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10 NBA Players With Short Parents

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10 NBA Players With Short Parents

Who says you can’t have short parents and still grow up? According to most science, if you have two parents that are five feet tall, your chances of growing like a weed are not going to happen. However, there are always outliers and that includes the human physique. When looking back on the length the NBA has produced, you would be surprised that their parents were not genetically friendly.

You would expect seven-footers to have equally tall parents. It turns out that is not always the case. There are some players in the present and the past that have relatively short parents. Take a look at these 10 players that will surprise you with their genetic history.


Jeremy Lin - 6'3"

His Mom: 5'6"

His Dad: 5'6"

Jeremy Lin Family

One of the few Asian Americans to play the game, as well as the first Asian-American champion, Lin became the first of Chinese or Taiwanese descent to play in the league. Asian history supports that height is an issue, as both of his players are under six feet tall. Lin was 5-foot-3 when he was 15 years old but might have had some help from his grandmother.

His maternal grandmother stands over 6-foot-0. This is potentially the variable that helped Line sprout to the top. He was lucky to inherit tall genes because both of his brothers, Joseph and Josh, are below six feet tall. His youngest brother, Joseph, is the second tallest player at 5-foot-11 and played basketball in the Taiwan Super Basketball League.


Russell Westbrook - 6'3"

His Mom: 5'7"

His Dad: 5'8"

Russell Westbrook Family

The future Hall of Fame point guard stands on the shorter side, but his height has never stopped him. Westbrook has averaged a triple-double in a season four times in his career. His growth spurt didn’t happen until high school when he went from 5-foot-8 to 6-foot-3 before his freshman year at UCLA.

Westbrook has one younger brother, Raynard, who stands at 5-foot-6. Westbrook inherited some good genes from someone because it sounds like he is a true outlier in the family. The former MVP would be nothing that he is today if he was 5-foot-8.


Michael Jordan - 6'6"

His Mom: 5'5"

His Dad: 5'8"

Michael Jordan's Hilarious Joke About His Height: “My Father Is 5’10, My Mother Is 5’5. The Milkman Is About 6’7."

Jordan is the greatest NBA player of all time. However, the GOAT didn’t come from a family of tall people. None of his immediate family members were above six feet in height. His dad was no more than 5-foot-9 despite the records state. It’s not surprising that Jordan was not very tall at an early age. It even led to him not making the varsity basketball team his sophomore year because of his height.

His teammate, Scottie Pippen, had a mother at six feet tall and a father at 6-foot-1. Pippen knew he was going to be tall, but that didn’t happen to Jordan. Instead, it’s said that Jordan would hang on the pullup bars in the playground to try and grow taller. The stories state that Jordan’s mom once told him to put salt in his shoes and say a prayer every night. Something worked because he eventually towered over his parents.


Kawhi Leonard - 6'7"

His Mom: 5'5"

His Dad: 6'3"

Kawhi Leonard Family

Leonard’s dad, Mark, stood around 6-foot-3, which is considered above average height. His mother was on the shorter side, so you would expect to see average analytics take its course. Leonard’s father was killed at a Compton car wash he owned in 2008 when Leonard was 16 years old. He would have loved to see the full height his son grew, as well as the championship heights he earned as well.

Leonard has won Defensive Player of the Year, two Finals MVPs, and is a top-5 player in the league. The height difference can’t be easily explained, but one can be happy about the fortune he has earned since that tragic day.


Gordon Hayward - 6'8"

His Mom: 5'10"

His Dad: 5'10"

Gordon Hayward

Hayward wanted to play basketball in the NBA since age five. With both parents under six feet tall, this dream seemed like it would be exactly that. He stood 5-foot-11 his freshman year with the doctor predicting he would not grow more than 6-foot-2. Hayward began to hone his skills as a guard instead of a forward.

Hayward’s ability to play with the ball in his hands like a guard was because of the fear he would not be a tall player. He learned to play like a guard but eventually grew into the size of a forward. Hayward nearly quit basketball to focus on tennis but was persuaded to stay. Two years after he nearly quit, he grew to 6-foot-8 his senior year of high school.


Moses Malone - 6'10"

His Mom: 5'2"

His Dad: 5'6"

Moses Malone

The greatest offensive rebounder of all time may not have been seen like this had he not sprouted like a weed. The three-time MVP stands nearly seven feet tall but has a mother that is just above five feet tall. Malone is regarded to have small hands for a man at 6-foot-10, which played a factor in why he couldn’t dunk and control the ball like so many dominant guards.

You would expect a medical anomaly given the circumstances. Instead, he became the first player to enter professional basketball directly out of high school. Malone worked hard to overcome his small hands to become one of the game’s best rebounders. He didn’t reach his full height until he was 19 years old.


Wilt Chamberlain - 7'1"

His Mom: 5'9"

His Dad: 5'8"

Wilt Chamberlain

The most dominant center of all time is more than a foot taller than his parents. Chamberlain’s father, William, was only 5-foot-8, while his mother, Olivia, was taller. It’s said that his mother used to tell Chamberlain stories of how his great-grandfather was a farmer and stood around 7-foot-0. That might explain where he got his length from.

Chamberlain had tall genes in the family, but not from his parents. His brother, Wilbert, grew to 6-foot-5. He was 6-foot-11 when he entered Philadelphia Overbrook High School and had a strong advantage over the kids that played. That advantage carried over to the NBA where he set league rebounding records and scored 100 points in a game.


Tacko Fall - 7'5"

His Mom: 5'8"

His Dad: 6'0"

Tacko Fall Family

The giant from Senegal is one of the tallest living humans in the world. That is why he has been a frequent guest to the Slam Dunk Contest because athletes want to prove a point by jumping over him. You would think with all this height, that one of his parents would be at least 6-foot-5 but that is not the case. Yao Ming and Shawn Bradley were the same height as Fall and had tall parents, but not Fall.

While Fall’s parents are above average in height, it doesn’t explain the near 1.5-foot discrepancy. Fall doesn’t have an issue with pituitary glands, so it turns out that family genetics played a hand. Fall has two uncles who are 6-foot-8, while his grandfather was 6-foot-6.


Boban Marjanovic - 7'5"

His Mom: 5'6"

His Dad: 5'9"

Boban Marjanovic

Today, Marjanovic has the unofficial title for the largest hands in the history of the NBA. His title didn’t come from his parents, which features a two-foot height discrepancy from his mother. Marjanovic suffered from a pituitary gland condition which led to his gigantism. By age 14, he was already taller than most NBA players at 6-foot-10.

Marjanovic is not the fastest player on the floor and has stayed in the league as a backup center. He is considered a “gentle giant” based on his personality drawn from videos from the NBA Bubble in 2020.


Gheorghe Muresan - 7'7"

His Mom: 5'7"

His Dad: 5'9"

Gheorghe Muresan

Muresan is one of the two tallest players in league history, tying Manute Bol for the record. Bol does not cut because his parents were relatively tall. His mother was 6-foot-10, while his dad was 6-footy-8. Bol even had a great-grandfather that stood 7-foot-10. Muresan’s parents were considered average height, but he grew to be the tallest man in Romania.

The likely cause of his height came as a result of a pituitary gland condition. The former Washington Bullets and New Jersey Nets player didn’t start playing basketball until he was 14 years old. He enjoyed soccer but was later encouraged to try basketball due to his 7-foot frame at the age. His basketball career was derailed by injuries, but his height remains a great story. His length has already been passed on as his wife Liliane (6-foot-1) has produced a son who is now 6-foot-8.

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