MUSCLEWATCH

MUSCLEWATCH 2014 (Update 2)

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — It’s a Friday in the fall, which means it’s time for…wait for it…MUSCLEWATCH!

What, you may ask, is MUSCLEWATCH? I really hope by now you’re not still asking that question. But basically, it stems from my friend Matt and I noticing years ago that our local paper would always report 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 Thad Young and Rudy Gay.

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

One question I saw on Twitter that’s worth addressing…

No. Despite my best efforts, it’s impossible to tabulate a precise number. Has anyone counted all the stars in the sky? Do we know how many broken dreams line Broadway? No, no we don’t. It’s better to just understand that there are thousands if not millions of pounds won and lost out there and keep it moving.

WHEN WE LAST LEFT MUSCLEWATCH, there was a lot of sound and fury and MUSCLE, but not a lot of detail. Let’s get into the MUSCLE…

• Once again, actual NBA teams are using the #MUSCLEWATCH hashtag, as we saw in this tweet from the Toronto Raptors regarding Terrence Ross

That tweet was welcome, if a bit vague, so we also appreciate this clarification from Holly McKenzie, from which we learn Ross actually put on the MUSCLEWATCH gold standard of 15 pounds…

HOWEVER! Nobody actually specified if it’s 15 pounds of MUSCLE. And it matters, believe me, it matters.

• Last week we saw a few MUSCLEWATCH names in Minnesota, and we get more detail this, as Anthony Bennett, Ronny Turiaf and Shabazz Muhammad got into some, frankly, really weird workout stuff. Just read the beginning of this story

The children are slipping down Shabazz Muhammad’s back, inches away from falling into a pit of whitewater rapids and fire.
As Muhammad gropes for another handhold, his entire weight and an additional 100 pounds of helpless youth suspended above the perils below, he falters. A pair of guiding hands help steady him but only for a moment. Regaining his balance and summoning some interior-laden surge of strength, he climbs his way to safety while the kids on his back remain unharmed.

They worked out using HELPLESS YOUTH! Children were SLIPPING DOWN HIS BACK INTO A DEATH TRAP WHIRLPOOL! OK, OK, this was all imaginary, but still, this is extreme MUSCLEWATCH. No wonder they call their guy Hell’s Trainer.

Despite the insane workout, Muhammad said he came into camp at 224, which is two pounds more than he supposedly weighed a year ago before the draft. And Bennett, according to the story above, lost “about 10 pounds.” So while they each may be in much better shape, for MUSCLEWATCH purposes they still have some work to do.

Kobe Bryant has had a love-hate relationship with MUSCLEWATCH through the years, and this year is no different. A few months ago, paparazzi photos seemed to suggest that Kobe had put on, well, a few pounds. But then Kobe showed up in camp looking svelte, and Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak suggested Kobe had lost 10-12 pounds.

How did Kobe do it? By eating “clean.”

I guess that means a lot of hand washing?

• We need to send a shoutout to Utah Jazz beat writer Jody Genessy from the Deseret News, who has been all over MUSCLEWATCH, including several tweets…

And since we’re talking Jazz, we’ve had our first-ever announcer appearance on MUSCLEWATCH, as Jazz radio voice David Locke was reported to be in phenomenal shape…

I caught up with David this week and he confirmed that he is feeling good, although he noted that once the season begins his bicycling regimen will likely fall by the wayside. Still, a terrific showing all around in Utah. We salute you!

• Bonjour, Monsieur Diaw! Spurs forward Boris Diaw has had some ups and downs with his weight through the years. At Spurs media day this season, coach Gregg Popovich acknowledged Diaw’s struggle…

Boris used social media to respond, as one should, with the following photo and this caption: “No worries pop only one glass of wine and daily workouts!”

Also, thanks to the San Antonio Express News, which put together a 117-photo gallery about which players are and are not arriving in shape in San Antonio.

• WE HAVE A CONTENDER! Add Kendrick Perkins to the long list of guys who have dropped weight this summer, and with Perk, unlike with LeBron and Melo, we actually have a concrete number…

• Up in Boston, Celtics forward Jeff Green has put on some MUSCLE…

And Kelly Olynyk is “definitely stonger,” with a #MUSCLEWATCH in the story!!

• And finally, in Phoenix, Alex Len has apparently added “10-15 pounds.” Of MUSCLE? Well, that’s unclear.

See you next week. Keep MUSCLING!

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…

And now actual NBA teams are referencing #MUSCLEWATCH…

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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 …

cookiedance

• 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 (more…)

Summer MUSCLEWATCH Round-up


VIDEO: Jrue MUSCLEWATCH

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — There are still a few months until NBA training camps begin, so NBA players still have time to get in the weight room and add 15 pounds of muscle, the amount they always seem to add, and make an appearance on MUSCLEWATCH. Once camps start up we’ll launch our official MUSCLEWATCH 2014, but right now with plenty of guys playing in summer league, we can make an initial check-in and see how MUSCLEWATCH is shaping up.

What, you may be asking, is MUSCLEWATCH? It stems from my friend Matt and I noticing years ago that out 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 Thad Young and Rudy Gay. If you see MUSCLEWATCH info, tweet it and use the hashtag #MUSCLEWATCH to help us keep all this info straight.

On to the MUSCLEWATCH…

Anthony Davis is already making a case to be a MUSCLEWATCH winner this season.

• In the video above, AD’s teammate Jrue Holiday talks about adding muscle and strengthening the leg he had surgery on. We don’t get any concrete numbers, but he still has months to go.

• One of the big stories from summer league has been the newly-slimmed Anthony Bennett, who looks much different. According to our man Steve Aschburner, Bennett has lost 15 pounds from his playing weight last season. I also love this quote from Bennett so much: “It wasn’t really that tough. My body is kind of weird. I can gain weight fast, I can lose weight fast. So it was just me maintaining it. Watching what I eat at night.”

• Bulls forward Tony Snell arrived for summer league not only with his braids gone, but with 10 pounds of muscle added. “I’ve been in the weight room a lot and I’m eating right,” Snell said. That’ll do it, Tony.

Victor Oladipo is dropping weight this summer. Might want to slow the pace a bit, Vic, considering we have a few months to go…

• Battling with Anthony Davis for MUSCLEWATCH honors may be Timberwolves center Gorgui Dieng, who has added 17 pounds(!) since the season ended and has plans to keep going. Do it, Gorgui!

• Finally, Brandon Jennings has some vague weight goals on his mind…

Anthony Davis makes sushi, plus early MUSCLEWATCH appearance

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis had a terrific sophomore season in the NBA, averaging a double-double and leading the league in blocks at 2.8 per game. But after taking a few weeks off, he’s right back at it in the weight room…and the sushi bar?

Let’s start in the weight room. It’s a little early to begin our tradition unlike any other, MUSCLEWATCH, where we keep an interested eye on the increasing size of various NBA players, who seem to perpetually inflate each summer by 10-15 pounds of muscle. It’s not quite the summer, I don’t think, but I’m calling an unprecedented early start to MUSCLEWATCH, as the Pelicans released this video of Anthony Davis working out.


VIDEO: AD Works out

According to one writer, Davis is up 17 pounds (of muscle) from his college weight…

And while he increases his muscle, Davis is apparently also spending time working on his acting skills, here playing a sushi chef in a new commercial…


VIDEO: AD makes sushi

Denver Continues Its Obsession With Food

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — A few weeks back, we noted that since Denver coach Brian Shaw banned junk food from the Nuggets’ locker room, the Nuggets had gone into a tailspin. Of course, since that post they’ve gone 6-3 and apparently turned things around. There is no official word on whether the junk food ban has been lifted or not, but judging from the recent culinary focus of some of the Nuggets’ social media accounts, it seems food remains on their minds.

JaVale McGee, for instance, recently celebrated a birthday, and at his party he was presented with a birthday cake. But not just any cake — this one has a mustache on the side, as well as a jug of water, since we all know Javale is about that #juglife.

And then going one further, at least when it comes to using food as a personification device, is Nate Robinson, who got a pizza with his face on it. Amazing …

(via TNLP)

Nuggets Struggling Since Switching To Healthy Diet

Indiana Pacers v Denver Nuggets

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — I’ve spent a large portion of my life in NBA locker rooms and around NBA players. I’ve also spent a large portion of my life eating, so if anyone is qualified to, ahem, weigh in on this next story, it’s probably me.

At the beginning of December, Nuggets coach Brian Shaw was searching for an excuse for the Nuggets consistently getting off to slow starts in games. According to this story, filed about a week after the incident, Shaw came through the locker room before a game and saw the players indulging in what some may consider an unhealthy diet. So he banned it.

Last week, he walked through the locker room, saw players eating pizza and nachos and believed the poor diet to be the cause. So he picked up all the junk food and threw it in the trash.

The Nuggets had fresh salads with chicken breast and cold cut sandwiches before Monday’s game. The sluggish result was the same.

So what we learn from this is that eating poorly before games was not the reason the Nuggets were starting games poorly. I’ve been in hundreds of NBA locker rooms before games, and if I had to pick the pregame meal I’ve seen consumed most often, it would probably be chicken fingers. I believe this is because while teams often have large (and nominally healthy) meals catered following games, before games players usually have to send a ballboy to a concession stand to get them food, and chicken fingers are sold in almost every arena around the league.

(Granted, pizza and nachos are probably even less healthy than chicken fingers, I think? Not sure. I better eat all three to find out.)

Bigger picture, however, this has not been a fruitful move for the Nuggets. As the sleuths at Reddit did the detective work, the Nuggets have been in a tailspin since Shaw turned into Richard Simmons. From Reddit’s deductions, the Nuggets have gone 1-8 since going healthy.

Now sure, part of that might be because they played some tough opponents over that stretch (Miami, Golden State, Oklahoma City, etc.), but there definitely seems like a pretty clear line between pizza and nachos and losing.

The only obvious solution: A pregame pizza and nachos feast before the next game. And if they lose that one, just ban food altogether.

(via B/R)

MUSCLEWATCH (Update 4)

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Well friends, I hate to say it, but MUSCLEWATCH 2013 is starting to wind down. We’ve made great strides this year, as MUSCLEWATCH is starting to get recognized everywhere from television to other websites. Today we check in with the results from the final rounds of media day, and then by early next week we should have collected enough data to select a MUSCLEWATCH winner.

As a reminder for the uninitiated, all are welcome here: What, you may be asking, is MUSCLEWATCH? MUSCLEWATCH is our in-depth look at the weight gains and losses of NBA players as the season starts. And we’re not just talking weight, we’re talking any kind of size, really.

Before we get to the latest reports, don’t forget that for all your MUSCLEWATCH needs, be sure to check out our previous posts on the topic. And as always, if you see any MUSCLEWATCH news, drop me an email or hit me on Twitter (using #MUSCLEWATCH).

• We start Update 4 in Memphis, where Grizzlies VP for basketball operations John Hollinger is attempting to get into the spirit of MUSCLEWATCH…

As I had to explain to John, this is MUSCLEWATCH, not MUSSELWATCH. But we certainly respect the effort.

• Up in Toronto, not only has Rudy Gay allegedly added 20 pounds, he is actually on the record, with quotation marks and everything, as saying he’s added “20 pounds of muscle.”

We should note that this isn’t the first time Rudy’s been involved with MUSCLEWATCH — in 2009 he added 19 pounds. Either way, I believe we may have a leader in the clubhouse, not taking into account the Canadian/US weight exchange rate. I better check with The Starters about that.

• The official blog of the Atlanta Hawks blessed us with an actual MUSCLEWATCH section in their official media day round-up. Some important bits in there include Dennis Schröder adding 8 pounds and Mike Scott dropping 15 pounds. “Yeah [stopped eating McDonalds],” Scott said. “Eating more Whole Foods. They got me on the Whole Foods diet and it’s been working. No more [Krispy Kreme's in the morning].”

• I also feel like we should just take a moment to recognize Lou Williams‘ endorsement of Zaxby’s Kickin’ Chicken sandwich in the same article.

• So much MUSCLEWATCH is happening in Minnesota! Kevin Love doesn’t know his weight but has supposedly lost a bunch. Derrick Williams and Shabazz Muhammad are each down 15 pounds. We also have maybe the best quote of MUSCLEWATCH 2013 from Alexey Shved, who lost weight but added muscle. As Shved memorably said, “I make muscles.”

• According to this article, Nets G Deron Williams lost weight last season over the All-Star Break, which is a new one for me. He says this summer he was able to maintain the weight at which he finished last season. Also in Nets-land, you can now see the muscle on Brook Lopez

• Reigning Rookie of the Year Damian Lillard made the cut, barely:

Ray Allen has adopted the paleo diet and dropped under the Mendoza line…

• At the 3:20 mark of the video below, Knicks C Tyson Chandler says he put on “15, 20 pounds” since last season, and after “around 240 or so” and losing another “10, 12 pounds” — which presumably would have made him somwhere around 230 — right now he weighs 253 pounds. That’s a lot of vague math right there.
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• Finally, Denver F Darrell Arthur reports he’s lost about 20 pounds from what he weighed last season, which was partially residual weight from having an achilles injury. Great hustle, Darrell.

MUSCLEWATCH (Update 3)

hibbert_split

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — We are deep into training camp and media days, which can mean only one thing: MUSCLEWATCH 2013 is fully upon us. And even as I am knee-deep in MUSCLEWATCH reports, coming in from around the NBA, imagine my surprise last week when I flipped on NBA TV and found MUSCLEWATCH reaching its largest audience yet:

(more…)

MUSCLEWATCH 2013 (Update 2)

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — MUSCLEWATCH 2013 is really heating up, you guys. Players are showing up in their cities and starting to talk to the press about their offseasons, and we’re discovering who has put on weight, who has lost weight, and who has put on…wait for it…muscle! We’ve got a couple of updates for today, and for all your MUSCLEWATCH needs, be sure to check out our previous posts on the topic. And as always, if you see any MUSCLEWATCH news, drop me an email or hit me on Twitter (using #MUSCLEWATCH).

On to the latest and greatest…

• It’s just not MUSCLEWATCH without a superstar involved, and yesterday Chicago’s Derrick Rose jumped into the conversation. In an interview with the homie Adam Figman at SLAM magazine, D-Rose casually threw out there that during his injury rehab, he’s managed to pack on some muscle…

“Right now I’m in training, and I’m getting a lot stronger. I gained 10 pounds of muscle. I don’t know how that’s going to carry over to how I play on the court, but I know it’s going to be very weird. I’m shooting a lot of shots right now, working with Rob, just putting memory back in my leg.”

Rose went on to talk about how he believes the added muscle may help him finish stronger at the basket this season. True, but more relevantly, Derrick, it will get you into MUSCLEWATCH. Congrats!

• Mixed news out of Boston, where Avery Bradley has spent the entire summer working out and has apparently added the magic number: 15 pounds of muscle. Bradley, however, may miss the beginning of training camp after the tragic recent passing of his mother.

• Out in the Bay, it seems like the Warriors are heading in similar directions. Not only has Draymond Green apparently lost 15 pounds since last season, but this article kind of casually mentions that David Lee and Andrew Bogut are also sporting “leaner looks.” It is unclear if that means they’ve actually lost weight or gotten stronger or are just wearing better-fitting clothes so that they appear thinner. Guess we’ll have to wait for media day to get some official numbers.

• And finally, Metta World Peace is on his grind…

MUSCLEWATCH 2013 (Update 1)

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — I spent the last week on vacation, which means I very purposely did not open my laptop or dip into any NBA news. I also did not exercise, nor watch what I eat, because it was a vacation and I needed a break from life. Yet NBA players get no such vacations — they must be on guard year-round, constantly keeping on a eye on their fitness and health.

This all dovetails nicely with MUSCLEWATCH 2013. We talked about it briefly two weeks back: MUSCLEWATCH is our in-depth look at the weight gains and losses of NBA players as the season starts. And since the last update, there have been a few occurrences for us to keep at eye on. And don’t forget, if you see any MUSCLEWATCH news, let us know via email or Twitter!

To the news!

• According to Minnesota VP Flip Saunders, Kevin Love is about 240 pounds and will be at the lowest weight of his pro career. “He’s lost weight in his face,” Saunders said, “and his body looks leaner with muscle. He’s really committed.” He must have been doing a lot of face exercises in order to hit that rare target of facial weight loss.

• Down in New Orleans, big man Anthony Davis has gained between 10-12 pounds, mostly by eating a lot. “I want to gain at least five more before training camp starts,” Davis explained. “They have me lifting weights. I’ve been staying on top of it, eating more, making sure I’m eating breakfast, lunch and dinner. Everything helps. It’s showing.” I am no expert here, but it seems to me that if the goal is gaining weight, eating a lot of food could be a helpful plan.

• An early favorite for MUSCLEWATCH 2013 has to be Cleveland big man Tyler Zeller, who claims to have added almost 20 pounds in preparation for this season by going on a Krispy Kreme diet. As he told the Cleveland Plain Dealer, “They’re so good. If you get them hot…”

(PRO TIP FOR TYLER: When the Krispy Kreme sign is flashing, the doughnuts are hot!)

What’s really amazing is that Zeller added 20 pounds from the end of last season, but considering most of that was doughnut weight, it wasn’t necessarily the best kind of weight for him to put on. “I had to transfer that into ‘good’ weight and muscle,” Zeller explained. “Now I’m between 255-260, and I’m pretty happy with that, although I’m trying to gain more.”

So if I’m reading this correctly, Zeller managed to eat his way to adding 20 pounds of doughnuts, and then he somehow transformed that extra weight into “good” weight, or muscle. Seems to me like this is a trick a lot of people would love to know about.

Could Tyler Zeller have accidentally invented the greatest diet known to man? I say yes.

• And finally, Zeller’s teammate Kyrie Irving is trying to take of his weight the old-fashioned way: By working out…