Basketball is a tall man’s game. And there’s a reason for it. Being tall allows players to see over defenses, grab easy rebounds, and swat shots into the sixth row.
With the hoop fixated 10 ft above the ground, the height of the players matters a lot in the game of basketball.
Even though some of the biggest stars ever to play in the NBA weren’t too tall (Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson), height is still a prominent need for the game.
Below, we compile a list of the tallest NBA players ever in history.
Some of the players on this list made no real impact on the game. Others were pretty solid and had long fruitful careers.
So without further ado, here they are;
Gheorghe Muresan – 7 ft 7 in (2.31m)
Georghe Muresan is by far the tallest NBA player in history standing at a towering height of 7 feet 7 inches (2.31m)
Beating Manute Bol by just a few millimeters, the Romanian national played for 6 seasons in the NBA (1993 to 2000).
Murasan started his career in the NBA, playing for the Washington Bullets, the same team that Manute Bol played for.
He led the NBA in field goal percentage and in the 1995/96 season, he was named the league’s Most Improved Player in 1996 after averaging 14.5 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks per game.
After 5 years with the Bullets, Muresan moved to the New Jersey Nets and played for a year before retiring early due to ongoing injuries.
Manute Bol – 7 ft 7 in (2.31m)
Standing at 7″7, Manute Bol was surpassed by Georghe Muresan only by 0.25 inches.
The Sudanese basketballer was got drafted into the NBA in 1983 but started his professional career in 1985, playing for the Washington Wizards(then Washington Bullets).
In his 10-year career in the NBA, Manute Bol was a great shot blocker.
In fact, he recorded 397 blocks in 80 games in his first season, which represents an all-time record for a rookie. He wasn’t good at scoring but he made up for it with a career average of 3.3 blocks per game.
In 1987, The Washington Bullets paired Muggsy Bogues, the shortest player to ever play in the NBA with the tallest player, Manute Bol
Bol played for four teams during his career in the NBA: Washington Bullets, Golden State Warriors, Philadelphia 76ers, and Miami Heat.
He retired in 1996 and later returned to his native country, Sudan where he died in 2001.
Currently, Manute Bol’s son, Bol Bol is an NBA player currently playing for the Orlando Magic.
Shawn Bradley – 7 ft 6 in (2.29m)
Compared to most players on this list, Shawn Bradley had the longest career in the NBA, spanning 14 seasons.
The German-American basketballer also known as “The Stormin Mormon” played college basketball at Brigham Young University where he still holds the record for most block shots in a college game(18).
Shawn Bradley started his NBA career in 1993 and retired in 2005, after playing for the Philadelphia 76ers, New Jersey Nets, and Dallas Mavericks.
The highlight of his career was the 1996/97 season where he was the NBA’s block leader of the season with 288 blocks.
Slavko Vranes – 7 ft 6 in (2.29m)
Slavko Vraneš is a Montenegrin former NBA player who played for the New York Knicks.
In contrast to Shawn Bradley, Slavko Vranes had the shortest NBA career of all the tallest basketball players.
He was drafted by the Knicks in 2003 but was let go by the team in December 2003.
Vranes then signed a 10-day contract with the Portland Trailblazers where he played just one NBA game in 2004.
After his stint in the NBA, Slavko Vranes moved back to Europe where he has played for multiple teams ever since.
Yao Ming – 7 ft 6 in (2.29m)
Yao Ming is by far the most talented and accomplished player on this list. He is among the tallest NBA players in history to make an All-Star appearance.
He is also the tallest NBA player to play in the All-Star games and the Tallest NBA player to be inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame.
The Chinese former basketballer started his career in 1997 in his native country, China, playing for the Shanghai Sharks.
In 2002, he was drafted into the NBA and spent his entire career playing for the Houston Rockets.
Yao Ming retired in 2011 due to many injuries and health issues but remains one of the tallest NBA players in history and certainly the most impactful 7-footer.
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Tacko Fall – 7 ft 6 in (2.29m)
Tacko Fall is currently the tallest NBA player in 2022 and probably the tallest professional basketball in the world at the moment.
The Senegalese national started his pro basketball career in 2014 at the NBA G League Elite Camp.
In 2019, he was drafted by the Boston Celtics for two years.
After playing for the Celtics, he moved to the Cleveland Cavaliers and now plays for the Cleveland Chargers in the NBA G League.
Pavel Podkolzin – 7 ft 5 in (2.26m)
Pavel Podkolzin is a Russian basketballer who played for only two seasons in the NBA.
Pavel started his basketball career in 2001 with Lokomotiv Novosibirsk in the Russian SuperLeague.
In 2004, he was drafted into the NBA by the Dallas Mavericks, however, he managed to play only 6 games in the NBA due to a disorder.
Pavel returned to his native country, Russia, where he played in the Russian League until his retirement in 2019.
Despite not having much success in the NBA, he was known for his height at 7 foot 5, making him one of the tallest NBA players in history.
Chuck Nevitt – 7 ft 5 in (2.26m)
Charles Goodrich “Chuck” Nevitt had a relatively long career in the NBA even though he never really had much playing time on the court.
However, he is the only 7-footer on this list who actually has won an NBA ring while he was part of the Los Angeles Lakers in 1985.
Chuck Nevitt stood at an incredible 7 foot 5 inches in height, making him one of the tallest NBA players in history.
After playing for 10 years in the NBA for multiple teams such as the Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers, Chicago Bulls, and San Antonio Spurs, he retired in 1994 and went to work in the computer industry.
Sim Bhullar – 7 ft 5 in (2.26m)
Being the first player in the NBA of Indian descent, Sim Bhullar had a short stint in the NBA.
He played college basketball at New Mexico State University and went undrafted in the 2014 NBA draft.
Despite not getting drafted, the Sacramento Kings offered him a 10-day contract which saw him play 3 NBA games before getting released by the team.
Since then, Sim Bhullar has continued his basketball career in the Canadian basketball league and presently plays in the Taiwan basketball league.
Boban Marjanovic – 7 ft 4 in (2.24 m)
Boban Marjanović is another active 7-foot-plus player on this list together with Tacko Fall.
He started his basketball career in 2006, playing for multiple teams in Russia and Serbia before getting his big break into the NBA in 2015 with the San Antonio Spurs.
Though Boban has spent 8 seasons in the NBA, he’s never cracked over 60 games played.
However, he has a very good free-throw shooting percentage of 82% which is rare for a guy his height.
Boban Marjanović has also played roles in movies such as John Wick and We Will Be The World Champions.
Mark Eaton – 7 ft 4 in (2.24 m)
Mark Eaton was a shot-blocking machine during his playing days in the NBA.
Spending 11 years in the NBA(which is relatively long for a guy his height), Mark Eaton won the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award twice in his career.
He also holds the record for the most blocks in a single season (456), as well as the career average of 3.5 blocked shots per game.
Mark Eaton died on May 28, 2021, and will be remembered as one of the greatest shot blockers of all time as well as one of the tallest NBA players in history.
Rik Smits – 7 ft 4 in (2.24 m)
Rik Smits had the longest career on this list, spending 12 years in the NBA playing for the Indiana Pacers.
Nicknamed the “The Dunking Dutchman,” Smits who is of Dutch origin was a vital part of the Indiana Pacers of the 90s.
He had a career average of 14.8 PPG, 6.1 RPG, and 1.3 BPG and played in 70+ games in every season of his career.
Rik Smits helped the Pacers reach the NBA finals in 2000 only to be defeated by the Los Angeles Lakers. He was also an NBA All-Star in 1998.
After retiring from the NBA in 2000, Smits has spent most of his time racing motocross motorcycles.
Ralph Sampson – 7 ft 4 in (2.24 m)
Ralph Sampson is one of the most talented players at over 7 feet to ever play in the NBA.
Starting from his college days at the University of Virginia, Sampson dominated the NCAA and was named National College Player of the Year, 3 times(1981-1983)
He was subsequently drafted 1st overall by the Huston Rockets in 1983 and went on to be named NBA Rookie of the Year in 1983/84.
Playing alongside Hakeem Olajuwon they formed the “Twin Towers” which dominated the NBA in the early 80s.
In 1986, he helped the Houston Rockets reach the NBA finals where they lost against Larry Bird and the Boston Celtics.
Despite his talent on the court, Ralph Sampson’s career was cut short due to injuries and he had to retire in 1992.
Priest Lauderdale – 7 ft 4 in (2.24 m)
Priest Lauderdale is another big man who played in the NBA for only two years(1996-1998).
He was drafted in the first round by the Atlanta Hawks and played for one year with the Hawks before moving to the Denver Nuggets.
After getting released by the Denver Nuggets in 1998, Priest Lauderdale spent the rest of his career overseas, playing in China, Venezuela, Cyprus, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Spain, England, and the United Arab Emirates.
He retired in 2011 and now coaches Youth Basketball Camps in Germany. At 7 foot 4, he remains one of the tallest NBA players of all time.
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Who is the tallest NBA player in 2022?
The tallest active NBA player in 2022 is Tacko Fall.
Who is the tallest NBA player ever?
The tallest player to ever play in the NBA is Gheorghe Muresan.