The Five Tallest Players in the History of the NBA

The vast majority of basketball players are taller than 6 foot 5 inches, and this is a sport where natural height is a definite advantage. That doesn’t mean that players without this height advantage can’t excel in the game, but when playing defensive positions, added height and reach helps players to block shots and battle for rebounds.

When looking at NBA overall team stats, the height of your team is an interesting place to start. Height is generally also accompanied by a longer arm reach and wider hand span, which are also advantageous for basketball success. With this in mind, here is a brief look at the five tallest players in the history of the NBA:

Manute Bol
Manute Bol had a prolific NBA career, playing for the Washington Bullets, Golden State Warriors, Philadelphia 76ers, and Miami Heat. In total, he competed in 625 NBA games. Bol was considered to be the tallest player in the history of the NBA, and during the 1987–88 season when he was playing for the Washington Bullets he played alongside Muggsy Bogues, the shortest player in the NBA’s history. The height difference between the two players was 71cm (or 21 inches).

Gheorghe Mureșan (7ft 7 inches or 2.31 meters)
Gheorghe Mureșan played 307 professional NBA games, playing for the Washington Bullets from 1993-1998, and for the New Jersey Nets from 1998-2000. Standing at 7ft and 7 inches tall, he was considered to be the second tallest professional basketball player to have ever played in the NBA. On March 11, 2007, Mureșan came out of retirement to take part in a game for the Maryland Nighthawks that was intended to be the tallest lineup in the history of basketball. ABA star Sun Mingming (who stands at 7ft 9 inches) was part of the same game, meaning it was the only game Gheorghe Mureșan has ever played where he wasn’t the tallest player on the court.

Slavko Vraneš (7ft 6 inches or 2.29 meters)
As he stands at 7ft 6 inches tall, Slavko Vraneš deserves a mention on this list, despite the fact that he only ever played in one NBA game for the Portland Trail Blazers in 2004. Vranes only played for 3 minutes, with one shot attempt from the field (which he missed) and one personal foul. He never played a professional NBA game again, proof for younger wannabe basketball stars that height isn’t everything if you want to succeed in the game.

Shawn Bradley (7ft 6 inches or 2.29 meters)
With the most game plays on our list, Shawn Bradley has played 832 games for the Philidelphia 76ers, New Jersey Nets, and Dallas Mavericks. Nicknamed “the Stormin’ Mormon”, for much of his career, Bradley was inconsistent in scoring and rebounding, but he always excelled at blocking shots. This is in large part attributed to his incredible height.

Yao Ming (7ft 6 inches or 2.29 meters)
Yao Ming had a long and illustrious career with the Houston Rockets, playing for the team from 2002 to 2011 when he retired due to an ankle injury. Before this, he played for the Shanghai Sharks in the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA). He is the only player from outside of the United States to lead the NBA in All-Star votes, as well as the tallest ever All-Star player. At the time of his retirement, Yao Ming was the tallest player in the NBA.