Being an NBA player comes with an understanding you're supposed to be in shape. More often than not, most players in their prime seldom encounter issues dealing with that, but former Phoenix Suns center Oliver Miller was not one of those.
The Big O
Having earned the nickname “The Big O,” Miller had always been big for his age. According to an online weight calculator, Miller’s ideal weight in his 20s was 189 to 231 pounds. But in reality, “The Big O” hovered between 270 to 380 pounds during his first two years in the league.
Despite the weight issues, Miller’s basketball skills were undeniable. In fact, his former Suns teammate and NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley was once quoted saying:
The Suns went overboard
Throughout his nine-year NBA career, Miller played with an array of teams, including the Toronto Raptors, Detroit Pistons, Dallas Mavericks, and the Sacramento Kings. However, his time with the Suns is still the most impactful one for him, as Miller was part of the Phoenix squad that competed for the NBA title in 1993.
Miller left the Suns in the summer of 1994 and thought nothing was extraordinary, and it was ultimately a peaceful exit. However, after inking a deal with the Sacramento Kings in 1998, Miller learned in a horrible way that Suns fans, and probably the organization as well, wasn’t happy about his departure.
During an away game against the Suns, the team’s Gorilla mascot, who happened to be Miller’s friend, showed up in the arena looking evidently overweight and wearing Miller’s old Suns jersey. Clearly, the message was sent, and “The Big O” could’ve easily shaken it off. However, his entire family was there, and his kids witnessed how their father got insulted in front of thousands of people. This made the whole thing hard to bear for Miller.
“I was friends with him,” Miller told Fox 10 Phoenix in 2018. “I understand it’s a business, but the thing that bothered me was my kids they were at the game. They were more hurt than I was.”
In 2009, Miller expressed his desire to make an NBA comeback, but nothing came to fruition. He is said to have lost about 60 pounds, and nowadays, he’s just focused on living a healthy life for his family.
Miller’s story reminds us that playing in the NBA is indeed a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but at the end of the day, health and family “weigh” more than anything else.