Taking baby steps, even when you're 6'10"

Al Jefferson of the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves is one of the best young players in the league. He was the key player for Minnesota when it traded Kevin Garnett to the Celtics. Al is a big guy but in his mind, too big when it came to his weight. Al is young, only 24, but he recognized a need to lose weight not only for this professional performance but also for his overall health. He is now partnering with the American Heart Association to spread that message, especially to kids.

Please check out the article by Ray Richardson at the St. Paul Pioneer Press. You can find the full article at http://www.twincities.com/sports/ci_13547142?nclick_check=1, with an excerpt provided below.


For Timberwolves’ Al Jefferson, less is more this season; Playing lighter has some advantages for not-as-Big Al

Timberwolves forward Ryan Gomes had a wide-eyed look on his face when he saw Al Jefferson do something he never had seen his teammate do.

Jefferson was trailing a fast break in a scrimmage during Monday’s practice at Target Center. He was beyond the free-throw circle when the ball was passed back to him. Jefferson did a pump fake, took one dribble and drove the rest of the way to the basket for a layup.

“You can expect quicker moves off the block from Al with the weight loss,” Gomes said. “We’ve seen it a number of times already.”

Jefferson’s Subway diet in the offseason — which helped him lose 31 pounds — has given him a quicker first step at the power forward position and turned him into a role model for people with weight-loss issues.

Jefferson, 24, attracted interest from the local American Heart Association, which is partnering with the five-year veteran for a six-week program known as “Get Healthy With Big Al.” Jefferson helps kick off the program, aimed at school kids in the Twin Cities, with an appearance today at Andersen Elementary School in South Minneapolis.

The program stirs memories for Jefferson, who called himself a “chubby kid” while growing up in Prentiss, Miss.

“You have to deal with people teasing you,” Jefferson said. “Hopefully, I can inspire and motivate kids who might be overweight and let them know they can do what I did. It’s hard for kids. You want to eat everything … all the sweets you can eat and everything else.”

(The article continues at http://www.twincities.com/sports/ci_13547142?nclick_check=1)