It's muscle watch time across the NBA, and today's star is Charlotte Hornets big man Al Jefferson. Once training camp and media day start to roll around everybody hears about how much weight players have lost or how much muscle they've gained over the offseason. Most of the time, players aren't really down to five percent body fat while gaining 20 pounds of muscle without losing any speed. Yet that's what gets reported every year. According to Memphis Grizzlies fans, Rudy Gay has put on 12 pounds of muscle every offseason for eight years now. That's 96 pounds of muscle gained.
So what did Big Al do to make this week's addition of muscle watch? He supposedly lost 20 pounds by giving up his fried chicken addiction. A mighty big sacrifice, but was it really worth? After all, fried chicken is a delicacy that one does not simply eliminate from their life.
Not eating fried chicken? What kind of life is that, Al Jefferson? NEWSFLASH: IT'S NOT A LIFE.— daiana. (@missdaiana) September 21, 2015
Fried chicken is not merely one of the main food groups to any diet, but it's a major part of southern life. That said, it's important that Big Al get into the best shape of his life so he can help lead the Hornets back to the playoffs. Perhaps all this extra offseason work will do the big man some good.
However, this isn't the first time Jefferson has supposedly given up his love of fried chicken to lose weight. Yahoo! Sports, Ball Don't Lie, looked into Big Al'ls history of trying to lose weight over the offseason, and his love of fried chicken.
The first time Big Al abandoned fried chicken was during the 2006 offseason, while still with the Boston Celtics, where Jefferson gave up his favorite food to lose weight for the upcoming season. The result? A slimmer Big Al came into the season and put up career numbers on his way to a starting spot. His play made him the centerpiece in the Kevin Garnett deal the following offseason.
Afterwards, Jefferson went back to his beloved chicken, and there's a story about his time in Utah involving rookie Enes Kanter trying to get chicken before it's his turn. Jefferson took offense to this and showed the rookie where he stood on the totem pole.
This might not be the first time Big Al gave up chicken and it's not the first time he's lost weight, but it's a good sign that he's acknowledged his knees can't handle his weight at this point of his life. Not only could this have long term effects on his career if he chose to not lose weight, but his life in general as well. The older he gets, the more his knees will weaken.
And the weight will begin to take its toll.
For someone like Jefferson, it's a great decision, and even though he's probably not coming into camp with an entirely new body, just knowing he's concerned about his general health is a great sign in general.
Of course, it would be nice if it led to him having another career year, but that would require him coming into camp with eight pounds of muscle, in the best shape of his life, while dropping 20 pounds.