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The 14 Tallest Players In NBA History

The 14 Tallest Players In NBA History

Basketball is a sport in which one physical attribute towers above all others: height.

If you’re tall, you have a good chance of being pretty decent at the sport. Unfortunately, this is something people are “gifted” with, so it’s not really something you can change.

Some players may not consider this a gift when it gets to the point where you are outrageously tall and it begins to affect your health and daily life. Just imagine not being able to fit in a bed and sleep comfortably. Or drive a car. Or buy a normal pair of shoes. The list goes on.

So while being extremely tall can have its pros, it can also have its cons. Here is a list of some of the tallest players to ever play in the NBA. Number 1 may not be who you think it is.

14 - Ralph Sampson

Ralph Sampson

Height: 7’4

Ralph Sampson is one of the most talented giants on this list. Ralph played for the Houston Rockets alongside Hakeem Olajuwon - making them the true “Twin Towers”.

As a rookie, Ralph averaged 21.0 PPG, 11.1 RPG, 2.4 BPG and played all 82 games. He also helped lead the Rockets to a Finals appearance vs. the Boston Celtics in 1986. After 5 stellar seasons in the league, his career was thwarted by injuries. Despite a short-lasting career, he will go down as one of the greatest 7+ footers to ever play the game.

13 - Rik Smits


Height: 7’4

Rik Smits could be the most underrated Big on this list. Rik Smits had an extremely consistent and efficient career from start to finish. He helped contribute to tons of playoff appearances alongside Reggie Miller in Indiana. He also managed to play 70+ games nearly every season. His career averages were 14.8 PPG, 6.1 RPG, and 1.3 BPG.

Even though he never won the NBA title, Smits contributed to the Indiana Pacers, helping them reach important stages during his 12-year career. Unfortunately, Michael Jordan, the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers prevented him from getting the championship. 

12 - Mark Eaton

Mark Eaton

Height: 7’4

Shot Blocking machine and long-time Utah Jazz Center - Mark Eaton.

Mark spent 11 seasons in Utah and averaged 6.0 PPG, 7.9 RPG, and 3.5 BPG over his career. Mark Eaton was regarded as more of a defensive center than an offensive threat. This guy had a season where he averaged 5.6 BPG and played all 82 games. That is truly incredible. He will go down in history as one of the greatest shot blockers of all time.

11 - Priest Lauderdale


Height: 7’4

Priest Lauderdale had a very short NBA career. At 325 lbs, he was just a little too large to keep up in the NBA. He played only two seasons in the NBA from 1996-98 but then decided to take his talents and height to Bulgaria where he played professionally for a few years.

After that, Lauderdale ended up playing all across the world in the CBA, China, Venezuela, Cyprus, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Spain, England, and the United Arab Emirates. Priest Lauderdale has had a chance to spend lots of time all across the earth and not many people can say that.

10 - Boban Marjanovic

Boban Marjanovic

Height: 7’4

Most of you may recognize this name, your friendly neighborhood giant - Boban Marjanovic. Or he can also be known as a Serbian hitman in John Wick 3. I will admit he put up an admirable fight against John Wick, but there’s not much you can do when faced up against a man determined to seek revenge for his dog.

Boban has spent 8 seasons in the NBA, but he’s never cracked over 60 games played. Like most other really tall players, he lacks the speed and agility to match up with other Centers in today’s game.

Boban is currently a Dallas Maverick and plays around 8.2 MPG. He averages 4.7 PPG and 3.9 RPG. One interesting stat about him is he shoots 82% from the free-throw line. That is very rare for a player of this size. You could compare Boban holding a basketball to you holding a softball.

9 - Sim Bhullar


Height: 7’5

Perhaps the largest player on this list - Sim Bhullar. Sim Bhullar is the first player of Indian descent to ever play in an NBA game. He saw the floor for 16 seconds in his NBA debut. Sim is 7 foot 5 and weighed a whopping 359 lbs back in his playing days.

In 2014-15 Sim Bhullar appeared in only 3 games until the Kings released him. At his size and weight, he was just not able to keep up in the NBA. He ended up playing a few seasons overseas until eventually retiring in 2018.

8 - Tacko Fall


Height: 7’5

Another familiar face and fan-favorite - Tacko Fall.

Tacko Fall has been a joy to watch as he just seems to toy with his opponents on the offensive end. He can practically dunk without jumping, so if he catches the ball in the paint you might as well just move out of the way.

Tacko spent his first two seasons in Boston, but he now resides in Cleveland with at least three other 7 footers. I think Cleveland holds the record for the tallest roster of all time. I couldn’t imagine walking across the Cavaliers in a hotel, but thinking you were transported to a forest for a brief moment.

7 - Pavel Podkolzin


Height: 7’5

Pavel Podkolzin is a Russian native who played in 6 total NBA games between two seasons. Pavel had a disorder known as acromegaly, which is caused by excess growth hormone. It causes your hands and feet to be enlarged and extensive joint pain.

After two seasons spent in the NBA, he returned to Russia where he played in the Russia Super League for Khimki BC.

6 - Chuck Nevitt


Height: 7’5

Chuck Nevitt played 10 seasons in the NBA. At 7’5 he only weighed 216 lbs. Although Chuck didn’t get much playing time, he was a member of the 1985-86 Lakers championship team. He is the tallest player in NBA history to ever win an NBA title.

Nevitt was part of successful teams, including the Chuck Daly-led Detroit Pistons and the Bulls of Michael Jordan (10-day contract). He couldn't collect many minutes on the court, but still won a ring, and that's something nobody will take away from him. 

5 - Yao Ming


Height: 7’6

The most skilled and talented big man on this list - Yao Ming.

Yao Ming spent his entire career in Houston and played 8 seasons for them. He eventually had too many injuries and health issues which forced him into retirement. He is without a doubt the best center on this list.

In the 2006-07 season, he averaged 25 PPG, 9.4 RPG, and 2.0 APG. Yao Ming is the tallest player to ever play in an NBA All-Star game and he’s also the tallest player to make it to the hall of fame.

4 - Shawn Bradley

Via Getty Images

Via Getty Images

Height: 7’6

By the age of 16, just a Junior in High School, young Shawn Bradley had already nearly reached his maximum growth potential and stood at 7’5 feet tall. He was elected to play in the McDonald’s All American game and won MVP. He still holds the record for most block shots in a college game at Utah State (18).

Shawn Bradley had the longest NBA career compared to any of the other giants on this list. He played a total of 14 seasons and 832 games. He had some impressive statistical seasons for the Mavericks in the late 90s in which he averaged around 13.2 PPG, 8.6 RPG, and 3.6 Blocks Per Game. Shawn Bradley is the first player to ever record a 20/20/10 triple double with blocks off the bench.

3 - Slavko Vranes


Height: 7’6

In contrast to Shawn Bradley, Slavko had the shortest career compared to any of the other players on this list. Slavko played in a single NBA game for a total of 3 minutes.

After his short stint in the NBA, he moved back home to play in Iranian Super League. His playing career lasted from 1997-2018.

2 - Manute Bol

Manute Bol

Height: 7’7

Manute Bol was a very entertaining player to watch in his playing days. He stood 7’7 feet tall and weighed 200 lbs. He blocked everything and could even extend his range out to the 3-point line later on his career. He actually had a few seasons where he averaged more blocks than points.

In Bol’s rookie year he averaged 3.7 PPG, 6.0 RPG, and 5.0 BPG. During one of his seasons for the Washington Bullets, Bol played alongside Muggsy Bogues. Pairing the shortest and tallest player in NBA history.

Manute Bol’s son, Bol Bol, now continues on the family dynasty playing in the NBA for the Denver Nuggets. The Nuggets haven’t given him much of a chance to shine, which is frustrating for fans because he stands alongside Alex Caruso as a league fan-favorite. He is a true unicorn, standing at 7’3 and having the ability to handle the ball and shoot 3s.

1 - Gheorghe Muresan


Height: 7’7

Gheorghe is actually tied with Manute Bol for the tallest player of all-time, but he takes the #1 spot because of his size (315 lbs). Muresan's career was cut short due to injuries and health issues that many of these other incredibly tall players experienced.

In his early career he had a season in which he averaged 14.5 PPG, 9.6 RPG, and 2.3 BPG. After moving on from the NBA, he played in the French league for a while.

In March 2007, Gheorghe played a game for the Maryland Nighthawks. That year, the Nighthawks had formed the tallest lineup in history. Gheorghe was not the tallest player on the court. His teammate Sun Mingming was - standing at 7’9.


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