alexander picked up the sport in 2006 and has won four competition gold medals in total.

Choi Hong-man – 7’2″

The Korean Colossus is one of the largest fighters to ever step foot in a ring. He prefers to fight in kickboxing but has competed in MMA events too. Classed as a super heavyweight, no one has ever looked down to stare into his eyes, and Hong-man has faced some of the greatest fighters in the world. Despite his size, he has a mixed record but has won more than he’s lost.

Ronnie Coleman – 300 lb

Ronnie Coleman made bodybuilding an artform, and even though Arnold Schwarzenegger had done it first, Coleman was the best. Coleman is the greatest of all time thanks to the fact he won the Mr. Olympia bodybuilding contest eight years in a row. He also held the most wins as an IFBB (International Federation of BodyBuilding and Fitness) professional with 26 competition victories. Years in the gym really paid off for Coleman!

Andre the Giant – 7’4″

This wrestling star’s name couldn’t be more fitting – he really was a giant. Andre the Giant dwarfed any man in the ring, and the professional wrestler once went 15 years unbeaten until Hulk Hogan showed up. His hands were the size of shovels, and he was just naturally that large. Andre was giant due to an excess growth hormone, and at 520 lb he made a huge impact on the wrestling world.

Candace Parker – 6’4″

Parker is the sister of former NBA player Anthony Parker but has made a name for herself without the help of her sibling. Parker stands at 6 ft 4 in and has been an important player in women’s basketball, especially for Team USA at the Olympics. In 2008 and 2012 Parker helped America win gold at the Olympic Games, and in 2016 she became a WNBA champion with the Los Angeles Sparks.

Bob Sapp – 6’5″ 350 lb

Bob Sapp can seemingly do anything he puts his mind to and after a short NFL career he moved on. His first stop after football was professional wrestling and in 2002 he joined New Japan Pro Wrestling. Combat sports were where his heart was, and he joined the K-1 Kickboxing promotion. His style was aggressive, making his opponents wilt under the pressure, but most who fought back often beat him.

Andy Fordham – 445 lb

Darts is a game played mostly in bars, and often those who are good at it spend a lot of time in those places. A darts player’s diet might not always be the healthiest, but that doesn’t stop them from being professionals when the heat is on. Fordham weighed 445 lb at his heaviest. Thanks to his precision throwing he captured a world title and has since shed over 200 pounds.

Lisa Leslie – 6’5″

Lisa Leslie made history in the WNBA after becoming the first female to dunk. At 6ft 5 in she’s not the tallest of her Los Angeles Sparks teammates, as Margo Dydek was taller, but she was an impressive player nonetheless. Leslie was a two-time WNBA champion and comes a close second in all-time blocks to Dydek with 822. Leslie was voted amongst the top 15 WNBA players of all time back in 2011.

John Scott – 6’8″

John Scott spent his ice hockey career going about the rink clattering his opponents. He was so large, which made him super effective, and it was always a thrill for fans when the 6’8″ man threw his gloves off. His opponents were probably not as excited to get in a fight with Scott as his supporters were. It’s hockey though, so it was just a challenge for players to try and hurt this giant.

Chuck Nevitt – 7’5″

Basketball star Chuck Nevitt is one of the tallest athletes to ever lay in the NBA. At 7’5″ he managed 12 seasons in the big league, even starring alongside the iconic Jordan at the Bulls in 1991. He played for several teams in the NBA including the Houston Rockets and LA Lakers. He didn’t make the name for himself other big guys did, but he is still one of the tallest ever.

Ivo Karlović – 6’11”

There are not many who can run the top tennis stars close but thanks to his towering figure, Ivo Karlovic is a match for anyone. At 6’11” his serves are monstrous, and he has more aces than anyone else in the history of tennis. He has an advantage over most players, and on his serve, his opponents often have to play out of their skin to break him and win the match.

Holley Mangold – 415 lbs

Holley Mangold is the sister of Nick Mangold, a retired Jets offensive lineman in the NFL, so sports and competition are in her blood. Mangold is one of the largest female athletes in the world and has competed at the Olympic Games for America in London 2012. She has lifted a total of 562.2 pounds in a clean & jerk before, which is more than her own already considerable body weight.

Yao Ming – 7’6″

Yao Ming was an important part of the Houston Rockets during the ’00s. The giant center was selected in the NBA All-Star team eight times and was a dominant center. The Chinese star helped his country win the FIBA Asia Cup three times, and Ming was seen as a hero in Houston. The Rockets loved everything he did for them and even retired his number 11 jersey as a mark of respect.

Gheorghe Mureșan – 7’7″

Although Mureșan might not have had the skills to rival the flashiest players in the NBA, he had one advantage, his height. He is the joint-tallest player ever in the NBA at 7 ft 7 in, while he weighed in at 325 lb, making him one tough obstacle to get around. Twice he was the NBA Field Goal Percentage Leader, and he scored a total of 3,020 points during his career.

Devin Toner – 6’10”

This giant Irish rugby star has helped his country and his club team dominate their opponents on the field. Standing at 6 ft 10 in he towers above everyone else on the field and has been a huge part of his club’s success over the years. At 284 lb, Toner’s role on the field is to break up plays, intercept passes, and to make yards when the teams come together for scrums.

Usain Bolt – 6’5″

Usain Bolt doesn’t look like your typical sprinter, but he’s the fastest man in the world thanks to his gazelle-like strides. Long-legged and powerful, Bolt stands over his competition as most sprinters are shorter and stockier. Bolt’s unusual body shape helped him become one of the most famous men on the planet, winning gold medals in Beijing, London, and Rio. Bolt is unconventional and has confessed to eating lots of chicken nuggets before big races.

Hafþór Björnsson (Thor) – 6’9″

Strongman competitions require the athletes to be big and strong to make sure they can lift the huge weights given to them. Hafþór Björnsson is one of the biggest strongmen to ever compete. Standing at 6’9,” he makes some of the competitions look like child’s play. Not only has he become the World’s Strongest Man but he is famous for playing The Mountain on HBO’s epic fantasy drama Game of Thrones.

Manute Bol – 7’7″

Manute Bol is the joint tallest basketball player to feature in the NBA at 7’7″. Born in Sudan, Bol made it to the American college system in the ’80s. Twice he was the NBA block leader, and he scored over 2,000 blocks during his 11 years in the league. He was so tall that it was almost a good tactic and quicker to run under his legs instead of around him.

Yvetta Hlavacova – 6’4.5″

One of the tallest ever swimmers was Yvetta Hlavacova who stood at 6 ft 4.5 in. In 2006, she became the fastest person to swim across the English Channel, which is the sea between England and France. Hlavacova struggled to find a swimming club that would accept her, despite her clear swimming prowess. Once she swam across the Channel, she discovered lots of teams to welcome her with open arms.

The Big Show – 7ft

There are several big men to have wrestled in the WWE, but few have stuck around as long as the Big Show. At his heaviest, the Big Show weighed 500 lb and was dubbed the largest athlete in the world, before slimming way down in recent years. A larger than life character, the Big Show has starred in several films during his career, including Jingle All The Way and The Waterboy.

Emmanuel Yarbrough – 6’8″ 882 lb

American sumo wrestler Emmanuel Yarborough is perhaps the heaviest athlete of all time when his peak weight tipped the scales at 882 lbs. The super heavyweight is a brown belt in judo and was a Division I wrestler. He was made famous after appearing in the third ever UFC, representing sumos across the world. Despite his size, Yarborough wasn’t built for MMA, and after one win from three, he retired.

Zdeno Chara – 6’9″

Zdeno Chara’s size means he can keep people well away while dishing out plenty of damage himself when the game gets rough.Chara is the biggest player to ever skate on the ice in the NHL and one of only a few European players to ever win the Stanley Cup. His standing is so big in his club, the Boston Bruins that they made him their captain after many years of service.

John Krahn – 7ft

Football players lining up in the defense need to be big and strong, and these are attributes John Krahn has by the bucketload. He might just be the biggest player in the history of football at 7 ft and weighing in at 400 lb. He plays in college, but when he makes it to the NFL, he will be a one-man wrecking machine who’s sure to be high in the draft picks.

Kristof Van Hout – 6’10”

Kristof Van Hout is the tallest ever professional soccer player at 6’10. He is a Belgian goalkeeper, and his huge frame helps him reach some of the most difficult shots other keepers could only dream of saving. Van Hoult played in Belgian professional leagues with Standard Liege, Kortik, and Genk. While the big league never came calling for Van Hout, he will always have the title of tallest soccer player ever.

Butterbean – 425 lb

Boxing is a sport that relies on skill, speed, stamina, and heart. While Butterbean was lacking in speed and stamina, he had enough heart and skill to make up for it. Butterbean was fearsome in the boxing ring as his punches had real knockout power. If he caught an opponent unaware it was lights out! Butterbean moved to MMA as it grew in popularity where his knockout power was once again feared.

William Perry – 350 lb

William “The Refrigerator” Perry was like a wrecking ball in the NFL. He was so big and strong, yet the thing that stood out most was his agility, even at 350 lbs. Perry was a defensive tackle, but thanks to his explosive power he was often asked to play fullback. Perry played for ten years and was a part of the Chicago Bears team that won the Super Bowl in 1986.

Aaron Sandilands – 6’11”

Australian rules football is one of the toughest sports in the world as it combines ferocious tackling and fine ball skills. It combines skill and power, with the best players having a bit of both. Aaron Sandilands had the skills but also had the size, standing at 6’11” he towered over everyone else in the Australian Football League. His talent meant he was recognized at the end of season honors many times.

Konishiki Yasokichi – 633 lb

Sumo wrestlers need to be big to knock their opponents out of the ring, but Konishiki Yasokichi was on another level. He wasn’t the tallest at 6’1/2″ but made up for his lack of height with girth by weighing in at 633 lb, giving him the nickname “Dump Truck.” Yasokichi was from Hawaii and stunned Japanese fans as he became the first outsider to win the top division three times.

Eddy Curry – 7ft

When Eddy Curry was drafted to the NBA, few could have predicted he would keep on growing, but that’s what happened. He wasn’t growing taller, but wider, and eventually, he weighed 285 lb. Curry was perfect as center and became one of the most formidable in the NBA, helping Miami Heat to become champions in 2012. He switched from the NBA to the Chinese Basketball Association, playing for the Zhejiang Golden Bulls.

Randy Johnson – 6’8″

Imagine standing at the plate knowing that Randy Johnson was waiting to hurl the ball at you. At 6’8″ Johnson was one of the most impressive pitchers in the history of MLB. He played in the league for 22 seasons and lived up to his nickname “The Big Unit” thanks to his speedballs. Johnson scored 4,875 career strikeouts in total, making him one of the best left-handed pitchers of all time.

Gabrielle Reece – 6’3″

Gabrielle Reece has done it all in her career. She started out as a volleyball player but thanks to her height she found other work at the same time. Reece started modeling in 1989 and featured in several spreads in Elle magazine before turning to television. She has featured in several shows both as an actress and as herself on reality TV on America’s Next Top Model and The Tyra Banks Show.

Brock Lesnar – 286 lb

Brock Lesnar made a name for himself in professional wrestling, but he learned in the amateur version of the sport. He was a Division I wrestler and took his skills to the UFC. Lesnar actually has to cut weight in the heavyweight division to make sure he is eligible to fight. When asked about his size at a press conference Lesnar said he was a “Jacked white boy, deal with it.”

Suleiman Ali Nashnush – 7’10”

Basketball player Suleiman Ali Nashnush was actually 8,’ but when he played basketball he was officially a couple of inches shorter, but still towered over others He is the tallest athlete ever but was almost a whole foot shorter than the tallest person in the world, Robert Wadlow, who stood at 8 ft 11 in. Besides basketball, Ali Nashnush moved into acting and starred in an Italian film called Fellini Satyricon.

Auto Overload provides our community with the latest trending automotive entertainment news and insight from around the world. We explore insider tips on the newest cars debuting, the best performance parts and the hottest racing events to visit when traveling the globe. We're inspired by exploring new automotive experiences and can't wait to share all of our exciting deals, guides and reviews to help you live your auto life to the fullest.