Skinny Guys Who Dominate Their Sports

Athletes | 8/28/19

Since sports require lots of conditioning, professional athletes tend to be quite trim. There is a body type, though, that is not favored by most scouts. And that body type is skinny. The reasons why evaluators don’t love skinny frames can vary by sport.

Most of the reasons have to due to an increased probability of injury. A number of players, however, have defied the odds and became stars despite their skinny frames. Below is a list of the best skinny athletes playing professional sports today.

Chris Sale Has Defied The Odds

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Jason Miller/Getty Images
Jason Miller/Getty Images

Skinny frames can often be seen as a strike against Starting Pitchers. Scouts feel like hard throwers with thin bodies are much more likely to suffer arm injuries. At 6-6 with a 183-pound frame, Chris Sale is every evaluator’s worst nightmare.

Over the course of his career, though, he’s proven his naysayers wrong. The lefthander is a 7 time All-Star who has won two strikeout titles and led the Boston Red Sox to a World Series Championship in 2018.

Lamar Jackson Is Skinny But Incredibly Fast

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Todd Olszewski/Getty Images
Todd Olszewski/Getty Images

Football talent scouts like their Quarterbacks to have thick frames. Players at that position can take a fair amount of body shots, especially if they like to play outside of the pocket. The 6-2 Jackson is not only wiry, he also loves to extend plays with scrambles.

For players to hurt Jackson, though, they have to be able to catch him. This was a tough challenge at Louisville, where Jackson took home a Heisman Trophy. The thin Quarterback also had a terrific rookie year, helping the Baltimore Ravens to the NFL playoffs.

Stephen Curry Is A First Ballot Hall Of Famer, Guaranteed

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Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Despite being a superstar level player at Davidson College, Stephen Curry fell to the 7th pick in the 2009 draft. There were a few different things that gave scouts concern about the Point Guard and his thin frame was certainly high up on the list.

Curry has looked like a first-ballot Hall of Famer since early in his NBA career. The Golden State Warriors has not only taken home 3 titles he has also won the league’s MVP Award on two separate occasions.

Rafael Nadal Is A Master Of The French Open

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TPN/Getty Images
TPN/Getty Images

With the amount of practice time involved and the sheer amount of running that takes place each match, most tennis players stay pretty trim. Spanish tennis legend, Rafael Nadal, though, is even skinnier than the majority of his opponents.

Nadal has been a terror on the court since turning pro in 2001 when he was just 15-years-old. The Spaniard has captured each Grand Slam Tournament championship once and has won the French Open an astonishing 12 times.

Demetrious Johnson Dominated His Sport For Years

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Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images
Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Standing at only 5-3 and weighing in at only 135 pounds, former UFC Flyweight Demetrious Johnson is one of the smaller champions in the promotions history. According to many in the know, however, Johnson may has also been the best pound for pound fighter.

Johnson won his first Flyweight title in 2012. He was the very definition of a fighting champion, holding the belt for 6 years and defending it 11 times. The 11 title defenses represent an all-time UFC record.

Tuukka Rask Won A Stanley Cup And He’s Tiny

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Patrick Smith/Getty Images
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

NHL Goalies need to be light on their feet and have incredible reaction time. They also typically have stockier frames to help hold up at the challenging position. Finland’s Tuukka Rask, who plays for the Boston Bruins, is an exception, weighing in at only 188 pounds.

Despite the thin frame, Rask has experienced some tremendous success. He won a Stanley Cup with the Bruins in 2011 and took home the Vezina Trophy, awarded to the league’s best Goaltender, in 2014.

Meb Keflezighi Is Stick Thin But His Endurance Is Incredible

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Elsa/Getty Images
Elsa/Getty Images

Meb Keflezighi experienced an often brutal childhood while growing up in war-torn Eritrea. The runner and his family were able to relocate to the United States and moved to San Diego when Meb was 12 years old. Standing at 5-5, Keflezighi weights only 127 pounds.

He has won 2 major races, the New York Marathon in 2009 and the Boston Marathon in 2014. He also represented the United States in the Olympics, winning a silver medal during the 2004 games in Athens.

Kristaps Porzingis Is A True Leader But Skinny For His Sport

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Omar Vega/Getty Images
Omar Vega/Getty Images

The taller an NBA player is, the harder it can be for them to keep significant weight on. Standing at 7-3, Latvian Power Forward Kristaps Porzingis is an extreme example of this phenomenon.

Weighing in at only 240 pounds, Porzingis has yet to play with his new team, the Dallas Mavericks. When he is on the court, he is a dominant force with a tremendous jump shot and dominant defensive ability. Being on the court, though, is a challenge for the Forward who is coming off a serious ACL injury.

Rory McIlroy Is A Majors Machine

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Sam Greenwood/Getty Images
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Born in County Down, Northern Ireland, Rory McIlroy has been a force on the PGA Tour since turning pro in 2007 at 18 years of age. While he has experienced legitimate success, the golfer is also slight of frame at 5-10 and 161 pounds.

McIlroy has won 25 tournament events in his career. This string of success includes Major Championship wins at the PGA Championship (’12, ’14), US Open (’11) and the Open Championship (’14). The Irishman also captured the FedEx Cup in 2016 and 2019.

Christian Yelich Has Hit Like He’s 50 Pounds Heavier

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Dylan Buell/Getty Images
Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Sometimes baseball players can take a bit of time to really come into their own. And that’s not to say Christian Yelich was a bad player with the Marlins. He was quite good. But since a trade to the Millwaukee Brewers, he’s become a megastar.

Yelich is 6-3 and has a lanky frame. But he hits the ball awful hard. The 2 time All-Star won the NL MVP Award during the 2018 season. He’s been even better in 2019 and could be looking at another MVP nod.

Usain Bolt Dominates His Sport

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Jean Catuffe/Getty Images
Jean Catuffe/Getty Images

Track superstars do an awful lot of running and that action tends to keep their bodies quite trim. While they may have massive quads they can also feature thin frames. The perfect example of this is the world’s fastest man, Usain Bolt.

The 6-5 Bolt only carries 207 pounds on his frame. The Jamaican star has won 8 Olympic gold medals. He also holds a total of 19 Guinness records, which ranks second to elite American swimmer Michael Phelps.

Giannis Antetokounmpo Is A Different Stature Of Player In The Modern NBA

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Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The modern NBA is defined by positionless basketball and most teams hunt for guys who can play at multiple spots on the floor. No player defines this movement better than Giannis Antetokounmpo who stands 6-11 and weighs 240 pounds.

The Greek phenom can cover any position on the court from Point Guard to Center. He does a lot of everything good that can be done on the court and was rewarded for his fine play with the 2019 NBA MVP Award.

Peter Crouch Is Tall And Lanky For A Soccer Player

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Alex Livesey/Getty Images
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Soccer players have a pretty typical body type. Of course most are skinny due to the conditioning challenges of the sport. But no other player in the English Premier League has a body quite like that of Peter Crouch.

The 6-7 striker was listed at under 160 pounds. He began his pro career in 1998 at the age of 17. Crouch played for a number of teams over his career including Totteham Hotspur and Burnley. In 599 career games he scored 145 goals.

Robby Anderson

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Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

While he may not be well known to fans who don’t follow the Jets, Robby Anderson has been terrorizing teams over the last three seasons with his blazing speed. Anderson, who stands 6-3 is listed at 190 pounds but looks much thinner than that.

Anderson’s specialty is catching deep balls. The lanky receiver has averaged 14.9 yards per catch during his three-year career. In addition, he has caught 155 passes for 2,280 yards to go along with 15 touchdowns.

Didi Gregorius

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Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Didi Gregorius was born in Amsterdam and moved to Curacao when he was five-years-olds. There, he was discovered by scouts and signed with the Cincinnati Reds in 2007. He also had a stint in Arizona before breaking out with the Yankees.

The rail-thin Shortstop has become a fixture in New York’s lineup. He has hit for significant power for the team, knocking 85 home runs in 3 1/2 seasons. He has also stabilized the team’s defense with his slick fielding.

Artemi Panarin

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Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images
Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images

Artemi Panarin might be nicknamed, “The Breadman”, but his 170 pound frame doesn’t look like he imbibes too many carbohydrates. The Finnish superstar began his career playing with the Chicago Blackhawks, was moved to the Columbus Blue Jackets and signed with the New York Rangers over the summer.

From the second he hit the ice, Panarin has been a premier scorer in the league. Over the course of his 4 year career the Left Wing has notched 76 goals to go along with 107 assists.

Stephon Gilmore

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Rob Carr/Getty Images
Rob Carr/Getty Images

In addition to Wide Receivers and Kickers, Cornerbacks in the NFL can be quite skinny. One good example of this is Stephon Gilmore who began his career with the Buffalo Bills before signing with the Patriots on a monster $65 million contract.

The Patriots regularly ask Gilmore to lock up their opponents top wideout. He has almost always been up to the task. The shut down Corner has made the Pro Bowl twice in his career and won the Super Bowl with New England in 2019.

Billy Hamilton

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Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Billy Hamilton was a good enough football player in High School that he initially was going to play for the Mississippi State Bulldogs. The Reds convinced him to play baseball, though, and he moved quickly through Cincinnati’s farm system.

Hamilton does two things really well, run the bases and play electric defense. While he was an impact player for the Reds, he has now become more of a role player. The Centerfielder recently signed with the Atlanta Braves.

Trae Young

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Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images
Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Trae Young played one season for Oklahoma and was a phenomenon for the Sooners, leading the nation in both points and assists. Still, Young was not selected until the 5th pick in the 2018 draft. Many scouts were skeptical about how his 180-pound frame would hold up in the NBA.

If anything, Young proved a number of these doubters wrong with a tremendous rookie season. The Point Guard finished the season with per-game averages of 19.1 points, 8.1 assists, and 3.7 rebounds.

Johnny Gaudreau

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Gerry Thomas/NHLI via Getty Images
Gerry Thomas/NHLI via Getty Images

Johnny Gaudreau doesn’t exactly hail from a hockey hotbed as he was born and raised in New Jersey. He also doesn’t have the typical frame of an NHL star either, standing at 5-9 and weighing in at 165 pounds. Regardless, the Calgary Flame is an NHL star.

Gaudreau, who plays Left Wing for the Flames had his best year in 2018 scoring 36 goals and registering 63 assists. Over the course of his career, he has scored 133 goals with 254 assists.