You don’t have to be over 6 foot 6 to play professional basketball. Although it helps matters, plenty of smaller players have etched their names into NBA folklore. The subject of height has come to the fore again following the sensational emergence of the once-in-a-generation talent Victor Wembanyama who will go into this year’s NBA draft as the number one pick.
Many fans and players are keen to track his progress, and the 7-foot 4 Frenchman, who seems to have a wingspan of a golden eagle, is almost sure to take the league by storm. However, staggeringly, once Victor lands in the NBA, he will only make this list if he grows another few inches.
Victor is set to become a massive name in basketball, and it looks like he has all the attributes to reach the top. If you’re a video game player, you’d imagine wherever he ends up will become the number one team people choose in games like NBA 2K. It might seem irrelevant, but millions of people play basketball video games, and it’s an excellent way for new, younger fans to get acquainted with the sport. But there’s more of a crossover between basketball and video games than people might initially think. The world’s most popular eSports league, League of Legends, is a brilliant example.
Although it is a strategy game, there are five prominent character roles like there are five main positions on the basketball court. You can also switch players between functions and positions on League Of Legends like NBA teams often do with players who can play in multiple areas. There is no clear data about whether people more bet on League of Legends, or basketball games but both are pretty much in high demand, and in recent years, esports started competing with traditional sports in terms of viewership.
#5 – Chuck Nevitt
In today’s game, players regularly exceed 6 foot 8; back in Chuck’s Day in the 1980s, players were still a lot taller than your average man, but few reached the height of Chuck. We, as humans, naturally get bigger over time; it’s hardwired into our biology.
So, the fact that Chuck was playing in the league at a towering 7-foot-5 in the early 1980s meant he was one of the league’s giants, figuratively and literally, who played over 150 times for several of the biggest franchises in basketball.
Although some taller players have appeared in the NBA, we will only include players with over ten appearances. So, for example, even though Suleiman Ali Nashnush was 8 feet tall, he didn’t play in the NBA or Mingming Sun, the current tallest basketball player in the world, but he plays professionally in China.
#4 – Shawn Bradley
Shawn was a prolific athlete who excelled in several sports in his youth. However, due to his 7-foot 6 frame, he chose to go into professional basketball. He had an esteemed career, spending a couple of years at the 76ers and New Jersey Nets before settling and spending nearly a decade at the Dallas Mavericks.
As we discussed in our introduction, Victor Wembanyama has a precocious ability. Given that he is 7 foot 4 at 19, he could find himself at the top of the individual player stats list and the tallest player of all time.
#3 – Yao Ming
The Chinese NBA superstar was the same height as Bradley, was a multiple NBA All-Star, and made such an impact at the Houston Rockets that they retired his jersey number. The only thing that separates Yao and Shawn is that Yao is a better player and heavier, but they’re two of the tallest NBA players of all time.
Yao was one of the first international crossover stars of the modern game. Although he was a fantastic player, pundits, fans, and analysts have noted his major height attribute helped identify him as a crossover star of the sport in the 2000s.
#2 – Tacko Fall
As the only active player to make this list, the colossal Senegalese Center had spells at the Cavaliers and Celtics before exiting the NBA. The 27-year-old, who is 6 foot 7 and has size 22 feet, was a big hit at the Celtics, and although he couldn’t nail down a consistent spell on the East Coast, his height puts him right in the mix as the second-tallest player to have ever appeared in the NBA.
#1 – Gheorghe Mureșan
Aptly named “The Giant,” Mureșan is the tallest player to have played in the NBA. At a towering 7 foot 7, the Romanian spent seven years in the NBA playing for the Washington Wizards and the New Jersey Nets before retiring in 2001. He still maintains an advisory role at the Wizards and focuses on charity work to help at-risk people.
Many see Gheorghe as a gentle giant. Although taller basketball players have existed, he stands alone as the only player 7 foot 7 or above who has played at the highest level of professional basketball in the United States.