Does Height Matter in Basketball?

There are no official height requirements in basketball, but it is easy to see that most of the top players in the NBA are extremely tall.

How important is their height and is it possible to play as a pro even if you are relatively short?

The Shortest Players to Play in the NBA

In the history of the league, no player has ever been as short as Tyrone Bogues, known as Muggsy. At 5ft 3in (1.60m), Bogues played for several teams in a 14-year career in the NBA, with the most notable spell being the decade he spent with the Charlotte Hornets.

After a tough upbringing in Baltimore, he played as a point guard for Dunbar High School and Wake Forest University where he had outstanding success while also being a good wrestler and baseball player.

The only other NBA players to measure less than 5ft 7in (1.70m) include Earl Boykins and Mel Hirsh. On the other hand, there have been several players over 6 feet 5in (2 meters) tall, including record-holder Gheorghe Mureșan, Manute Bol, and Slavko Vraneš.

One disadvantage of being shorter than other players is the difficulty that this causing in carrying out moves like dunking, which Muggsy Bogues claimed he could do thanks to a 44-inch vertical jump but that he never did during a game.

The average height in the NBA is about 6ft 5in, although it is believed that some players may exaggerate their height to some degree. A rare case of a basketball player downplaying his height is Kevin Durant, who said that he is 7ft (2.13m) but is officially listed as 6ft 9in (2.06m). Durant stated that this is because he wanted to stay as a small forward rather than move to power forward.

What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Being Tall or Short?

An extremely tall NBA player can dunk more easily than a shorter rival, while their longer reach can help them to retain the ball and to grab rebounds before anyone else. However, being tall can bring negative issues such as a lack of mobility and speed.

A shorter player may decide to focus on the areas where they feel that they have a built-in advantage, such as fast dribbling and rapid feet movement. A powerful vertical leap can help a smaller player to partially make up for their lack of height in certain situations but not in every case, while they may make up in stamina what they lack in overall strength.

Shooting can be a major problem for players who aren’t as tall as their opponents, as they can be more easily blocked. This means that they may need to look at developing the skill for playing different shots, such as the floater that is highly effective against opponents with a height advantage.

Taller basketball players will find it easier to shoot over the top of rivals without the risk of being blocked. Being close to the basket also brings them a theoretical advantage, as it should be easier for them to put the ball in the right place on a regular basis.


Basketball is a sport that is dominated by very tall players, with shorter players only very rarely standing out. Check out some of the tallest players in NBA history here:

To be a pro basketball player under 6ft, you would have to have exceptional skills and determination to succeed.

However, there is no doubt that smaller players can still play the sport extremely well. The key is in focusing on the skills that can give them an edge, while working to minimize the disadvantages that their lack of height causes them.