Tacko Fall warming up before a basketball game
Basketball
Picture by Erik Drost

Tallest Basketball Players: Right Now & History

For as long as the game has existed, basketball has been labelled as a sport for tall people. If you look at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, there’s no shortage of power forwards and centres over 7′ (213 cm) tall. Some had a long NBA career and were super dominant, while others just appeared on rosters for a short while. Regardless of how impactful a basketball player was, this list will shine a light on the tallest basketball players of all time and those who are active right now. 

Tallest Basketball Players in NBA History

The NBA is considered to be the basketball league with the best players. For a long time, teams depended on a solid rim protector and inside presence, so a tall player always seemed like an exciting prospect, regardless of his skill. With scouts for all 30 franchises working almost 365 days a week, it’s no surprise that there have been enormously tall individuals with NBA contracts. In this part of the article, we will list the TOP 5 tallest ever players who played in the NBA.

5. Shawn Bradley (7’6″ or 229 cm)

Born on: March 22, 1972

As he said in an interview, at the moment, there are only 30-something people in the world who are 7’6″ or taller. So it’s no surprise that the Stormin’ Mormon’ comes in at No. 5 on our list. 

The centre had a superb college and a. respectable 12-year-long NBA career, making a name as a rim protector, shot blocker and solid rebounder. He played for the 76ers, New Jersey Nets and the Dallas Mavericks. Having led the NBA in blocks in 1997, he retired in 2005. Sadly, recently, he was in an unfortunate accident that left the NBA center wheelchair-bound for the rest of his life.

4. Yao Ming (7‘6” or 229 cm) 

Born on September 12, 1980

The only All-Star on this list and one of the most famous centres of all time – Yao Ming. He was drafted 1st overall in 2002 by the Houston Rockets and immediately impacted the floor. With a soft touch around the paint and a powerful back to the basket game, he scored over 9,000 points and made the All-Star team a whopping 8 times. Sadly, his career was plagued and ended prematurely due to injuries. He played in the NBA from 2002 until 2011, ending his career with an average of 19 points, over 9 rebounds and nearly 2 blocks per game.  

3. Tacko Fall (7‘6” or 229 cm)

Born on December 10, 1995 

Standing just as tall as Shawn Bradley or Yao, the Senegalese Tacko Fall gets the 4th spot just because his weight is listed as 1 lb heavier than Yao Ming. So, objectively, Tacko is the bigger dude. Although born in Senegal, Tacko Fall moved to the US at 16 years of age and became sort of a phenomenon in high school and college due to his 7’6 stature. Although he went undrafted, he spent 2 and a half seasons playing for the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers from 2019 to 2022. Currently, the former NBA G League blocks leader is playing in Puerto Rico. 

2. Manute Bol (7‘7” or 231 cm)

Born on October 16, 1962 

Manute Bol is one of two players sharing the No.1 spot on our list. Born in modern-day South Sudan, Manute Bol spent almost 10 full seasons in the NBA and is amongst the most memorable NBA players of all time. Interestingly enough, up until age 10, Manute played football but was deemed too tall and switched to basketball. Raised in rural parts of South Sudan, there was absolutely no information about Manute Bol until 1982 when the country was visited by Don Feeley, coach at Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey. He convinced Bol to come to the US and pursue a career in basketball. 

Manute was a solid player on some lottery teams and was best known for averaging 5 blocks per game during his rookie season. To this day, he is one of a few players to retire with more blocks than assists and has the longest arm span – 259 cm or 8′ 6″ of anyone in the NBA, ever.

1. Gheorghe Muresan (7‘7” or 231 cm)

Born on: February 14, 1971

Romania isn’t known to produce a lot of basketball talent. However, it did produce a 7-year NBA veteran and one of the two tallest basketball players in the NBA – Gheorghe Muresan. He primarily played for the Washington Bullets, just like his predecessor, Manute Bol. He did put up some solid numbers, averaging nearly a double-double in his best seasons. The Romanian was named NBA’s Most Improved Player in 1995-96 but was sidelined by many injuries and never regained his peak shape.  

Tallest Basketball Players in the NBA Right Now

All of the names on the previous list played were centers and played that position. More so, they were almost always traditional in their play style. Their talents were utilised under the basket and made to be rim protectors. These towers had obvious strengths and weaknesses whenever they were on the floor.

However, with the evolution of basketball in the past years, positions are starting to fade. So, modern-day tall guys aren’t necessarily traditional centers. We made a list of the tallest players in the NBA as of the 2023-24 NBA season for each team.

Team Player Height PPG
Atlanta Hawks Clint Capela 6’11” 11.5
Boston Celtics Kristaps Porzingis 7’2″ 20.1
Brooklyn Nets Nic Claxton 6’11” 11.1
Charlotte Hornets Mark Williams 7’0″ 12.7
Chicago Bulls Andre Drummond 6’11” 8.4
Cleveland Cavaliers Evan Mobley 7’0″ 15.4
Dallas Mavericks Dereck Lively II 7’1″ 8.8
Denver Nuggets Jay Huff 7’1″ 1.2
Detroit Pistons James Wiseman 7’0″ 7.1
Golden State Warriors Dario Šarič 6’10” 8.0
Houston Rockets Boban Marjanovic 7’4″ 3.2
Indiana Pacers Myles Turner 6’11” 17.1
LA Clippers Ivica Zubac 7’0″ 10.8
LA Lakers Jaxson Hayes 7’0″ 4.3
Memphis Grizzlies Santi Aldama 7’0″ 10.7
Miami Heat Thomas Bryant 6’10” 5.7
Milwaukee Bucks Brook Lopez 7’1″ 12.5
Minnesota Timberwolves Rudy Gobert 7’1″ 14.0
New Orleans Pelicans Jonas Valančiūnas 6’11” 12.2
New York Knicks Mitchell Robinson 7’0″ 7.4
Oklahoma City Thunder Chet Holmgren 7’1″ 16.5
Orlando Magic Moritz Wagner 6’11” 10.9
Philadelphia 76ers Joel Embiid 7’0″ 33.1
Phoenix Suns Bol Bol 7’3″ 5.3
Portland Trail Blazers Moses Brown 7’2″ 3.4
Sacramento Kings Alex Len 7’1″ 1.6
San Antonio Spurs Victor Wembanyama 7’4″ 21.4
Toronto Raptors Jakob Poeltl 7’1″ 12.1
Utah Jazz Walker Kessler 7’0″ 8.1
Washington Wizards Tristan Vukčevič 7’0″ 8.5

As of right now, and probably for the near future, the tallest player in the NBA is the 7’4″ Victor Wembanayama from the San Antonio Spurs. He seems like not just one of the tallest, but also most talented players ever blessed with a phenomenal physique.

Tallest Basketball Players in Euroleague – History & Currently

Right now there are 3 players in the Euroleague that are 221 cm or 7’3″ tall. The other two rounding out the TOP 5 are 220 cm or almost 7’3″ tall.

Youssoupha Fall, ASVEL – 221 cm

Stats in Euroleague 2023-24: 8.8 PTS; 6.6 REB, 0.6 BLK 

Christ Koumadje, ALBA – 221 cm

Stats in Euroleague 2023-24: 5.6 PTS; 5.4 REB, 0.9 BLK 

Tibor Pleiss, Anadolu Efes – 221 cm

Stats in Euroleague 2023-24: 7.8 PTS; 3.1 REB, 0.8 BLK 

Georgios Papagiannis, Fenerbahce – 220 cm

Stats in Euroleague 2023-24: 5.7 PTS; 3.6 REB, 0.6 BLK 

 

Walter „Edy“ Tavares, Fenerbahce – 220 cm

Stats in Euroleague 2023-24: 9.4 PTS; 6.5 REB, 1.5 BLK 

If you wonder who was the tallest player in the Euroleague ever, that title would go to a Montenegrin named Slavko Vraneš. He is 229 cm or 7’6″ tall. He had a professional career spanning between 1997 and 2018.

Slavko Vranes fighting for a ball

Tallest Women’s Basketball Player Ever

This title is reserved for the impressive Malgorzata or Margo Dydek. She was a Polish-born WNBA superstar who stood at an impressive 7 feet 2 inches (218 cm). Dydek, often called Margo, played center and averaged 10 points and 6.6 rebounds for 11 seasons in the WNBA. 

She played for the Utah Starzz and Los Angeles Sparks and led the league in blocks multiple times. Sadly, she tragically passed away at the young age of 37, merely three years after her retirement. 

Tallest Basketball Player Ever Recorded

If we were going for all-time records, the tallest basketball player of all time is a name you might not be familiar with. He is also from a country you might not even associate with basketball – Libya. 

Suleiman Ali Nashnush is amongst an exclusive list of 28 individuals ever recorded to be 8′ or taller. Yet, it must be said that he was only 7’10” or 239 cm tall when he played professionally in Libya. Later on in life, Nashnush became taller and topped out at 8′ 25“. 

 

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