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How Tall Do You Have to be to Play Basketball?

How Tall Do You Have to be to Play Basketball?

How Tall Do You Have to be to Play Basketball?

With many NBA players standing over 6-feet, and many NBA centers reaching 7-feet in height, basketball may seem like an intimidating sport for someone of a shorter stature.  However, and contrary to popular belief, basketball is not a sport that discriminates based on height.

That’s why, below, we are going to review just how tall do you have to be to play basketball and we will look at how basketball can be played, both effectively and successfully, by individuals of all statures.  We will also look at some of the most successful NBA players who were shorter in stature and how they made an impact on both the game and the league.

Do You Have to be Tall to Play Basketball?

Admittedly, many people believe that in order to play and be successful in basketball, you will need to be tall and above average in height.  However, this is simply untrue and patently false.  Contrary to popular belief, basketball is a sport that can be played by nearly anyone, regardless of height.

And while many players in the NBA stand in at over 6-feet tall, being tall and above average in height is not a requirement of the sport.  From playing in a junior varsity league to a high school one to the college and professional leagues, above average height is not a requirement and nearly anyone of any stature is eligible to play the game.

Rather, basketball is an inclusive sport that allows for play by nearly anyone.  Male or female, tall or shorter, basketball is a sport that rewards skill, knowledge, commitment, and perseverance of the game rather than just stature.

Does Being Tall Help in Basketball?

Admittedly, while you don’t have to be tall to play basketball, having some additional height can help in certain situations.  With the basketball rim standing at 10-feet above the ground, being taller can help to both dunk, lay-up, and secure the missed rebound.

In addition, by being taller, players are often better able to shoot over their defender, ensuring that the shot ball rises above the defenders reach and into the hoop.  These height advantages can help a basketball player during a game and can help them to achieve greater levels of success.

However, height, in of itself, is often not a determining factor in an individual player’s level of success.  Although height and being above average in stature can be useful in basketball, without proper training, conditioning, and practice, the added benefit is often lost.

And although the added height can aid an individual basketball player to achieve their goals and ensure a more successful level of play, without proper training and knowledge of the game, the added height can only do so much.  That is why, regardless of height, an individual player must ensure that they are putting in both the time and work to become better players.

Does Being Short Help in Basketball?

Again, contrary to popular belief, being shorter and not having as much height can actually be a benefit in a game of basketball.  Shorter players are often more adept at the game and have faster speed of motion, dribble, and shot.  In addition, for shorter players, weaving through the lane and past defenders is often easier and can be completed more nimbly.

In addition, for shorter basketball players, these players are often forced to adapt to the game and will learn to create their own opportunities and style of play.  Whereas many basketball players are taller and above average in height, shorter players have a distinct advantage in being able to avoid defenders, weave through the lane, and create open shot opportunities for themselves and their teammates.

And lastly, for shorter players, the game of basketball can also be better played as an accessory on a team.  Generally better with the ball and in dribbling and handling the flow of the game, shorter players can make quick cuts to the basket, creating open shot opportunities for teammates standing on the wings.

Is There a Height Requirement to Play in the NBA?

Once again, contrary to popular belief, there is not a height requirement to play in the NBA.  In fact, the NBA’s rules and regulations don’t specify a minimum or maximum player height.  Rather, players are drafted to the league based on their skill and ability to play the game.

A player, whether 5-foot or 7-feet tall, is only judged based on their ability to play the game and to play it efficiently and successfully. The NBA does not discriminate based on a player’s height and allows for players of all heights to play, so long as they have proven their ability to do so.

Famous Shorter Players Who Played in the NBA

While the NBA is known for having some of the tallest players and individuals play in the league, it is a league that does not discriminate based on height.  As such, there have been a slew of famous shorter players to play in the league.  These players not only played relentlessly and admirably but also helped to remove the stigma with shorter players being able to compete in the league.

  • Tyrone “Muggsy” Bogues – perhaps the most famous short NBA player to play in the league, Muggsy Bogues stood at a mere 5’3”.  However, he did not allow his shorter stature to be a detriment while playing in the league.  Bogues played point guard for four different teams in the NBA and had a 14-year career in the league.  He finished his career in the top seven in assists in six consecutive seasons (1989-1995) and in the top ten in steals in three of those seasons.
  • Earl Boykins – standing at 5’5”, Earl Boykins was the second shortest player in NBA history.  While playing for the Cleveland Central Catholic High School, Boykins averaged 24.6 points per game and led the school to a 23-2 record as a senior.  And although Boykins was never drafted by an NBA team, he was signed to short-term contracts by five different teams before signing a five-year, $13.7 million contract with the Denver Nuggets.
  • Melvin Hirsch – Melvin Hirsch was long regarded as the shortest player to play in the league until Muggsy Bogues was drafted.  At 5’6”, Hirsch was a standout player at Brooklyn College and would serve in the US Army Air Corps as a Navigator on a C-47 aircraft.