Do you ever wonder why are there so many inaccuracies about the official heights of NBA players? Well, apparently, every guy in the league wants either to be shorter or taller depending on their ‘situation.’
An article from The Wall Street Journal in 2016 explained why all these changes happen, with players breaking down why they opt to be listed as taller or shorter than they actually are. For instance, Kevin Durant was listed as 6’9 for quite some time throughout his career, but we’ve learned that he’s taller than that.
Back in 2016, while he was still part of the Oklahoma City Thunder, KD was describing a game-winning block on the then Clippers guard Chris Paul, when he confessed. “He’s 6 feet tall,” Durant said, “and I’m 6-11.”
NBA game programs across the U.S. are full of inaccuracies when it comes to players’ height. Albeit NBA players are taller than most of the rest of men on earth, they lie about their height like everyone else. Durant’s case, though, is particularly interesting as he tends to go shorter whenever he’s playing ball. On the other end, when he speaks to the ladies, he goes up.
“But really, I’ve always thought it was cool to say I’m a 6’9 small forward,” Durant told the Wall Street Journal. “Really, that’s the prototypical size for a small forward. Anything taller than that, and they’ll start saying, ‘Ah, he’s a power forward.’”
“For me, when I’m talking to women, I’m 7 feet. In basketball circles, I’m 6’9,” he added.
In December 2016, he told KNBR:
“I was recorded at 6’10 and three-quarters with no shoes, so with my shoes on I’m 7-feet.” When asked why he listed himself at 6’9, he said, “I just like messin’ with people. They just ask me so much … yeah, I just like messin’ with people.”
Just like Durant, a bunch of other players did the same thing. Starting from Kevin Garnett, who also tried to avoid being called a 7-footer, in the words of the Minnesota Timberwolves former coach Flip Saunders. Garnett didn’t want him to be considered a center instead of a power forward and was listed at 6-foot-11 throughout his career.
Another case was Bill Walton, who claimed he was 6-foot-11 as well, and nowadays is reluctant to tell otherwise, albeit he looked bigger than 7-foot Hakeem Olajuwon when they guarded each other.
Dallas Mavericks’ guard JJ Barea was different, though, as he was 5-foot-10 without shoes and 5-foot-10¾ inches with shoes. But, according to the NBA, Barea was 6-feet. He remembered laughing at those discrepancies the first time he heard he was 6’0, stating he was “5-foot-10 on a good day.”
One of the biggest examples of these height changes is the Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr. He went from 6-foot-3 in 2001, to 6-foot-1 in 2002 before getting back up to 6-foot-3 in 2003. “I don’t know,” said Kerr, who claims he’s really 6-foot-3. “I guess it just sounds better on the program.”
One guy who doesn’t bother about all those changes and lies is the 2019 NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, who grew from 6-foot-9 to 6-foot-11 during the first three years of his NBA career. But, he said he’d had no issue with getting taller and being a 7-footer.
“Honestly, I want to get taller,” the Greek said.
It’s not a secret that men lie about their height, with the majority choosing to be taller instead of shorter. But, you can find anything in the NBA, including guys who get taller depending on how they feel or who they’re talking to. While the rest of us want to be inches taller, players like Kevin Durant are the complete opposite.