The Tallest Players in NBA History

Posted by Custom Throwback Jerseys on 3rd Mar 2024

Basketball has always been a game where height can be a significant advantage, and over the years, the NBA has seen its fair share of giants who have used their towering presence to dominate the court.

From altering the trajectory of shots to commanding the paint, the tallest players in NBA history have left a lasting legacy in the sport, changing the way it's played and how teams strategize against them.

Who Are the Tallest Players in NBA History?

The title of the tallest NBA player ever in history is shared by two individuals: Gheorghe Mureșan and Manute Bol. Both players stood at an impressive height of 7 feet 7 inches (231 cm).

Gheorghe Mureșan

Gheorghe Mureșan, born in Romania, was selected by the Washington Bullets in the 1993 NBA Draft. He played for the Bullets/Wizards for six seasons and later joined the New Jersey Nets. Mureșan was given the NBA’s Most Improved Player award for the 1995-96 NBA season. His career statistics include:

  • Games played: 307
  • Points: 3,020 (9.8 PPG)
  • Rebounds: 1,957 (6.4 RPG)
  • Blocks: 455 (1.5 BPG)

Despite his towering height, Mureșan was known for his soft touch around the basket and his ability to block shots.

Free Throw Fun: Mureșan had an unconventional free-throw shooting style due to his large hands and height. He developed a technique that involved shooting the ball with a high arc, resulting in a surprisingly effective free throw percentage for a player of his stature.

Manute Bol

Manute Bol, on the other hand, was born in Sudan and is often remembered for his incredible shot-blocking ability. Bol was drafted by the Washington Bullets in 1985 and played for several NBA teams during his career, including the Golden State Warriors and the Philadelphia 76ers. His career statistics include:

  • Games played: 624
  • Points: 1,599 (2.6 PPG)
  • Rebounds: 2,647 (4.2 RPG)
  • Blocks: 2,086 (3.3 BPG)

Bol led the league in blocks in his second season and ranks second in NBA history in blocks per game.

Be sure to check our Manute Bol Golden State Warriors jersey from the 1988-1989 season. We also have a Manute Bol 76ers jersey from the 1990 season.

Shawn Bradley

Shawn Bradley, standing at an impressive height of 7 feet 6 inches, was one of the most imposing figures in the NBA during his career. He was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers in 1993 as the 2nd overall pick. Bradley played for the 76ers, New Jersey Nets, and Dallas Mavericks during his twelve-year career in the NBA. His career statistics are the following:

  • Games played: 832
  • Points: 6,752 (8.1 PPG)
  • Rebounds: 5,268 (6.3 RPG)
  • Blocks: 2,119 (2.5 BPG)

Recognized for his shot-blocking ability, Bradley ranked 15th in NBA history in total blocks.

Yao Ming

Yao Ming, standing at 7 feet 6 inches, is one of the most dominant centers in NBA history. He was drafted by the Houston Rockets in 2002 as the 1st overall pick. Yao played for the Rockets during his nine-year career in the NBA. His career statistics are the following: 

  • Games played: 486
  • Points: 9,247 (19.0 PPG)
  • Rebounds: 4,494 (9.2 RPG)
  • Blocks: 920 (1.9 BPG)

Yao was an eight-time NBA All-Star and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2016. He was known for his scoring ability, soft touch, and strong presence in the paint.

Cultural Impact: Yao Ming's entry into the NBA significantly boosted basketball's popularity in China, leading to a surge in the sport's viewership and participation levels across Asia. His influence helped bridge cultures and brought global attention to Chinese athletes in the NBA.

The Seven-Foot-Five Club

Chuck Nevitt and Pavel Podkolzin each stood at an impressive 7 feet 5 inches tall. Their remarkable height has secured their place in the NBA as among the tallest players to ever step onto the court.

Chuck Nevitt

Chuck Nevitt is an American retired professional basketball player. He was drafted in the third round of the 1982 NBA Draft by the Houston Rockets. Over his career, Nevitt played for several teams, including the Los Angeles LakersDetroit PistonsChicago Bulls, and San Antonio Spurs.

Despite his height, Nevitt was mostly a reserve player, averaging 1.6 points and 1.5 rebounds per game over his career. He is best remembered for his time with the Lakers, where he won an NBA Championship in 1985.

Pavel Podkolzin

Pavel Podkolzin is a retired Russian professional basketball player. He was initially drafted by the Utah Jazz as the 21st overall pick in the 2004 NBA Draft but was immediately traded to the Dallas Mavericks.

Podkolzin’s NBA career was short-lived, as he only played a total of six games over two seasons with the Mavericks, averaging 0.7 points and 1.5 rebounds per game. Although his NBA career was brief, Podkolzin had a successful career in the Russian Basketball Super League.

The Seven-Foot-Four Club

Mark Eaton and Rik Smits stood at a commanding height of 7 feet 4 inches. Their exceptional stature not only distinguished them on the basketball court but also played a pivotal role in defining their NBA careers.

Mark Eaton

Mark Eaton was an American professional basketball player who spent his entire career with the Utah Jazz of the NBA. Eaton was renowned for his defensive prowess, particularly his shot-blocking ability.

Over his 11-season career (1982-1993), Eaton averaged 3.5 blocks per game, leading the league in blocks four times. He still holds the record for the most blocks in a season (456) and the highest average blocks per game in a season (5.6). Eaton was named NBA Defensive Player of the Year twice, in 1985 and 1989.

Rik Smits

Rik Smits, also known as “The Dunking Dutchman,” is a retired Dutch professional basketball player who spent his entire NBA career with the Indiana Pacers. Smits was known for his scoring ability, particularly his soft shooting touch and range, which was unusual for a player of his size.

In his 12-season career (1988-2000), Smits averaged 14.8 points per game, peaking at 18.5 points per game in the 1995-1996 season. Smits was an integral part of the Pacers' teams that made five Eastern Conference Finals appearances and one NBA Finals appearance in 2000.

The Current Giants

In the current era of the NBA, there are several players who stand out due to their exceptional height. These players, while not surpassing the record for the tallest player in the NBA, are among the tallest to ever play in the league.

Tacko Fall

Standing at 7 feet 6 inches, Tacko Fall is tied for the second-tallest player in NBA history. He is also known for his agility and coordination, skills not often associated with players of his stature.

Undrafted in 2019, Fall signed with the Boston Celtics, quickly becoming a fan favorite for his impressive blocks and dunks, despite limited playing time. In the NBA, Fall's statistics reflect his role as a situational player, yet his impact goes beyond numbers.

Inspiring Journey: Fall's rise from Senegal to the NBA has turned him into a beacon of hope for many back home and across Africa. He's deeply involved in promoting education and sports in African communities, leveraging his story and platform to inspire and support others.

Boban Marjanović

Another current player of notable height is Boban Marjanović, who stands at 7 feet 4 inches. Marjanović, a Serbian professional basketball player, currently plays for the Houston Rockets.

He had a successful career in Europe before moving to the NBA, where he has become a valuable player due to his size and skill. Drafted into the NBA in 2015 by the San Antonio Spurs, Marjanović has since played for several teams, consistently showcasing his efficiency in scoring and rebounding.

Kristaps Porziņģis

Kristaps Porziņģis, a Latvian professional basketball player for the Boston Celtics, is also the current tallest player in the NBA. Standing at 7 feet 3 inches, Porziņģis is known for his ability to score from both inside and outside, a rare trait among players of his height.

Porziņģis was drafted fourth overall by the New York Knicks in the 2015 NBA Draft, bringing high expectations due to his unique skill set for a player of his size. In the NBA, Porziņģis quickly proved himself as a versatile scorer and formidable shot-blocker, earning him the nickname “The Unicorn.”

Impact of Player Height on Game Performance

A player's height can significantly influence their performance in a basketball game. This impact can be seen in various aspects of the game, including scoring, rebounding, and defense.


Taller players often have an advantage when it comes to scoring. Their height allows them to shoot over shorter defenders and reach the basket more easily for layups and dunks. For example, centers and power forwards, who are typically among the tallest players on a team, often score a significant portion of their points from close range.


Height is also a crucial factor in rebounding. Taller players can reach higher than their opponents to grab missed shots. This advantage is particularly noticeable on the defensive end of the court, where taller players can secure rebounds and prevent the opposing team from getting second-chance scoring opportunities.


On the defensive end, taller players can use their height and reach to block shots and disrupt the opposing team’s offense. They can also defend the rim effectively, deterring opponents from driving to the basket.

This table below underscores the correlation between height and position, with the tallest players often playing as centers or power forwards—positions that can capitalize on the advantages height provides in scoring, rebounding, and defense.


Average Height 

Point Guard 


Shooting Guard 


Small Forward 


Power Forward 




However, while height can provide certain advantages, it does not guarantee success. Other factors such as skill, athleticism, basketball IQ, and work ethic are also crucial in determining a player’s performance and effectiveness on the court.

Beyond the Heights

While height might catch the eye, it's the blend of skill, determination, and heart that truly defines these players. Their legacies remind us that in basketball, greatness comes in all sizes, but the impact of towering over the competition can leave an unforgettable mark on the game and its fans.

These players have not just stretched the tape measures but also expanded the boundaries of what's possible on the basketball court. As we celebrate their achievements, we also look forward to the future, eager to see how the next generation of giants will continue to elevate the sport in ways we can only imagine.

Before you go, check out our wide selection of NBA throwback jerseys where you’ll find iconic jerseys from the NBA’s most infamous seasons in history. Find players such as Charles Barkley, Shaq, Magic Johnson, Dennis Rodman, Larry Bird and many more.