No one thought of John Williams as overweight when he played at LSU between 1984 and 1986, but rather as a Los Angeles schoolyard wizard. After joining the Bullets, he has, alas, spent the last two off-seasons incommunicado and swelling to as much as 305 pounds. When he showed up after training camp last fall, it was clear he hadn't been summering at La Costa. The Bullets have since suspended him indefinitely without pay, and he has sat out all of this season.
Great Moments in Fat-Guy History, 1991.
In Dallas for Spud Webb's charity fundraiser, Barkley spots Oliver Miller in an arena hallway. He flashes a smile, extends his hand and says, "What's up, big fella?"
Miller gets giddy just recalling the moment. "He stopped me," says Miller. "I was, like, dazed. I mean, he said 'What's up?" like we'd been friends for a while! We went out to a club later that night and talked."
About local cuisine, perchance? Big-men's boutiques in NBA cities? The music of Barry White?
"Nah," says Miller. "We talked mainly about women."
Miller, a senior, should probably lose another 20 pounds before the NBA draft in June, but Arkansas coach Nolan Richardson and his staff are more concerned with slimming down Miller's likely replacement, 6'9" Dwight (Fat Flight) Stewart, the juco transfer and academic sit-out who showed up in Fayetteville last fall weighing 320 pounds. Besides, Miller has an awfully light heart for so heavy a guy. "If I could lose 20 pounds," he says with a faraway look in his eye, "I'd be quicker. I could get up and down the floor better. I'd be a better shot-blocker. And I could fill the lane on the break."
There's nothing a big man wants to do more than fill the lane on the break. Isn't that incentive enough?
"Losing weight would help all parts of my game," he says. "Believe me, I know that. But I've been playing with my [extra] weight all my life, and I do pretty well. If the coach puts me out there, I'll do the things he wants me to do."
And if the coach doesn't put him out there, and you happen to be sitting in the front row....