In a sport that it is dominated by tall players, there are a few giants who stand heads and shoulders above the rest. The list of the tallest basketball players to make a mark in the NBA includes some fascinating characters.
Two NBA players have stood at 7’7”, so let’s start with the much-loved Romanian whose amazing height was down to a glandular disorder. He started his career impressively, winning championships in Romania and France before joining the Washington Bullets in the 1993 draft.
This was the start of a 7-year NBA career where we won plaudits for his point-scoring and the improvement in his overall game. His time in the NBA ended with the New Jersey Nets, before a second stint in France saw him win the league there.
Muresan has appeared in some acting roles since injuries caused him to stop playing pro basketball, and he also started the Giant Basketball Academy in Virginia. He says that he is used to kids getting scared when they first see him, and that discovering basketball is the best thing to have happened to him.
Another giant of the NBA, Manute Bol is listed by some sites as being an inch shorter than Muresan, although other sources have them as the same height. Born in Sudan, he was discovered by American basketball scouts and encouraged to move to the US.
Among the most interesting records he set, Bol became the only player in the history of the NBA to block more shots than they scored points. Indeed, he was renowned as possibly the best shot-blocker in the history of the NBA.
His pro career got off to a false start when he was ruled ineligible for the 1983 draft after being chosen by the Los Angeles Clippers. However, he finally got there when he joined the Washington Bullets in the 1985 draft, before spells with the Golden State Warriors and the Philadelphia 76ers.
Away from the court, he was known for his charity work and for his commitment to achieving independence for South Sudan. Now, his son Bol Bol is currently one of the tallest players in the NBA.
Who is the tallest NBA player of all time apart from Muresan and Bol? Well, several players are listed at 7’6” tall, such as Slavko Vranes and Shawn Bradley. But perhaps the perfect combination of extreme height and basketball skills were best seen in Yao Ming.
He was born in Shanghai, to tall parents who were pro basketball players. Ming played for the Shanghai Sharks before he was chosen by the Houston Rockets as first pick in the 2002 NBA draft, the first time a foreign player had come directly from abroad and been first pick.
In an excellent career with the Rockets that ran for 8 seasons, he got to the NBA playoffs 4 times and produced some memorable moments. In the later years, injuries limited his time on the court but he still remained a hugely influential and popular player.
Ming’s popularity has seen him appear in documentaries and have an autobiography published. In the last few years, he was chosen as the chairman of the Chinese Basketball Association.
As mentioned earlier. Bradley was the same imposing height as Yao Ming and also enjoyed a great deal of basketball success. He gained attention early in his career, when he played for the Emery High School team in Utah and set records for shot-blocking that still stand.
Bradley joined the Philadelphia 76ers in the 1993 draft but is best known for his later spell with the Dallas Mavericks. His blocking ability remained the mainstay of his game, although his points-scoring and rebounding were inconsistent throughout his career.