Basketball Giants, NBA

The 21 Tallest NBA Players of All-Time (Ranked By Height)

Height isn’t everything when it comes to being a true pro, but there’s no question that being tall increases the chances of getting your team great NBA odds – and of course, winning them the game. But man, does it help. 

As skilled and athletic and as great a shooter you may be, you might never make the NBA if you’re “only” a human of average height.

In basketball, height gives you an obvious advantage. That advantage becomes more of a difference maker the higher the competition. Now if you’re a particularly mobile player that happens to be over seven feet tall, your professional basketball outlook improves dramatically. Not that 7-1 Rudy Gobert doesn’t have talent; he just doesn’t have to have as much skill considering his height and 7’9 wingspan. That said, in the NBA, the Utah Jazz center can barely dribble twice in the post without falling over himself and often blows shots that he can’t dunk.

Yet, Gobert’s height (and timing) has made him an NBA All-Star and three-time Defensive Player of the Year all for basically standing around the basket at the defensive end and sitting in the dunkers spot on offense. You can’t teach height, my friends.

In fact, there are 23 players that are 7-0 or taller on NBA rosters this season. From Victor to Bol Bol to Embiid to Boban to Kristaps, you don’t have to be a diehard NBA fan to know these players full names. To contrast how common these seven-footers are, there’s only been twenty-five players in the history of the NBA that were measured under six feet tall.

The Tallest NBA Players Of all-time

Whoever has been lucky enough to sit near the action of a live game knows truly how huge NBA players really are. These are big human beings. Players that are referred to as “little guards” only look small on TV because we’re comparing them to 6-8 small forwards, 6-11 power forwards and seven-foot unicorns running up and down the court. 

In the span of the 75 years of the NBA, the league has seen dozens and dozens of seven-footers plod onto the court. Though you might have never seen a seven-foot person in your life, it’s not unusual to have a players that are 7-foot or taller dotting NBA rosters every season. Whether they end up being memorable is another question. Then there are players that are memorable for being tall. Here’s the list of the NBA’s tallest players ever.

1. Gheorghe Mureșan 7-7

1. Manute Bol 7-7

Muresan was commonly known by his nickname Ghiță, and was a colossal half American – half Romanian player who made all the other tall basketball players look small. Along with Manute Bol, Muresan is the tallest player to ever put on an NBA jersey at 2.31m (7ft 7”). His near decade-long career kicked off with the Washington Bullets in ‘93, until his ‘98 move to New Jersey to join the Nets for a couple years till his retirement.

Bol was a Sudanese-American giant who matched Ghiță and tied his record with an incredible height of 2.31m (7ft 7”). His career in basketball lasted from 1985 till 1994 and he played with the Bullets, the Warriors, the 76ers and Miami Heat. He also played alongside the shortest player in the history of the NBA, which was an oddly interesting sight to see. Bol passed away at the age of 47 in 2010. His son Bol Bol now plays for the Denver Nuggets.

3. Shawn Bradley 7-6

3. Yao Ming 7-6

3. Slavko Vraneš 7-6

3. Tacko Fall 7-6

The German born American blooded legend of the sport had a great basketball career from 1993 to 2005 playing alongside the 76ers, the Nets and the Mavericks. He stood at a whopping 2.29m (7ft 6”) which ties him with Vranes in second place.

Chinese giant Yao Ming who played for the Houston Rockets from 2002 to 2011, is the tallest player to hold a spot inside the NBA hall of fame. He also was the tallest player to ever take part in the All-star series. He was also 2.29m tall (7ft 6”), and had an average of 19.1 points per match.

Vranes was player from Montenegro who had the shortest NBA career in history, as he only played in one match with the Portland Trail Blazers against the Minnesota Timberwolves, for a total of 3 minutes, and managed to achieve one missed shot attempt and a foul. Not much to be proud of, but at least he got his fame thanks to his inhuman 2.29m (7ft 6”) height.

Tacko Fall is the current tallest player in the NBA who still plays to this day. He stands at 2.26m (7ft 5”) and has played with the Celtics from 2019 till this year and recently moved to Cleveland to join the Cavaliers, whom he is playing alongside at the moment.

6. Chuck Nevitt 7-5

6. Pavel Podkolzin 7-5

6. Sim Bhullar 7-5

Chuck Neviit was American born tall bench warmer for the Detroit Pistons. Neviit had a great basketball career playing from 1982 till 1993 alongside San Antonio, Chicago, Detroit, LA and Houston. He was the tallest player to ever win an NBA championship and stood at 2.26m (7 ft 5”).

Podkolzin was a Russian center that played with the Dallas Mavericks throughout a period of two years (04-06). He didn’t play much, as he only took part in 6 games in total, however, he was 2.26m tall (7ft 5”). Sim was a 2.26m (7ft 5”) tall Canadian basketball player. Bhullar was the first ever player of Indian blood to take part in the NBA, and played a total of 3 matches. His debut with the Sacramento Kings only lasted 17 seconds in April of 2015.

NBA's Tallest Players of All-Time
Rank Player Height
1 Manute Bol 7-7
1 Gheorghe Mureșan 7-7
3 Shawn Bradley 7-6
3 Tacko Fall 7-6
3 Yao Ming 7-6
3 Slavko Vraneš 7-6
6 Sim Bhullar 7-5
6 Chuck Nevitt 7-5
6 Pavel Podkolzin 7-5
10 Mark Eaton 7-4
10 Priest Lauderdale 7-4
10 Boban Marjanović 7-4
10 Rik Smits 7-4
10 Ralph Sampson 7-4
10 Victor Wembanyama 7-4

10. Mark Eaton 7-4

10. Rik Smits 7-4

10. Ralph Sampson 7-4

10. Victor Wembanyama 7-4

10. Priest Lauderdale 7-4

10. Boban Marjanović 7-4

We placed Eaton at the top of this list because he was one of the best defenders of the history of the game. Standing at 2.24m (7 ft 4”) tall Utah Jazz legend has one NBA record the most blocked shots for a single season. These records are still to be broken to this day.

Smits is the tallest Dutch basketball player to ever take part in the NBA and also comes in at 2.24m (7 fit 4”). He played with the Indiana Pacers team from 1988 till 2000 and played 875 matches with them in total, having also won the NBA All-star championship once. Sampson was another American giant that also came at 2.24m (7 fit 4”). As the College National Player of the Year three times, Sampson was the top pick in the NBA draft in 1983, from there he had a nine-year long basketball career from 1983 to 1992, and played alongside the Rockets, Warriors, Kings & Bullets. He was placed as part of the Basketball Hall of fame, won All-Star 4 times.

Tall Doesn’t Equal Superstar

As you can see; just because you’re over the height of seven feet, it doesn’t guarantee you to be one of the best big men in the history of the game.

Think about this, there are a couple dozen recognizable NBA stars that don’t make the “tallest” list including Shaquille O’Neal, David Robinson, Dirk Nowitzki, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Nikola Jokic, Patrick Ewing, Dikembe Mutombo, Robert Parish, Rudy Gobert, Arvydas Sabonis, whereas there’s only been one WNBA player that’s even reached the seven foot mark in the history of the entire league.

It bears repeating that just because you’re above the seven foot marker means you’re a lock for the NBA or you’re set for life. There’s been plenty of players that made news because of their height, but never came close to sniffing the NBA. With the average height of most humans around the world dancing around the 5-foot 9-inch mark; the taller the human, the longer it takes them to develop and more physical problems they seem to have.

We should celebrate that we’ve been blessed to not only have seven footers among us, but especially the ones that are mobile and athletics as the ones we see in the NBA. Interested in more tall players – here’s a forum thread from a few years ago that cataloged each country’s tallest professional basketball player.