Average Basketball Player Height (All The Facts Inside)

Editorial credit: LCV / Shutterstock.com

It’s no secret that most basketball players are tall – really tall. Sure, the occasional player has an ‘average’ height compared to the rest of us. But when we see pictures contrasting the sizes of tall basketball players, we get an idea of how tall they really are. So what is the average height of a basketball player?

For male basketball players, the average height is 6’6″. For female basketball players, the average height is 5’9″. Each position of a basketball team has different averages, with the Center position averaging the highest among male and female basketball players.

As we compare the statistics of average heights among players, we’ll also look at the shortest and tallest players in both NBA and WNBA history. Interestingly, many of the tallest players are from other parts of the world. In contrast, most of the shortest players listed hail from the United States, even though they are not short compared to the average Joe.

What Is The Average Height Of Basketball Players?

The average height of basketball players is around 6’6″. This average considers the tallest players that reach over 7’6″, and the shortest NBA player, Muggsy Bogues, who measured in at 5’3″. Basketball players tend to be over 6 feet tall to be able to score and block shots at the hoop, which is 10 feet off the ground.

While taller players dominate the court, many successful shorter players have fantastic skills to complement their teammates.

The Average Height Of NBA Basketball Players

The average height for NBA (National Basketball Association) basketball players is 6’6.54″. The average weight of these players is just short of 220 pounds, and the average age is 26 years. The NBA scouts for tall players from all over the world, not just from the United States. Tall and athletic players with potential and the drive to succeed might end up playing for an NBA team.

The Average Height Of WNBA Basketball Players

The average height for female basketball players who play for the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) is 5’9″, although there are female players in WNBA history who reached over 7-foot tall. Currently, the tallest WNBA player in 2022 is Brittney Griner of Phoenix Mercury, measuring in at 6’9″ inches tall.

The two shortest players of the 2022 season are 5-foot-5 tall each, and they are both guards. They are Leilani Mitchell, who played for Washington Mystics, and Crystal Dangerfield, who plays for Minnesota Lynx.

The Average Heights Of Basketball Players At Age 16

For the sake of comparison, let’s look at the average height of male basketball players at 16, considering they will probably grow taller. For example, at 16, Shaquille O’Neal was 6-foot-7 tall. By the time he was 21 years, he had measured 7-foot-1.

The average heights for 16-year-old basketball players according to basketball positions are:

  • Point Guard (PG): Between 5-foot-9 and 5-foot-11.
  • Shooting Guard (SG): Between 5-foot-10 and 6-foot-1.
  • Small Forward (SF): Between 6-foot1 and 6-foot-4.
  • Power Forward or Center: 6-foot-5 and above.

The Different Height Averages For Basketball Positions

Each of the five positions in a basketball team has an average height. Interestingly, the current average height of NBA point guards is the highest its ever been, while all the other positions average lower than in previous years (source). Below is a table comparing the average heights of NBA and WNBA basketball players.

PositionMale Basketball Players (NBA)Female Basketball Players (WNBA)
Point Guard (PG)6′ to 6’3″5’8″ to 5’11”
Shooting Guard (SG)6’3″ to 6’5″5’9″ to 6’1″
Small Forward (SF)6’7″6′ to 6’3″
Power Forward6’7″ to 6’11”6’3″ to 6’5″
Center6’9″ to 7′6’4″ to 6’7″

The 14 Tallest Basketball Players In NBA History

The fourteen tallest basketball players in NBA history have been 7’4″ or taller. The table below shows these players in order from tallest to ‘shortest’, with information adapted from this source.

Player’s NamePlayer’s HeightNationalityNBA CareerNBA Team(s)
1Gheorghe Muresan7’7″Romanian1993-2001Washington, New Jersey
2Manute Bol7’7″Sudanese American1985-1995Washington, Golden State, Philadelphia, Miami
3Shawn Bradley7’6″German American1993-2005Philadelphia, New Jersey, Dallas
4Yao Ming7’6″Chinese2002-2011Houston
5Slavko Vraneš7’5″Montenegrin2004Portland
6Chuck Nevitt7’5″American1982-1994Los Angeles, Detroit, Houston, Kansas City
7Pavel Podkolzin7’5″Russian2004-2006Dallas
8Sim Bhullar7’5″Canadian, Indian descent2015Sacramento
9Tacko Fall7’5″Senegalese2019-PresentBoston, Cleveland
10Mark Eaton7’4″American1982-1993Utah
11Rik Smits7’4″Dutch1988-2000Indiana
12Ralph Sampson7’4″American1983-1992Houston, Golden State, Sacramento, Washington
13Boban Marjanovic7’4″Serbian2015-PresentSan Antonio, Detroit, L.A. Clippers, Philadelphia, Dallas
14Priest Lauderdale7’4″American1996-98Atlanta

The 12 Tallest Basketball Players In WNBA History

The tallest WNBA player, Malgorzata Dydek from Poland, measures 7’2″ tall. She is 3.5 inches taller than the next tallest WNBA basketball player. The table below shows the ten tallest female basketball players who have played for the WNBA, starting with the tallest.

Player’s NamePlayer’s HeightNationalityWNBA CareerWNBA Team(s)
1Malgorzata Dydek7’2″Polish1998 – 2008Utah, San Antonio, Connecticut, Los Angeles
2Bernadett Határ6’10”Hungarian2021 – presentIndiana
3Han Xu6’10”Chinese2019, presentNew York
4Zheng Haixia6’8.5″Chinese1997 – 1998Los Angeles
5Maria Alexandrovna Stepanova6’8″Russian1998 – 2005Phoenix
6Elizabeth Cambage6’8″Australian2011 – presentTulsa, Dallas, Las Vegas, Los Angeles
7Brittney Griner6’8″American2013 – 2021Phoenix
8Lindsay Corine Taylor6’8″American2004, 2006Phoenix, Seattle
9Katharen Ruth Mattera6’7.5″American2005 – 2008Connecticut, San Antonio, Detroit, Atlanta
10Kara Wolters Drinan6’7″American1999 – 2003Houston, Indiana, Sacramento
11Sylvia Shaqueria Fowles6’6″American2008 – presentChicago, Minnesota,
12Carolyn Moos6’6″American2001 – 2002Phoenix, Miami

The 10 Shortest Basketball Players In NBA History

While height is a great asset in basketball, a shorter basketball player with a heart can have a successful basketball career. Below is a table of the 10 shortest basketball players in NBA history, starting from the shortest.

Player’s NamePlayer’s HeightNationalityNBA CareerNBA Team(s)
1Tyrone Curtis ‘Muggsy’’ Bogues5’3″American1987 – 2001Washington, Charlotte, Golden State, Toronto
2Earl Antoine Boykins5’5″American1998 – 2012New Jersey, Cleveland, Orlando, Denver, L.A. Clippers, Golden State, Milwaukee, Charlotte, Washington, Houston
3Anthony Jerome ‘Spud’ Webb5’9″American1985 – 1998Atlanta, Sacramento, Orlando, Minnesota
4Calvin Murphy5’9″American1970 – 1983Houston
5Nate Robinson5’9″American2005 – 2016New York, Boston, Oklahoma City, Golden State, Chicago, Denver, L.A. Clippers, New Orleans
6Michael Adams5’10”American1985 – 1996Sacramento, Washington, Denver, Charlotte
7Damon ‘Might Mouse’ Stoudamire5’10”American1995 – 2008Toronto, Portland, Memphis, San Antonio
8Avery ‘Little General’ Johnson5’10”American1988 – 2004Seattle, Denver, San Antonio, Houston, Golden State, Dallas
9Allen Iverson6’0″American1996 – 2010Philadelphia, Denver, Detroit, Memphis
10Chris Paul6’0″American2005 – presentNew Orleans, L.A. Clippers, Houston, Oklahoma City, Phoenix

The Ten Shortest Basketball Players In WNBA History

We’ve looked at the tallest male and female players in NBA and WNBA, respectively. We’ve also looked at the shortest male players in NBA history. To complete our comparisons, below are the ten shortest female players in WNBA basketball history, starting with the shortest.

Player’s NamePlayer’s HeightNationalityWNBA CareerWNBA Team(s)
1Shannon Bobbitt5’2″American2008 – 2013Los Angeles
2Debbie Black5’2.5″American1999 – 2005Utah, Miami, Connecticut
3Temeka Johnson5’3″American2005 – 2015Washington, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Tulsa, Seattle
4Brooke McCarty-Williams5’4″American2019 – presentDallas
5Leilani Mitchell5’5″American – Australian2008 – 2020New York, Phoenix, Washington
6Heather Butler5’5″American2014 – 2016San Antonio, Connecticut
7Crystal Dangerfield5’5″American2020 – presentMinnesota, Indiana, New York
8Dymond Simon5’5″American2006 – 2011Arizona State
9Andrea Riley5’5″American2006 – 2010Oklahoma State
10Shyla Heal5’6″Australian2021 – presentChicago, Dallas

Why Basketball Players Are So Tall

It’s understandable why tall athletes are chosen to play basketball. But basketball players are above average in height compared to the rest of the world’s population. How did they get so tall?

A person’s height is mainly due to genetics. Tall people usually have tall parents, although there are some exceptions. In basketball, some tall players have had tall children with league potential. Examples are Manute Bol’s son, Bol Bol, and LeBron James’ son, Bronny James Jr, who is still in school.

Other factors contributing to height during the developmental stages are getting enough sleep, stretching, and living a healthy lifestyle.

Does Being So Tall Have Health Implications?

Sometimes, excessively tall people struggle with pituitary gland issues, where they produce excessive Human Growth Hormone. Other health issues associated with tallness include varicose veins, irregular heartbeat, nerve damage in arms and legs, and skin and bone infections. These are usually attributed to suboptimal blood circulation.

What Medical Issues Do Basketball Players Suffer From?

The late Boban Marjanović, and Ming Ming, suffer from acromegaly. Acromegaly is caused by a pituitary gland tumor leading to ongoing growth hormone production, leading to gigantism.

Besides sports injuries, the most significant medical issue pro basketball players struggle with is lack of sleep. This is due to their busy schedules during the playing season.

Editorial credit: zhangjin_net / Shutterstock.com


The average height of male basketball players in the NBA is 6’6″, while female players in the WNBA average a height of 5’9″. The tallest basketball players in history have measured over 7 feet tall, while the shortest players were 5’3″ or 5’2″. Very tall players need to maintain good blood circulation to prevent unwanted health issues associated with being tall.


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