We can all agree to the fact that every single guy that makes it to the NBA is a superhuman that is able to do things that just a handful of people in the world can do. Hell, regardless of how much you work out, you won’t be able to keep on with them if you try and do one of their easiest drills.
Other than great preparation, hard work, a coaching staff and luck, NBA players often have a god given gifts that make them stand out from the crowd, being the greatest athletes in the world, even more athletic than NFL players.
Over the course of history, we’ve seen some guys take flight and knock every fan off their seat in despair with their hops. Today, we’re going to talk about the top 10 players with the highest vertical leap in NBA history.
Honorable Mention: Nate Robinson (43.5’’), Vince Carter (43’’), Julius Erving (43’’), Tracy McGrady (43’’)
10. LeBron James 44’’
LeBron James is one of the strongest, most well-built athletes the world has ever seen. This guy is entering his 16th season and is just coming off a campaign where he played in all 82 matchups.
He’s one of the most impressive dunkers in the history of basketball, not to mention his great hops make him deadly with his signature chase down blocks. If you don’t take our word for it, just ask Andre Iguodala.
9. Muggsy Bogues 44.3’’
If she thinks Isaiah Thomas is the shortest player in the history of the NBA, she may be too young for you. Way before IT, there was Muggsy Bogues. Standing at just 5’3’’, he was by far the shortest player ever, but that didn’t stop him from thriving.
Bogues was so incredibly athletic, strong and with such high jump, he could even dunk the ball from time to time. Thanks to his 43’’ vertical, Bogues was able to succeed in a league of giants, even playing next to 7’7’’ center Manute Bol.
8. Shannon Brown 44.5’’
Shannon Brown was a slightly above the average prospect during his early days, but his defensive upside and considerably high hops made him intriguing enough to be drafted 25th overall in 2006 by the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Even though, he was never able to establish himself as a solid rotation player throughout his entire career, spending most of his time in the G-League. Furthermore, his long career accomplishment was a sick 44.5’’ vertical during the combine.
7. Spud Webb 46’’
Spud Webb has to be considered one of human’s biggest freaks of nature for sure. Standing at just 5’7’’, this guy will go down as one of the most explosive dunkers in NBA history and managed to have a very successful 14-year career.
Webb even won a couple of slam dunk contest due to his circus freak-like athleticism and insane dunks, even making 360’s and finishing alley-oops as if he were DeAndre Jordan or something like that.
6. James White 46’’
James “Flight” White was supposed to be one of the most athletic scorers in the game, but other than throwing emphatic dunks, he was never able to establish himself as a solid and steady contributor.
Standing at 6’7’’, White could reach the top of the backboard with ease due to his 46 inch vertical. Up to this date, he’s playing overseas for a lesser squad in Italy’s D-2.
5. Jason Richardson 46’’
Some young hoops fans must not remember him, but not so long ago, Jason Richardson was one of the people’s favorite guys, as you know he was a highlight film in the making every time he set foot on the floor.
Richardson was strong, fast, athletic and had a 46’’ vertical a combination that made him one of the most emphatic and spectacular dunkers this league has ever seen. Sadly, an injury-ravaged career prevented him from reaching stardom.
4. Zach LaVine 46’’
When he first entered the league, Zach LaVine was considered to be extremely rough, but his athleticism and hops made him one of the guys with the most upside in his class. Thus far, he’s proven to be way more than just a dunker.
Despite his youth and lack of experience, Zach LaVine is already considered to be one of the greatest dunkers in NBA history, wowing everybody with his incredible repertoire in back-to-back Slam Dunk Championships.
3. Michael Jordan 46’’
Michael Jordan, aside from being the greatest player this game has ever seen, was the most athletic player of his era. His hops and ability to contour his body often made him humiliate his rivals, something he always loved.
Moreover, he’s not called Air Jordan out of pure grace. This guy could jump straight from the free throw line and dunk the rock. Heck, he even dunked from his own court when he beat the Monstars during his brief stint with the TuneSquad.
2. Darrell Griffith 48’’
Darrell Griffith became a Utah Jazz legend, mostly because of his insane 48 inch vertical that made him earn the ‘Dr. Dunkenstein’ nickname. Standing at just 6’4’’, the shooting guard could take flight from everywhere on the floor.
Not many people remember him nowadays, mostly because the team thrived upon Malone and Stockton’s surge, right when injuries took a toll in his career. Still, Donovan Mitchell gave him a very nice shout-out during his slam dunk performance.
1. Wilt Chamberlain 48’’
I’m not a conspiracy theory kind of guy, but... Truth to be told, I haven’t seen enough evidence to convince myself that Wilt Chamberlain was human. This guy lifted people as if they were weights, jumped from rooftops, and had a 48’’ vertical.
Chamberlain completely owned every sport he played, from the 100-yard dash to volleyball, to triple jump. He was just a circus freak. How on earth can a guy that’s 7’1’’ have a 48 inch vertical? It just doesn’t make any kind of sense.