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When you imagine an NBA player, it’s easy to think of him as something of a modern gladiator. The athlete is (in theory) there for our amusement. While he suffers the slings and arrows of public criticism, he’s also compensated for that reality with fame and fortune. That might seem like a pretty sweet gig, but it overlooks one key reality: These players are human beings.

Just ask Kyle Lowry about that.

During his time in the Association, Lowery developed somewhat of an Internet reputation for being “thicc.” And while that might seem like a bit of harmless online banter, it came to weigh heavily on the guard’s shoulders.

Kyle Lowery admitted that he was bothered by comments about his body


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Since they make a living using their bodies, professional athletes have to hear plenty of public discussion about their health, weight, and overall condition. While you could argue that they’re used to criticism, it can be hard to tune everything out. Kyle Lowry is proof of that reality.

During his time on the hardwood, the veteran guard became known for being “thicc.” A quick Google search will return plenty of memes and parody social media accounts, and there are stories going back as far as a 2016 ESPN write-up detailing Lowry’s attempts to lose weight. That specter arose at the end of the 2021-22 campaign when Pat Riley said the guard would have to be in better shape moving forward (h/t CBS Sports).

Again, you might think that some anonymous people on the internet making comments about his body shape would be easy to ignore. Lowry, however, wasn’t always able to tune out that noise.

“It used to bother me a lot,” the guard explained on a recent episode of The VC Show. “It used to get to me. It used to really get to me, to be honest with you. And now I don’t care. I’m in my office right now, and this is like I’m just gonna be a little bit cocky. Just a little bit. For me, a man who’s never been crazy athletic, ‘thicc,’ whatever, I’m looking at all-time steals, all-time something else, all-time something else, a 2016 Rio basketball … couple of all-star rings, bag over there with a couple of all-star basketballs. Yeah, thicc has been good for me.”

While Lowry came to a relatively happy conclusion, it’s still notable that he admitted to feeling stung by the overall online sentiment. From afar, it’s easy to view pro athletes as invincible, insulated by their fame, fortune, and on-court accolades, but the Heat guard proves that isn’t the case. Personal comments, especially those about sensitive issues like appearance and weight, can strike a nerve with anyone, regardless of their star status.

So, next time you’re about to fire off a tweet about someone’s butt, take a second to think. It might seem like a simple Twitter joke to you, but it could really sting the person on the other side of the screen.

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