Talkin’ NBA Playoffs with Big E & My Feature on the Obese Pro Athlete — fat or fit?

Happy Monday all,

Last week I went on the Big E Sports Show — streamed by Yahoo Sports Radio as well as Sirius Satellite Radio all over the United States — to talk about the NBA playoff picture and coaching carousel. A fun and lively segment, as always.

You can listen to the podcast streaming here:

On another note, a rather meaty feature I wrote for CNN World Sports ran today. The topic: Overweight pro athletes competing at the highest level. Can they do it? How do they do it? Why do they do it? Do fad diets work? What are the pros/cons of dumping carbs altogether (as many top athletes are doing today)?

I weigh in on these topics by asking the experts — including Adebayo “The Beast” Akinfenwa of FC Wimbledon, and South African Rugby international Ollie le Roux (who weighed over 300 pounds in his heyday).

Here’s the intro, and a link to the complete article is at the bottom of the page:

Fat or fit? These ‘obese’ athletes are proud of their extra pounds

By Motez Bishara, CNN

(CNN) For a brief 10-minute spell at LA’s Staples Center earlier this month, one imposing NBA player got busy throwing his weight around — literally.

The man known as “Big Baby” — all 206 centimeters and 131 kilograms of him — contorted his body to sink improbable layups, dive for loose balls, rebound, block shots and turn into an all-around disruptive force for the Clippers in a win-or-go-home victory over the defending champion San Antonio Spurs.

A week later at Tropicana Field in Tampa, a 201 cm, 138 kg behemoth named C.C. Sabathia struck out nine batters in seven innings to clinch a win for the league-leading New York Yankees. The pitcher’s protruding belly shook like a washing machine on fast spin after each pitch.

In an era where top athletes obsess over body fat and favor kale smoothies over traditional pregame pasta, Sabathia and Glen “Big Baby” Davis are two of a handful of professional athletes thriving in spite of their girth.

“People look down on them, because they say they shouldn’t be out there,” Ollie le Roux, a former South Africa rugby international, told CNN. “But the nice thing about the big guy, the fat guy, the guy that doesn’t look athletic, is that when he runs over the little guy that looks like a superstar, it makes it more human.”

“It’s amazing to watch guys like Michael Jordan as well, but you don’t relate to them on a physical level like you do the overweight guy,” adds le Roux, who tipped the scales at 137 kilograms during the 1999 Rugby World Cup.


Baseball and male nudity. A nightmare to many.  (PHOTO: ESPN The Magazine/Body Issue)

Baseball and extreme male nudity. A nightmare to many.
(PHOTO: ESPN The Magazine/Body Issue)

Dining at the Tokyo Dome

Yomiuri Giants vs Hiroshima Carps

September 10, 2011

Final score: Giants 1 Carps 0

Tokyo Dome; Bunkyo, Tokyo

Reported attendance: 40,361     Capacity: 42,000

Tokyo Dome

Surprisingly retro for such a techie country

Well, if you consider edamame beans washed down with a Coke dinner, then I dined at the Dome. I was in Tokyo for three nights as part of an Asian work trip that included Shanghai and Hong Kong. But visiting Tokyo for the first time since 1994 was what I was most anticipating. And, naturally, being The Frugal Fan (my new moniker… you like?) I jumped on the chance to attend my first ever Japanese baseball game.

The Giants are one of two teams based in Tokyo, along with the Yakult Swallows, who resemble the Mets to the Giant’s Yankees. The Giants have won 21 Japan League titles, 11 of them with legendary player Sadaharu Oh (most career home runs of any player in the world).

The Japanese league has only 12 teams, compared to Major League Baseball’s 30, and each of them are corporate sponsored. With the Japanese economy in the doldrums for, oh, the past 23 years, companies have been pretty stingy with their spending and the league has suffered. The most talented Japanese players now take their trades to the US; thus, the likes of Ichiro in Seattle and Matsui in LA command more attention than local players.

Nevertheless, I was determined to pay a visit to the Tokyo Dome, which most famously was the host of the biggest boxing upset of all time: Buster Douglas’ knockout of Mike Tyson in 1990. The fight was scheduled for a morning start, so that it could be shown late night in the US, and Tyson later admitted he was up mingling with sketchy women in his hotel room the night before. Douglas, grieving over the loss of his mother, was less distracted and miraculously evaded getting knocked out himself, having been floored for 9 seconds before finishing off Tyson in the 10th round.

The Japanese love to stand in line

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