Why are Basketball Players Tall

Why are basketball players tall? This is a question that many basketball lovers tend to ask. The height of basketball players tends to be greater than that of athletes of other disciplines, which leaves us wondering whether practising basketball favours growth or, on the contrary, it is about people who prefer this sport for its genetic qualities.

For many, an almost direct consequence of playing basketball is a significant increase in height. While there are a few exceptions, in a basketball squad, be it youth or older, height is a common characteristic. Now, this does not mean that this sport is its cause. Have you ever wondered why basketball players are tall? This is, in fact, one of the main reasons why many people start practicing this sport. Those who did it since they were little surely already attribute a few centimeters to this game; those who joined later also tend to desire the same benefits.

The average height of an amateur basketball player is 1.75 meters. Meanwhile, the average for professionals is truly surprising: it exceeds two meters in height.

An inevitable questioning arises; we all wonder why are basketball players tall? Next, we will shed a little light on this question.

Why are Basketball Players Tall?

First of all, it is necessary to clarify that being tall is a fundamental characteristic of this discipline’s practice. This is because the ring in which the ball is dunked is 3.08 meters from the ground.

Although many annotations are indeed made from a distance, jumping to get closer and introducing the ball into it is also necessary; regarding the factors that cause this peculiarity, many claims that it is a myth that basketball causes a gain in height. Those who maintain this affirm that it is genetics that predetermines the bones’ shape and length; basketball, then, has no participation or interference in their growth.

Science seems to agree, at least in part. Certain university entities have reported that 95% of people’s height depends on genetics, while other studies affirm that this percentage is, in fact, 80%. In either case, the hypothesis that basketball makes its players tall is denied. Moreover, it could be the other way around: they choose this sport precisely because of the advantage that their height represents.

Why are Basketball Players Tall

Can Basketball Make you Taller?

Often, many people say that sports, such as basketball, can help you gain height. Not surprisingly, many parents recommend their children, especially boys, to play basketball. The existence of jumping movements when you play basketball may be the reason why basketball can increase height. But is this true?

Many people think that playing basketball can increase the height or make you taller. However, this doesn’t seem very certain. Some researchers believe that jumping around playing basketball can cause the body to release growth hormones and those hormones that trigger height growth as earlier highlighted. Jumping can also increase blood flow to parts of the body that work when jumping, such as legs and spine, to increase height. This may be true, but it does not mean that playing basketball can immediately increase your height, and you are taller.

What is the Average NBA Player Height?

The table below highlights the required average height NBA players ought to possess for every position.

PositionHeight (no shoes)Height (shoes)
PG6′ 1.1″6′ 2.1″
SG6′ 4.2″6′ 5.4″
SF6′ 6.5″6′ 7.8″
PF6′ 7.7″6′ 9.0″
C6′ 7.7″6′ 11.0″

Who are the Tallest Players in NBA History?

Anyone who doesn’t miss a good basketball game knows that this is a sport that requires agility, speed, and reflex, in which players are at least two meters tall on average. And as there are always exceptions, sometimes a big guy comes around to the crowd’s delight. Suppose you have the dream of meeting the tallest players globally. In that case, the best place to find them is on the prestigious basketball courts, and what better place like the National Basketball Association to discover them. Thus, a highlight of some tall basketball players include:

Gheorghe Muresan (Romania)

The 2.31m and 147kg Romanian are number one when it comes to the tallest NBA player. Gheorghe Muresan was chosen by the Washington Bullets in the 1993 draft, in 30th place. And despite a promising career, the athlete suffered from a series of bruises that shook his performance in the games. His best performance was in the 1994-1995 season, averaging 14.5 points per game. Muresan ended his career in 2006, with 3,020 points scored, 1,957 rebounds, and 455 blocks.

Gheorghe Muresan

Manute Bol (South Sudan)

With 2.31m and 92kg, Manute Bol is another taller basketball player

who was drafted by Washington Bullets in 1985, in 31st place? He was also very present in the carboy and led blockades in two seasons, in 1986 and 1989. The athlete left the league in 1995, after participating in 624 games, making 1,599 points, catching 2,647 rebounds, and making 2,086 blocks. 

Manute Bol

Yao Ming (China)

Contrary to the Chinese’s biotype, who have an average of 1.73m, the 2.29m, and 141kg athlete. Yao Ming was chosen by the Houston Rockets in 2002 to join the team. A year later, in 2003, the NBA did something unprecedented so far, a vote for the All-Star game in three languages: English, Spanish and Chinese. Ming was chosen to start the game by the West team in front of O’Neal. And was the first freshman to start a game of the stars since 1995.

In 2011, the athlete announced his stoppage due to a foot and ankle injury. In total, he scored an incredible 9,247 points, caught 4,494 rebounds, and blocked 920 shots. One of the best performances among players above 2.20m.

Yao Ming

Shawn Bradley (Germany)

Fourth on this list of the NBA’s tallest players comes German Shawn Bradley, with a height of 2.29m and a weight of 125kg. The 76ers chose the athlete in 1993, was successful at the grassroots. And led the blocking league in 2001 and the per game in 1997. He has defended the Philadelphia 76ers, New Jersey Nets, and Dallas Mavericks teams throughout his career as a player. Bradley retired in 2005, having scored 6,752 points, taken 5,268 rebounds, and made 2,119 blocks.

Shawn Bradley

Slavko Vranes (Montenegro)

Also, with 2.29m, but 10 kilos more, with 135 kg, Vranes was chosen by the Knicks in 2003. But was discharged in December of the same year. In 2004, he signed a ten-day contract with the Portland Trail Blazers and played only one game in his league career. And despite a short trajectory in the NBA, the athlete was very successful in the Eurocup, ABA league, Serbian and Montenegrin Liga.

Slavko Vranes

Who are the Shortest NBA Players?

Throughout basketball, all kinds of players have passed through the NBA, from the tallest to the shortest, going through the strongest and weakest, the most and least athletic. Without a doubt, those players who have not stood out precisely for their tall stature have managed to carve an important niche in the pages of the NBA competition.

In a league where being tall is ‘natural,’ short players have had to adapt in the best possible way to survive. Thus, here is a highlight of some of the shortest NBA players:

Tyrone “Muggsy” Bogues (America)

With a height of 1.60 meters, Tyrone “Muggsy” Bogues stands as the shortest basketball player in NBA history. He was chosen 12th in the 1987 Draft by the Washington Bullets. He played in the NBA until 2001, going through the Charlotte Hornets (1988-97), the Golden State Warriors (1997-99), and the Toronto Raptors (1999-01). His best individual season was 94-95 with the Hornets, where he averaged 11.1 points per game playing a total of 78 games.

Tyrone "Muggsy" Bogues

Earl Boykins (America)

With a height of 1.65 meters, Boykins appeared in the 1998 NBA Draft, although he was not selected. He returned to the league in 1999 after signing an unsecured contract with the New Jersey Nets. He went through teams like the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Orlando Magic, the Los Angeles Clippers, and the Golden State Warriors. In 2004, he managed to sign his first guaranteed contract with the Denver Nuggets.

Earl Boykins

Spud” Webb (America)

Webb is a short player in the NBA, with a height of 1.68 meters. He spent 12 seasons in the NBA, playing for teams such as Atlanta Hawks (1985-91, 1995-96), Sacramento Kings (1991-95), Minnesota Timberwolves (1996), and Orlando Magic (1998). He is also the shortest participant in the history of the dunk contest, which he won in 1986.

Spud" Webb


In conclusion, basketball is phenomenal, as well as an extremely exciting game. From the highlight above, we can establish different theories regarding why basketball players are so tall. However, the one which is quite acceptable is that of genetics and hormones. Furthermore, although basketball is a game that includes a lot of strategy and teamwork, some factors may or may not benefit a team, such as its players’ height. Thus, the taller the player, the easier it will be to reach the basket.