What is the Average NBA Player Height?

Tall basketball player shooting ball in hoop

Imagine you’re watching an NBA game on TV. You know that the professional basketball players are tall given their profession, but with a whole team standing next to each other, it can be difficult to tell just how tall each person is. Look at the same players in a photo with, say, their family or other celebrities outside of the sport though, and NBA players may shock you with their height, towering over everyone else in the group. 

Putting some numbers to it, let’s take a closer examination at what the average NBA player height is. 

A Look at the Average Basketball Player Height

Depending on what stats you consider, the average NBA player height is around 6 feet 6 inches. 

NBA Players Height Assessment

According to data from the National Center for Health Statistics, the height of the average adult male aged 20 and over in the United States is 5 feet 9 inches. Look at the average height in the NBA, however, and you’ll see a much higher average at 6’6”.

You’ve probably noticed that professional athletes of different sports have different physiques.  For instance, many talented gymnasts are considered short, many long-distance runners are lean, and many NBA players are tall. These physiques are either honed after countless hours of a specific type of training, or sometimes people are encouraged to play certain sports given how their body shape might suit the game.

Depending on which source you look at, of course, this number can vary depending on the season as players join and leave the league. Generally speaking, the average height in the NBA has gone up since the association officially formed in 1949, according to RunRepeat.

Reaching a certain height isn’t a requirement for playing the sport at any level, but it does have its advantages. Due to the nature of how basketball is played, being taller can make it easier to travel to the basket, reach the hoop for a slam dunk, and block other players’ shots.

Tall basketball player slam dunking

The Tallest Basketball Players in the NBA

Looking across the complete history of the NBA, these are the nine tallest NBA players of all time and their heights. These numbers are even more impressive when you consider that some estimates online claim that there are only around 2,800 people who are 7 feet tall on the whole planet!:

  • Gheorghe Mureșan: 7 feet 7 inches
  • Manute Bol: 7 feet 7 inches
  • Tacko Fall: 7 feet 6 inches
  • Slavko Vraneš: 7 feet 6 inches
  • Shawn Bradley: 7 feet 6 inches
  • Yao Ming: 7 feet 6 inches
  • Chuck Nevitt: 7 feet 5 inches
  • Pavel Podkolzin: 7 feet 5 inches
  • Sim Bhullar: 7 feet 5 inches

Note: Use our imperial to metric converter 

While the article may be from over a decade ago, Pablo Torre famously wrote in Sports Illustrated that “While the probability of, say, an American between 6’6″ and 6’8″ being an NBA player today stands at a mere 0.07%, it’s a staggering 17% for someone 7 feet or taller.” 

More analysis can certainly be done, but it’s a quote and statistic that continues to be thrown around to this day! But, if you’re above 7 feet, you may want to consider basketball as a career path! After all, a common basketball cliche is, “You can’t teach height!”.

The Shortest Basketball Players in the NBA

For some comparison within the league, let’s take a look at the nine shortest NBA players of all time. You may find that you’re actually taller than some of these basketball pros, but they’ll likely still beat you on the court! (Some of them even dunk!):!

  • Muggsy Bogues: 5 feet 3 inches
  • Earl Boykins: 5 feet 5 inches
  • Mel Hirsch: 5 feet 6 inches
  • Spud Webb: 5 feet 7 inches
  • Greg Grant: 5 feet 7 inches
  • Keith Jennings: 5 feet 7 inches
  • Red Klotz: 5 feet 7 inches
  • Wataru Misaka: 5 feet 7 inches
  • Monte Towe: 5 feet 7 inches

Fun facts: 

  • Spud Webb won the Slam Dunk Contest in 1986. 
  • Muggsy Bogues once played on the Bullets with Manute Bol, meaning at one time, the shortest NBA player and the tallest NBA player played on the same team!

And, as Muggsy Bogues said in an interview with The Saturday Paper, “The naysayers didn’t realise a kid my size was capable of doing it, so breaking down those barriers was enough motivation for me. I was letting them know I belonged. That was fuel for me. That became my make-up. Even if it was a pick-up game, I had that same effort—I didn’t go easy on anyone.”

Whatever someone’s first impressions of a player may be from how tall they are, these NBA stars prove that height isn’t everything. 

Basketball players in white uniforms huddled together

What About the Average NBA Point Guard Height?

Maybe you’re curious how the average basketball player height changes depending on the position. If you’re an avid sports fan, you may already know that a basketball team is made up of a few different main positions: point guard, shooting guard, center, power forward, and small forward. Each of these positions has a different role on the court.

In charge of handling the ball and creating scoring opportunities, the point guard is not only considered a leader on the team, but interestingly, they’re also often one of the shortest players on the team. Remember though, just because a point guard is short relative to their teammates doesn’t make them short compared to the average population. Looking at recent statistics, the average height of an NBA point guard currently is around 6 feet 2 inches to 6 feet 3 inches. (Though, the trend is starting to change, and you’ll likely see taller point guards out on the court).

Tallest NBA Point Guards of All Time

Wondering who were the tallest NBA point guards of all time? You’ll notice that there’s a pretty wide range, with some ranking taller than the average NBA player height and some being shorter.

  • Ben Simmons: 6 feet 11 inches
  • Magic Johnson: 6 feet 9 inches
  • Penny Hardaway: 6 feet 7 inches
  • Oscar Roberston: 6 feet 5 inches
  • Jason Kidd: 6 feet 4 inches
  • Walt Frazier: 6 feet 4 inches
  • Gary Payton: 6 feet 4 inches
  • Dennis Johnson: 6 feet 4 inches

Shortest NBA Point Guards of All Time

Take a look at the other end of the spectrum, and you might recognize a name or two on the list of the shortest NBA point guards of all time. That’s right—these players are all the same ones from the previous list of the shortest NBA players, even further proving that shorter players can still find success as NBA point guards.

  • Muggsy Bogues: 5 feet 3 inches
  • Earl Boykins: 5 feet 5 inches
  • Mel Hirsch: 5 feet 6 inches
  • Spud Webb: 5 feet 7 inches
  • Greg Grant: 5 feet 7 inches
  • Keith Jennings: 5 feet 7 inches
  • Red Klotz: 5 feet 7 inches
  • Wataru Misaka: 5 feet 7 inches
  • Monte Towe: 5 feet 7 inches

Measuring Up to the Average NBA Player Height

If you have a child who dreams of being in the NBA one day or if you’re under 18 and have aspirations to play pro basketball, you may be curious whether or not their or your height will one day reach the range of the athletes currently dominating the sport. While you may not be able to look into a crystal ball to see the future, you can use a height calculator to make a good estimate. 

Most height growth occurs up to the age of 18, and there’s normally a big growth spurt during the years of puberty. That’s why someone’s height can change drastically from one year to the next as they grow. And, if you’re already an adult, the height percentile calculator can help you see how your height ranks compared to the NBA players’ height!

This entry was posted in Lifestyle, Sports and tagged , . By Cindy Brzostowski