Los Angeles Lakers rookie Brandon Ingram has garnered much criticism for his thin 6-foot-9, 190-pound frame.
Facing questions about whether his body can endure an 82-game season, Ingram has tried to eat anything and everything to pack on weight. But adding pounds all at once is not necessarily in his best interest.
“[Weight gain should be] a slow process,” Tim Grover, a trainer who has worked with Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, told ESPN. “These are basketball players. They aren’t bodybuilders.”
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Grover said it’s best to gain weight gradually over several years rather than to quickly pack it on. Basketball is a game of skill and finesse—you don’t need to look like a powerlifter to excel at it.
“You can’t just pack all this amount of weight on there and expect them [basketball players] to still be able to have the shooting touch and move the same way,” Grover said.
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Working with Jordan beginning in 1989, Grover tried to help him gain 5 pounds a year until Jordan got to a comfortable weight. When the Chicago Bulls drafted him in 1984, Jordan was listed at 195 pounds, and he hovered around the 213- to 218-pound range for the rest of his career.
Now, Ingram doesn’t try to eat everything in sight. His initial goal was to reach 210 pounds before the fall, but he currently doesn’t have a goal.
Ingram got to the NBA at 190 pounds. And he’s no scrub. He averaged 17.3 points per game at Duke last season. He’ll need to get stronger, but putting on a lot of weight won’t necessarily affect his game in a positive way.
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