Many people often ponder on why basketball players are incredibly tall. There have been a lot of speculations about this striking feature of basketballers, with many believing that they are genetically altered to look tall, and some say they eat special diets to stay that tall. Becoming a basketball player will not increase your height naturally. Most successful basketball players are tall players who have attained up to 6 feet even in their teenage years.
So, Why are Basketball Players so Tall
Basketball players are tall mainly due to genetics and not special diets or medications.
Height Of Basketball Players Over The Years
In the early 1990s, it is possible to see average height players in the basketball league; though we still have them today, the numbers are just very few. Today it is all about tall players, especially those above 6 feet in height. A few years back, the average height of basketball players was between 6’3,” but today it is 6’7”. Most players in the NBA today measure around 6’5” in height.
Height is essential for basketball players who play in certain positions. For instance, a central player is expected to measure between 6’9” to 7’ height.
The Importance Of Height In Basketball
Height in basketball is essential for some reasons, which include the following;
Some of the tallest basketballers often turn defenders for their teams. A defender is the one who defends the shots and prevents opponents from scoring. A tall defender can jump quickly to block shots. Height will always give advantages to defenders when stopping shots from opponents.
2. Shot Blocking
Taller players often possess bigger chances of blocking shots with their hands. They often don’t even have to jump and struggle to reach the opponent’s balls. To become a better blocker, you need to attain a certain height and acquire the right blocking skills.
3. Finish the Ball at the Rim
Basketball hoops often stand at 10 feet if not more; a basketball player of 7’ height will find it easier to slam and dunk the ball than a 6 feet player. A taller player doesn’t need to jump as high as a shorter player to reach the rim and take a shot. Most taller players will only dunk to make a shot because they reach the rim faster and easier to make their shots.
4. Longer Game Strides
Taller players do possess longer strides because they have longer limbs. It becomes easier to escape and run quicker with the ball with longer limbs. Great height will also help you reach the ball quicker, which is why taller players cover the entire distance of the basketball court within shorter periods.
5. To Get More Rebounds
A basketball player’s wingspan increases as height increases, which is why they get rebounds quickly. They don’t even have to take many steps to get rebounds from under the net; their heights keep them in an excellent position to go for such rebounds.
6. For Better Playing Positions
As we all know that different playing positions require different height measurements; if you want to play in certain positions, you need the height advantage. The center player, for instance, is often the tallest, followed by the defender who blocks the shots. A central player with better height will help them stay nearer the baskets to make more shots and go for rebounds.
What Could Have Contributed To Basketball Players’ Height?
Aside from genetic predisposition, the following could also contribute to the tallness of basketball players;
Regular exercises, especially in targeted areas of the body, could be why many basketball players maintain their height. These are intensive exercises that are targeted at different areas of the body. They do have daily workout routines that keep them agile. Though there are very few scientific results that link exercise to height gains, building lean muscle mass and from a young age help, basketball players increase, especially in their developing years.
Diet may also contribute to the growth and sustenance of height in basketball players. A well-balanced and well-planned diet may contribute to attaining proper heights, especially in the early teenage years. A balanced diet should include the appropriate portions of proteins, Vitamins, Minerals, macro-nutrients, and carbs. Following a strict dietary regimen helps maintain proper weight and good height.
3. Growth Supplements
Most basketball players, if not all, take growth supplements from their early development phase even to the point they stop growing naturally.
Growth supplements often include hormones of synthetic nature that can stimulate rapid height increase of an individual. Many of these supplements are available in the market today, hence the need to exercise caution when taking them. Growth hormones can come with some side effects if not correctly handled.
What Are Some Exercises To Help Maintain Good Height For Basketball?
Exercises alone cannot help basketballers attain better heights; likewise, diets alone cannot solve the problem. Combining the correct height supplements with diet and exercises often works well to help basketballers attain great heights.
1. Stretching Exercises
For basketballers, stretching has remained one of the most effective exercises to maintain good height. Stretching helps keep the muscles healthy and helps to reduce the risks of stiffness on and off the court. Stretching also helps maintain good posture and play more efficiently in any position. Stretching is one of the essential warm activities before a basketball match.
Swimming is an off-court exercise recommended for basketball players and those intending to go into the sport. Due to the constant running up and down the court, basketball players are advised to do breathing exercises to keep up with Oxygen usage. Swimming helps in controlling breathing and also contributes to boosting stamina. Swimming also contributes to agility.
3. Yoga Exercises
Yoga exercises are often ignored by basketballers and competitive sportsmen, and sportswomen in general. Yoga will improve the well-being of the mind because it improves your ability to be mindful and relaxes; hence it is not an exercise aimed at increasing height.
4. Weight Training
Weight training is one of the most important exercises for basketballers and those who want to become professional basketballers. Weight lifting targets different groups of muscles at different times, depending on how you perform it. Weightlifting also strengthens the bones and muscles while burning fat. Weightlifting is one exercise that helps your body burn even more calories at rest.
Cycling is one of the activities recommended for basketballers at all levels because the activity is always stretching the muscles in the legs and other parts of the lower body. Continuous peddling when cycling will also help burn more calories.
The Tallest Players In National Basketball Association (NBA) League History
The following basketballers are players known to be the tallest in history;
1. Muresan Gheorghe
Muresan is the tallest basketballer in history, standing at 7’7”. He played for 7 continuous seasons in the NBA, and his height was the highest ever in history.
2. Bol Manute
Manute also measures 7’7” and was considered the second tallest in the history of basketball. He played in 10 consecutive NBA seasons.
3. Bradley Shawn
Bradley Shawn measured 7’6” and was known as one of the best players in the game. He played in the NBA basketball league consecutively from 1993 to 2005, making him one of the longest playing basketball players in history.
4. Ming Yao
Ming Yao was the tallest Asian to ever play in the NBA. The former NBA player measured 7’6” and played in the NBA from 2002 to 2011.
5. Chuck Nevitt
The list of the tallest NBA players in history is incomplete without mentioning Chuck Hewitt, who measured 7’5” and played in the NBA league for 10 seasons.
There are many other players in NBA history that were not so tall yet achieved more feat than taller players. While taller players have an edge of reaching the hoops more quickly, some shorter players have greater speed and can charge forward more quickly than some slower taller players. You may want to check the average height for each position on the NBA court and see where you fit in.
It is important to understand things you must do to maintain your height as a potential basketball player, even though you are genetically tall. It is also important to know the average height for each position on the basketball court. The average height for the point guard in the NBA, for instance, is 6 feet- this is perhaps the position with the shortest height position. The average height for the shooting guard in the NBA is 6’5”. The average height for the forward in the NBA is 6’4,” but you can see taller players in this position because it is a very critical one. Fortunately, players that have attained 6’5” should be able to fit into just any position on the court.