T Nation

Weight of NBA vs. NFL players

Hey there.

I was wondering: the weight fluctuates a lot in the nfl when it comes to skill players (safeties, receivers, linebackers, cornerbacks etc.) Some weigh 185, while others around 240 (yes, even more) and they still run a 4.4 40 yard dash. Just an observation.
In the nba skill players (mind you, playing center is also a skill, but you get my point. I mean guard and small forwards) don’t weigh a whole lot, 230 at most, but those are also 6’7 or even taller guys.

My point, and maybe question is: Why aren’t nba players heavier? Is it because the game of basketball is more stressful on the limbs (more jumping)? Or is the nba still years behind strength training compared to the nfl?
For instance, Ernie sims is a 5’11 linebacker who runs a 4.5 40 yard dash, and who vertical jumps in the mid 30’s or maybe even higher. If he had the skills, wouldn’t he be a dominant guard based on his strength and speed? Of course there are other factors involved, but maybe to spark some discussion.

This questions also pertains me, as I’m 6’2 225 at the moment, and I’m considering going back to basketball. I’d love to maintain my weight or even get heavier, but I’m not sure how it would affect my game. I’m not to good in formulating my posts, so please, just discuss.

Football is a collision sport. The extra weight can be a huge benefit as long as you are still fast and agile.

The advantages of having extra weight in basketball exist but they are not as pronounced.

I think a typical basketball player burns more mass both fat and muscle than a football player. In basketball players are almost constantly moving up and down the court running, and jumping. Football plays typically are about 10 seconds long and then there is usually about 40 secs to a minute break between plays.

Practices for both sports reflect game play. It almost as if football players perform HIIT and basketball players do more of a high intensity steady state cardio.

NBA players want strength, but not weight. You are talking about some 40" leapers and above. Carrying 10 extra pounds that high can’t be fun.

If you look at the latest Muscle and Fitness, they have a good article on Ben Wallace.

[quote]MrCritical wrote:
NBA players want strength, but not weight. You are talking about some 40" leapers and above. Carrying 10 extra pounds that high can’t be fun.

If you look at the latest Muscle and Fitness, they have a good article on Ben Wallace. [/quote]

Are you kidding? That article is crap - completely fabricated training programs and lifting numbers.

And football players have markedly better vertical jumps than basketball players; look at the NFL vs. NBA combine numbers. I go into a lot of detail about this in my off-season training manual, but the basic reason is that basketball is a considerably more extensive aerobic stimulus. Football is 4-5 seconds of action, then 20-25 seconds of rest. Basketball is much more continuous.

www.UltimateOffSeason.com

[quote]Eric Cressey wrote:
MrCritical wrote:
NBA players want strength, but not weight. You are talking about some 40" leapers and above. Carrying 10 extra pounds that high can’t be fun.

If you look at the latest Muscle and Fitness, they have a good article on Ben Wallace.

Are you kidding? That article is crap - completely fabricated training programs and lifting numbers.

And football players have markedly better vertical jumps than basketball players; look at the NFL vs. NBA combine numbers. I go into a lot of detail about this in my off-season training manual, but the basic reason is that basketball is a considerably more extensive aerobic stimulus. Football is 4-5 seconds of action, then 20-25 seconds of rest. Basketball is much more continuous.

www.UltimateOffSeason.com[/quote]

Exactly. Everyone seems to think that basketball players have great vertical jumps. When you are 6’7 and above, you dont need to be able to jump much to dunk. I believe the statistic was average nfl player has a vertical 3 inches higher than the average nba player - this includes lineman.
The media loves talking about Ben Wallace’s strength. He supposedly has 3.8% bodyfat as well. And I love how everyone talks about his bench and curl numbers, as they are so essential to the game of basketball…

It was once said that the vertical differences btw basketball and football players is due to measuring techniques.

If anything, the difference in test methods would increase the gap between nfl and nba. The nba allows a step before the jump, while the nfl does not.

NFL players measure starting distance with two hands ( and most tuck shoulders down ), and standing vert reach is with one hand. This accounts for a 4-6" difference over a method that would measure actual max standing reach vs max reach on vertical.

HOwever a step before the vertical should negate most of this difference.

One thing for sure. Joints and tendon loading and wear are going to be a lot less on a 6’5" 195 LB baller vs a 6’1" 255 LB line backer if you run thru a basket ball game.

[quote]Eric Cressey wrote:
MrCritical wrote:
NBA players want strength, but not weight. You are talking about some 40" leapers and above. Carrying 10 extra pounds that high can’t be fun.

If you look at the latest Muscle and Fitness, they have a good article on Ben Wallace.

Are you kidding? That article is crap - completely fabricated training programs and lifting numbers.

And football players have markedly better vertical jumps than basketball players; look at the NFL vs. NBA combine numbers. I go into a lot of detail about this in my off-season training manual, but the basic reason is that basketball is a considerably more extensive aerobic stimulus. Football is 4-5 seconds of action, then 20-25 seconds of rest. Basketball is much more continuous.

www.UltimateOffSeason.com[/quote]

Well I don’t think the reason bball player are lighter is because they are perhaps more active. Because in all truth, a few tablespoons of peanut butter can make up for those extra burnt calories.

However, I do agree that the bball players themselve choose to be lighter to be more agile and since, like you said, bball requires more running around.

I’m not sure about NFL players having higer verticals. But if that’s true, it’s due to the fact that recruiters are looking for big 40 yard dash times and big vertical jumps. So they train for that specifically. NBA doesn’t take those tests as seriously, but look more at actual performance.

I personally don’t think the NFL combine tests are relevant to the actual game.

Being heavier doesn’t benefit an NBA player to the same degree it does NFL players. If you are crashing cars, you want a bigger car than your opponent- hence the need for size in the NFL. Not so in the NBA.

NBA players’ verticals are lower compare to nFL players because most of them just arent strong enough to produce enough force. NBA players can get away with little strength training because you simply dont have to be that strong to succeed in basketball (altho certain strength level definately helps)

However, their RUNNING verticals are another story. Most NBA players are reactive dominant due to the natural of their structures. A lot of nba players are one legged jumpers and can get up high off the run, which relies more on body structures and reactive ability than strength. That is also why most of their standing vert seem weak compare to their running vert. The highest standing vert in last years draft is i believe 37 inches.

Karl Malone was a beast and was far from a light weight and I think he shows that you can still be a great player and have some serious muscle.

[quote]homer1 wrote:
Well I don’t think the reason bball player are lighter is because they are perhaps more active. Because in all truth, a few tablespoons of peanut butter can make up for those extra burnt calories.

However, I do agree that the bball players themselve choose to be lighter to be more agile and since, like you said, bball requires more running around.

I’m not sure about NFL players having higer verticals. But if that’s true, it’s due to the fact that recruiters are looking for big 40 yard dash times and big vertical jumps. So they train for that specifically. NBA doesn’t take those tests as seriously, but look more at actual performance.[/quote]

Just think about it, if you did 2 hours of intense cardio a day, would you lose a little bit of muscle? I think so. I’m not so sure that NBA players are more agile than NFL skill positions either.

In pretty much every anaerobic test, NFL players would blow NBA players out of the water. It’s just that if you asked most NFL guys to sustain that output over a 12-minute quarter with barely any stoppage, they’d start to have some trouble! Also, all things being equal, the 5’11" guy is going to have a better vertical leap than the 6’7" guy… and there’s a lot more 6’7" guys in the NBA.

It’s like a horse vs. a cheetah. One can run fairly fast for a long time, the other can run incredibly fast in short bursts.

[quote]
I personally don’t think the NFL combine tests are relevant to the actual game.[/quote]

Which is probably why you aren’t employed by any NFL teams.

Points well taken, just some examples:
Players who in my humble opinion have"(or had) an advantage because of weight and power
Lebron James 240 lbs SG/PG
Anthony Mason (I know, old) 250/260 PF
Larry Johnson 240/250 SF
Shaquille O neal 330 lbs C
Ron Artest 250/260 SF
Michael Jordan 225 SG

Just some examples, and they are of course debatable. I think the extra mass is really helpful when posting up and defending physically.

I agree with what Cressey said. You can’t compare the short play length of of football play to the nearly continuous action of basketball. I played both sports in high school and I always lost weight over the course of the bball season because I felt quicker and it was less stressful on my joints.

As a side note, ESPN the magazine had a blurb about how the average height in the NBA is below 6’7 for the first time in x amount of years (I can’t remember the figure but I think its been atleast a decade or two). That’s interesting given teams’ reluctance most of the time to draft undersized players.

But, there seems to be more Nate Washington and Sebastian Telfair types in the league now.

It’s silly to say that the only reason BB players are smaller is due to the extra cardio. Rugby players run 5-6 hours a week in season and generally don’t lose any significant amounts of weight (that isn’t easily regained in a few weeks of off-season). There are definite training reasons for the smaller size.

[quote]Nick H wrote:
It’s silly to say that the only reason BB players are smaller is due to the extra cardio. Rugby players run 5-6 hours a week in season and generally don’t lose any significant amounts of weight (that isn’t easily regained in a few weeks of off-season). There are definite training reasons for the smaller size.[/quote]

Wouldn’t rugby be closer to American football than basketball?

[quote]arnoud verschoor wrote:
Points well taken, just some examples:
Players who in my humble opinion have"(or had) an advantage because of weight and power
Lebron James 240 lbs SG/PG
Anthony Mason (I know, old) 250/260 PF
Larry Johnson 240/250 SF
Shaquille O neal 330 lbs C
Ron Artest 250/260 SF
Michael Jordan 225 SG

Just some examples, and they are of course debatable. I think the extra mass is really helpful when posting up and defending physically.[/quote]

I think it definitely helps LeBron. He came into the league as a man amoung boys while in reality still a boy.

Lets not just think of the biggest most jacked nfl players and compare them to the skinniest NBA players. Lets compare the top wide receivers and top shooting guards, their positions have them do similar things, running, jumping, quick moves. I have a feeling most of the people on this thread have no idea what they are talking about. And if you think a meathead running back would be able to defend any point or shooting guard you are out of your mind.
SI did a special on the best 10 receivers in the league a year or two ago. Check it out:

Derrick Mason 5-10, 192
Eric Moulds 6-2, 210
Randy Moss 6-4, 210
Terrell Owens 6-4, 224
Chad Johnson 6-1, 192
Torry Holt 6-0, 190
Hines Ward 6-0, 205
M. Muhammed 6-2, 215
M. Harrison 6-0, 185

And here we have top shooting guards in the NBA:

Steve Francis 6-3, 200
M. Ginobili 6-6, 205
M. Redd 6-6, 215
R. Hamilton 6-7, 193
J. Richardson 6-6, 225
J. Johnson 6-7, 235
R. Allen 6-5, 205
V. Carter 6-6, 220
D. Wade 6-4, 212
K. Bryant 6-6, 220