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Celtics Post Strong Showing in NBA Fatness Rankings


In case you need something to distract you from the dual specters of Baby’s shooting and Shaq’s rebounding, here’s the biggest waste of time ever confronted by a human being.

A while ago I was participating in a Daily Dime Live chat when a chatter whose name I’ve forgotten suggested that the Celtics “have to be the fattest team in the NBA.” The presence of Shaq and Baby alongside the seemingly incurable flabbiness of Paul Pierce’s arms probably led the chatter to this conclusion, and it seemed like a pretty logical one. Still, as a boring, arrogant basketball blogger, I obviously couldn’t offer an opinion until the subject had been analyzed using objective data.

But now I’m ready to weigh in on this, as a hilarious person might say. Because I calculated every team’s average BMI.

BMI (Body Mass Index) is a metric used to measure your obesity by comparing your weight to your height. You get it by multiplying your weight in pounds by 703 and dividing that by your height squared. For example, I’m three feet tall and weigh six hundred pounds, so my BMI is 325.5.

“Normal weight” is considered to be between 18.5-24.9. Overweight is from 25-29.9. Anything above that is obese, and anything below normal is underweight.

I used the heights from Basketball Reference because they were easier to compile in a spreadsheet, but I had to use the weights from ESPN.com because the BR ones were so crazily wrong. They tried to convince me that I live in a universe where Jermaine O’Neal weighs 220 pounds. I’m serious.

So let’s answer this question once and for all: are the Celtics the fattest team in the league? According to this data, no they are not. They’re the second fattest. The Clippers are way fatter.

The Celtics shatter the scales with an average BMI of 25.99, lugged upwards by the league’s fattest player in Shaquille O’Neal (31.62) and its fourth fattest player in Glen Davis (30.97). Most teams average in the low 25s-high 24s. But the Clippers, thanks to the contributions of fireplug Craig Smith, check in with a disgusting 26.28. They actually don’t have quite as many fat guys as the Celtics do, but they also don’t have any skinny guys except Farouq Aminu.

Other notables:

  • The Heat are almost as fat as the Celtics with a 25.98 average.
  • The Hawks and Nuggets are a little further behind in fourth and fifth, both at 25.56.
  • The league’s skinniest team is the Golden State Warriors (24.27), followed by the New Jersey Nets, the Indiana Pacers, and the Portland Trailblazers.
  • The league’s fattest players are Shaq (31.62), Dexter Pittman (31.43), Garret Siler (31.12), Glen Davis (30.97), Dejuan Blair (30.4), and Ron Artest (30.04).
  • The league’s skinniest player is Corey Brewer, which is obvious. His BMI is 20.14.

Here are the Celtics figures, from slimmest to tubbiest:

  • Delonte West: 22.5
  • Rajon Rondo: 22.56
  • Avery Bradley: 23.1081
  • Marquis Daniels: 23.1097
  • Ray Allen: 24.31
  • Semih Erden: 24.49
  • Von Wafer: 24.78
  • Kevin Garnett: 25.82
  • Jermaine O’Neal: 26.02
  • Paul Pierce: 26.47
  • Nate Robinson: 26.58
  • Luke Harangody: 28.27
  • Kendrick Perkins: 29.27
  • Glen Davis: 30.97
  • Shaquille O’Neal: 31.62

OBVIOUS CAVEATS: Many NBA players are in much better shape than these figures imply. LeBron’s BMI is over 27 and he’s doing okay, physically. So this is really more about “bulkiness” than fatness, or the relationship between height and weight. Also, height and weight listings on NBA rosters are a morass of deception and ignorance, so consider them with a pinch of salt.

I’ll figure out how to put up the rest of this precious data soon. Until then I will answer any urgent questions about individual player or team BMIs in the comments.

  • Downtown

    If having a high BMI means more big bodies in the boards, I wish we were the fattest team in the league. Because to be honest, fat doesn't apply to any person in the NBA, they all pretty much the best size for their position. And have either packed on or shed pounds on the recommendation of their coaches.

    • DRJ1

      Which is why a ball of muscle like Nate Robinson, and Lebron too, show up as "fatter" than tubby Jermaine O'Neal. Yeah… BMI is pretty meaningless for this purpose… although… the purpose here is probably comedy….

  • irisheyes9302

    BMI calculations are misleading for athletes because it doesn't take muscle mass into consideration.

    • hdavenport


  • Cool Hand Luke

    This is the greatest article I have ever read.

  • Cool Hand Luke

    Also, it looks from this like better teams are more obese. I'd love to see a correlation between losing and weight watching.

  • GranTur

    You should never refer to BMI indicating fat. BMI only slightly indicates bulk, not taking into account the ratio of fat to muscle in any way.

    Unfortunately, body fat percentages are not available to people to see. It's easy to guess though.

    The GSW used to be even skinnier lol Celtics are huge.

  • I_Bleed_Green

    According to bmi kg is overweight, what?

    • hdavenport

      He's very muscular so that makes him heavier. To everyone pointing out that BMI doesn't actually measure obesity for athletes: I agree with you.

  • skeeds

    The "Lebron is doing OK, physically" comment might be the understatement of the year.

  • Zain

    Hayes, you promised me a pie chart on DDL a few weeks back. Where is it!

  • Dropstep

    I thought four sure that Kevin Durant would be the skinniest. He has no muscles to speak of.

    • roundo

      If I had Kevin Durant's muscles, they'd be muscles to speak of.

      • Batman

        roundo? lol

    • hdavenport

      Durant, at 6'9" 230, has a BMI of 24.64. But that listed weight seems pretty high to me.

  • Pete

    BMI is an absolutely worthless metric when used on athletes. These guys are almost all solid muscle. In college, I was 6'2", 200 pounds, which would place me in the "obese" range. Except I had 4% body fat at the time.

    • Zach

      You must work out…

    • Dropstep

      I'm pretty sure this isn't meant to be a serious article. It's funny, that's all. The author knows that LeBron is not obese. I thought it was funny.

  • BrendanJackson

    Note to all those who comment: Read and laugh. That is all.

  • zebulon


    Phenomenal article. Congrats on the shoutout from truehoop (truehoop! That's like, top 3 basketball blogs of all time). Hilarious in the "I just did a whole bunch of actually smart analysis about something that isn't actually important at all" kinda way.

    Also, to the folks saying that BMI is a faulty indicator – are you really trying to say that Baby and Shaq aren't pretty fat dudes? Do you remember that video of baby dancing where shaq comes from behind and just shakes his ridiculous manboobs up and down? Obviously, it isn't a failproof system, but it does pass the laugh test in labeling the fattest teams/players.

    • Sup

      You do realize that CelticsHub is affiliated with TrueHoop right?

  • zebulon

    Ugh, my sister's been posting from my name again. What I meant to say was:



    • hdavenport

      It's much worse than this in the comments on the Truehoop post. Zeb, maybe look into password protection?

      • zebulon

        Wow, just saw this one: "Humor is self-aware. Nothing in the Celticshub story suggests the individual was even the slightest bit aware of the merits/weaknesses of BMI" in the comments over there. What an incredibly asshole-ish thing to say. I'm sorry dude, this article is the shit and it sucks that there are people who would go so far as to call you unaware (in a completely meditated, not-joking-at-all way)

      • CG12

        You are getting crushed over at TrueHoop. Sanctimony 1, Humor 0.

        • hdavenport

          Weirdly, most of the aggression seems to be directed at Abbott for exposing them to this.

  • Daniel

    BMI is a simplified equation that is supposed to give you a very general number to approximate body fat percentage of a person with an average build. Can you name ONE player in the NBA with an average build? It's pseudoscientific at best when applied to people who are within one standard deviation of average, and almost* worthless when applied to NBA players, who can rate off the charts in muscle mass and height (BMI can be used in automated stat collection to start to separate wing players from post players, as "denser" guys generally play down low, but it's nowhere close to foolproof).

    By the way, body fat percentage is measured AT THE COMBINE. It's not hard to find if you put one iota of effort into thinking before writing an article so far from reality.

  • http://watchyoursportsonline.blogspot.com/2011/05/shortest-nba-players-on-nba-history.html shortest nba players

    I think basketball players now is in need of diet :)

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