MUSCLEWATCH 2014 (Update 1)

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — And here we are again. Summer has officially given way to fall, which means many things, but really only means one thing that we care about around these parts: IT’S ALMOST TIME FOR A NEW NBA SEASON.

And when training camps convene around the country, that means it’s time for … wait for it … MUSCLEWATCH!

What, you may ask, is MUSCLEWATCH? It stems from my friend Matt and I noticing years ago that our local paper used to always say that players had gained 15 pounds of MUSCLE in the offseason. No matter the sport, it was never 12, never 16, never 9, never 18, always 15 pounds of MUSCLE. So we began keeping an eye on the papers looking for references to the magic 15 pounds of MUSCLE. I started chronicling this each season in my blog over at SLAM, and eventually MUSCLEWATCH became about more than just the 15 pounds of muscle and more about guys who had either gained or lost a lot of weight. Previous winners include Thaddeus Young and Rudy Gay.

If you see MUSCLEWATCH info, tweet it and use the hashtag #MUSCLEWATCH to help us keep all this info straight.

MUSCLEWATCH has truly evolved from when it was Matt and I sitting around our apartment cracking jokes. I thought we’d come a long way a year ago when the official television network of the NBA was running promos for it…

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#MUSCLEWATCH is reaching critical mass

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And now actual NBA teams are referencing #MUSCLEWATCH…


I feel like we’ve got a movement on our hands. This is a wonderful thing.

WHEN WE LAST LEFT MUSCLEWATCH, Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday were putting in work. Let’s get into the muscles…

• The biggest story in the NBA this summer was LeBron James leaving the Miami Heat to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers. But pretty soon after the dust settled from The Announcement, LeBron started posting photos online where he looked drastically thinner than he looked last season.

In an interview this week with CNN’s Rachel Nichols, LeBron talked about his weight loss. (Around the 2:45 mark here.) According to LeBron he’s around 250 pounds — even though he’s been listed at 249 for years — thanks to eating only fish, meat, fruits and vegetables for 67 days. He also said, “I had the Cookie Monster chasing me in my dreams a few times.

We don’t know exactly how much weight LeBron lost or even how much he weighed before, unless someone gets it out of him at Cleveland’s media day, which I’m afraid makes him ineligible to win the MUSCLEWATCH title this season.

Instead, LeBron, in recognition of your efforts, we will give you this GIF of Cookie Monster dancing …


• While we’re talking about the NBA’s bold names, how about Carmelo Anthony slimming down?

Last season Melo was listed at 240, but he has apparently been making better choices when eating, according to this article. No Cookie Monster nightmares that we know about yet, however. YET.

• There were reports earlier this summer that Detroit point guard Brandon Jennings had added 25 pounds of muscle

• This would be an unofficial MUSCLEWATCH record, if true, so I felt the need to do some hard-hitting MUSCLEWATCH reporting. I went directly to the source, via Twitter…

However, after confirming the rumors, just moments later, presumably after re-reading the phrasing of the question, Jennings clarified things…

I think Brandon also called me crazy, but I’m willing to overlook that in the interest of MUSCLEWATCH correctness.

• I feel like we’re burying the lede a bit here, because we really need to talk about Boston’s Tyler Zeller. If you recall, and I’m sure you do, last offseason we learned that Zeller put on 20 pounds (thanks in no small part to doughnuts). This summer, according to ESPN Boston, Zeller has added another 10-15 pounds (not necessarily of MUSCLE). That gives us a combined two-year total of 35 pounds, which is really impressive no matter how you look at it. We may have a leader in the clubhouse.

• Several NBA players took part in the FIBA Basketball World Cup this summer. One player who nearly made Team USA was Utah’s Gordon Hayward. Despite spending several weeks with Team USA, Hayward was able to put on a noticeable amount of MUSCLE. According to Hayward, at that point in the summer he had put on 10 pounds of MUSCLE.

For what it’s worth, other theories were suggested as well…

Michael Carter-Williams is in Philly for his sophomore season, and he’s still recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, which means he’s still some time from fully participating in practice. The good news, however, is that he’s spent his down time putting on pounds. According to, MCW has added 11 pounds

• This is a very exact number, and in the interests of crowning a true MUSCLEWATCH winner, we are grateful for his accuracy.

• This is mostly circumstantial evidence, but in Minnesota the Wolves are shaping up. Check out Shabazz Muhammad

…as well as Anthony Bennett!

And they play on the same former team as Alexy Shved, who last year said, “I make muscle,” and former MUSCLEWATCH champ Thad Young.

Chris Bosh has been working on adding “leaner muscle.” I think we need more details on this one.

• According to one initial report, Charlotte guard Gary Neal has been putting in work…

We will need concrete evidence to confirm this, I’m afraid.

• Finally, in reference to the tweet from the Pelicans above, I only speak un peu French, so this article on Alexis Ajinca‘s weight gain had to be run through the Google translator. Here is what he said, allegedly: “At the end of last season, I was 115 kg. Today, I weigh 124 and it’s good weight, not fat. It will help me to intrude into the paint. This new body is the result of the fact that I took care of my body by eating well, taking protein shakes and lifting the cast every day. Everything went well and I enjoyed it. I still may have to do the same in the summer of 2015.”

Hopefully we get more detail when they have their media day. If true, I can’t wait to see him intrude into the paint this season. This could be our first international MUSCLEWATCH win!

We’ll be back soon with another update. In the meantime, lift the cast every day, you guys.


  1. T gas TT ako says:

    how about KD? he really needs some muscle now,, last WCF danny green can easily post him up,, thats ridiculous!!!

  2. The Alpha Male says:

    Jared Sullinger has been slimming down too

  3. josh says:

    What about Wesley Matthews of the blazers he looks the most ripped and fittest I’ve seen of him since he’s been in the NBA. 🙂