Where as in the real world, 6’0″ might be tall, in the basketball world, that becomes one of the smaller people on the court…especially when compared to these giants.
We’ve compiled a list of the tallest professional basketball players of all time, and it gets pretty crazy. Check them out:
1) Suleiman Ali Nashnush 8’0½”
Suleiman Ali Nashnush (1943 – February 25, 1991) is one of seventeen individuals in medical history to reach or surpass eight feet in height. He was a Libyan basketball player and actor. In 1960, he successfully underwent surgery to correct his abnormal growth. He was one of the tallest basketball players ever at 8’0½” (245 cm) though when he played basketball he was closer to 7’10” (239 cm) and played for Libya.
Image Credit: The Tallest Man
2) Alexander Sizonenko 7’10”
Alexander Alekseyevich Sizonenko (27 July 1959 – 5 January 2012) was a Soviet basketball player.
Sizonenko was born in the city of Zaporizhia, Ukrainian SSR. He was measured by Guinness World Records at 2.39 m (7 ft 10 in) and named the world’s tallest man in 1991. Sizonenko was said to have grown since this measurement was taken, although age reduced his standing height considerably. Because of his enormous growth, his mobility was increasingly impaired.
Sizonenko played professionally for Spartak Leningrad (1976–1978) and for Stroitel Kuybyshev (1979–1986). Sizonenko was also a member of the Soviet national team and appeared on its behalf for 12 games.
3) Sun Mingming 7’9″
Mingming Sun (born August 23, 1983) is a Chinese basketball player. It has been argued that he is the tallest player to ever play professional basketball, although Guinness World Records indicates Libyan Suleiman Ali Nashnush was taller. Mingming stands 7 ft 9 in (2.36 m) and weighing 370 lb (168 kg). Sun wears size 20 shoes. He also makes occasional appearances as an actor.
Image Credit: sportsillustrated.com
4) Ri Myung Hun – 7’8.5″
Ri Myung-Hun, also known as Michael Ri after his favorite basketball player Michael Jordan (born September 14, 1967 in North Korea), is a former North Korean basketball player. He played the center position for the national basketball team of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Once proclaimed to be the tallest living human being in the world, he stands 7’8½” (2.35m) tall and once planned to play in the National Basketball Association (NBA) in the 1990s.
5) Yasutaka Okayama 7’8″
Yasutaka Okayama (born November 29, 1954 in Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan) was the tallest basketball player drafted in National Basketball Association history. This 7’8″ center was selected by the Golden State Warriors as the 10th pick of the eighth round of the 1981 Draft, although he did not sign with them.
Okayama practiced Judo at junior high school and high school, and obtained a second degree black belt. He started playing basketball when he was eighteen at Osaka University of Commerce. He attended the University of Portland but never played for their basketball program as he was a project. After graduation, he joined the basketball club of Sumitomo Metal Industries. He represented Japan between 1979 and 1986 before he retired in 1996.
6) Neil Fingleton – 7’7.56″
Neil Fingleton (born 18 December 1980) is an English actor and former basketball player. He is also the tallest British-born man at 7 ft 7.56 in (232.6 cm) in height and among the 25 tallest men in the World. This title has been confirmed by the Guinness Book of Records in the summer of 2007.
Fingleton won a basketball scholarship to the United States first playing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and later at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts. In August 2000, Fingleton had back surgery and then earned a medical redshirt from North Carolina.
Fingleton played only one game with North Carolina then transferred to Holy Cross in 2002.
Fingleton debuted professionally in the 2004–2005 season with the Boston Frenzy of the ABA. The Frenzy waived Fingleton in December 2004.
In the 2005 NBA Development League Draft, the Austin Toros selected Fingleton as the eighth pick in the fifth round. On 6 December 2005, Fingleton started playing with the English Basketball League team Tees Valley Mohawks.
In November 2006, Fingleton signed with Spanish team CB Illescas and later with Ciudad Real. After an injury forced him to retire in 2007, he returned to his home city of Durham to pursue a career in showbusiness.
Image Credit: thetallestman.com
7) Paul Sturgess 7’7.26″
Paul Sturgess (born November 25, 1987) is an English professional basketball player. He was officially measured by Guinness World Records in November 2011 at 7 ft 7.26 in (2.3180 m) and 325 lb (147 kg). Sturgess was the tallest ever college basketball player in the United States and is the tallest professional basketball player in the world.
Paul “Tiny” Sturgess was “drafted” by the Harlem Globetrotters in August 2011 and is the tallest ever to play for the team.
Image Credit: sportsinvasion.net
8) Kenny George 7’7″
Kenneth George Jr. is an American basketball player. Somewhere between 7 ft 7 in (2.31 m) and 7 ft 9 in (2.36 m), he was the tallest basketball player in the United States during the two years he played for his college team, the University of North Carolina at Asheville Bulldogs, and is one of the tallest players in basketball history.
He averaged 12.4 points and 7.0 rebounds for the Bulldogs in his last season. The Big South’s defensive player of the year, he led them to a school-record 23 wins.
George’s height and weight — he was listed at 360 pounds last season and wore size 26 shoes — is the result of an overactive pituitary gland. George, who stands 7-9 with shoes, could dunk flat-footed and towered over most players. But he had two major knee injuries, among other problems, and missed nearly three full seasons.
9) Gheorghe Mureșan – 7’7″
Gheorghe Dumitru Mureșan (born February 14, 1971), also known as Ghiţă, Big Ghiţă or George, is a retired Romanian professional basketball player. At 7 ft 7 in (2.31 m), he is one of the tallest players in NBA history.
Mureșan was born in the countryside of Romania, in Tritenii de Jos, Cluj County, and played competitive basketball at Cluj University. He played professionally in the French league with Pau-Orthez during the 1992–93 season and was an instant hit with fans. The NBA took interest in him and he was selected by the Washington Bullets in the 1993 NBA Draft.
He played in the NBA from 1993 to 2000 showing signs of a promising career that was derailed by injuries. His best season came in the 1994–1995 campaign, when he averaged 14.5 points per game.
Image Credit: ballislife
10) Manute Bol 7’6¾”
Manute Bol (October 16, 1962 – June 19, 2010) was a Sudanese-born basketball player and political activist. At 7 ft 7 in (2.31 m) tall, he was one of the tallest men ever to play in the National Basketball Association, along with Gheorghe Mureşan.
He was officially measured and listed at 7 feet, 6 ¾ inches tall in the Guinness Book of World Records. He is believed to have been born on October 16, 1962 in either Turalei or Gogrial, Sudan (now South Sudan).
Bol played basketball for many teams over his career. He played for two colleges and four NBA teams. A center, he was known as a specialist player; he was considered among the best shot-blockers in the history of the sport, but other aspects of his game were considered fairly weak. Over the course of his career he blocked more shots than he scored points. He is second all-time in NBA history in terms of average blocked shots per game, and ranks 15th on the career blocks list.
Image Credit: fatherrays
11) Shawn Bradley 7’6″
Shawn Paul Bradley (born March 22, 1972) is a retired American and German (dual citizen) basketball player who played center for the Philadelphia 76ers, the New Jersey Nets and the Dallas Mavericks in the National Basketball Association. At 7 ft 6 in (2.29 m) tall, Bradley was one of the tallest players in NBA history. Though born in Landstuhl, West Germany, Bradley grew up in Castle Dale, Utah.
Image Credit: wolfgnards.com
12) Mamadou Ndiaye 7’6″
At 7-foot-6, 290 pounds, Mamadou Ndiaye is currently the tallest college basketball player in America.
Only two players have played in the NBA at a greater height — Manute Bol and Gheorghe Mureșan, each at 7-foot-7 — and no player on an active roster is taller. The NCAA doesn’t track its towering giants, but many believe only 7-foot-7 Kenny George, who played at UNC Asheville from 2006-08, stood taller than Ndiaye.
He was the 2013 CIF-5AA Player of the Year for Brethren Christian in Huntington Beach, California, earned the 2013 John R. Wooden High School Player of the Year award for CIF Division V and was a member of the all-state first team, he is more than just a big body.
He averaged 27 points, 14 rebounds and 4.5 blocked shots per game for Brethren Christian and Coach Jon Bahnsen as a senior, and in his freshman year at UC Irvine, broke the Big West single game blocked shot records with 11 vs Long Beach.
Image Credit: thebiglead.com
13) Samuel Deguara 7’6″
7’6″ Samuel Deguara is a dual Maltese – Italian basketball player. He has a contract with Benetton Treviso until 2016.
He was the Maltese national team top scorer of the European small countries championship in the summer of 2012 in Malta, where they finished in third place.
In 2011-12 he played on loan at CUS Bari Basketball in National Division A, the following season he played for the Basketball Reggiana in Serie A, playing a single game.
Image Credit: sportinmalta.com
14) Yao Ming 7’6″
Yao Ming (born September 12, 1980) is a retired Chinese professional basketball player who played for the Houston Rockets of the National Basketball Association (NBA). At the time of his final season, he was the tallest active player in the NBA, at 2.29 m (7 ft 6 in).
Yao, who was born in Shanghai, China, started playing for the Shanghai Sharks as a teenager, and played on their senior team for five years in the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA), winning a championship in his final year. After negotiating with the CBA and the Sharks to secure his release, Yao was selected by the Houston Rockets as the first overall pick in the 2002 NBA draft.
Yao was selected to start for the Western Conference in the NBA All-Star Game eight times, and was named to the All-NBA Team five times. He reached the NBA Playoffs four times, and the Rockets won a first-round series in the 2009 postseason, their first playoff series victory since 1997.
In July 2011, Yao announced his retirement from professional basketball due to a series of foot and ankle injuries which forced him to miss 250 games in his last six seasons.
In eight seasons with the Rockets, Yao ranks sixth among franchise leaders in total points and total rebounds, and second in total blocks.
15) Chuck Nevitt 7’5″
Charles Goodrich “Chuck” Nevitt (born June 13, 1959) is a retired American professional basketball player, known primarily for his great height. At 7 ft 5 in (2.26 m), he played the center position throughout his nine-year career (1983, 1985–1990, 1992, 1993) in the NBA, and remains one of the tallest players ever in NBA history. During his career, Nevitt played with the Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers, Detroit Pistons, Chicago Bulls, Fulgor Libertas Forlì (Italy), and San Antonio Spurs. He usually sported jersey #52.
16) Pavel Podkolzin 7’5″
Pavel Nikolaevitch Podkolzin (born January 15, 1985) is a Russian professional basketball player for Sibirtelecom Lokomotiv Novosibirsk. Formerly, he played in the NBA and the NBA Development League. He is a 2.26 m (7 ft 5 in) and 138 kg (304 lb) center.
Podkolzin made his debut with Lokomotiv Novosibirsk, in the Russian second division, during the 2001–02 season. In December 2001, he signed with Italy’s Metis Varese, for whom he played from 2002 to 2004. He was selected by the Utah Jazz in the 2004 NBA Draft and promptly traded to the Dallas Mavericks for a future first-round pick in the 2005 NBA Draft.
He was originally available for selection in the previous year’s draft, but withdrew due to acromegaly, a pituitary disorder. Podkolzin was considered to be a high draft pick in he 2004 draft because of his size, blocking ability and strength, but he was chosen late in the draft.
Podkolzin averaged 6.0 rebounds in 14.0 minutes in his first two Las Vegas Summer League Revue games. On August 5, 2006, he was waived by the Mavericks after appearing briefly in just six games spanning two seasons.
Image Credit: NBA.com
17) Slavko Vraneš 7’5″
Slavko Vraneš (born January 30, 1983) is a Montenegrin professional basketball player. At 7’5″ he is one of the tallest players in the world.
Vraneš started playing basketball at Serbian club FMP Železnik. Still a junior, he was snapped up by the Turkish club Tofaş for the 2000–01 season. Then he moved to Efes Pilsen. Unable to adjust, he returned to Montenegro (then Serbia and Montenegro) in January 2002, where he played for Budućnost Podgorica until the summer of 2003.
Vraneš was selected by the National Basketball Association’s New York Knicks in the second round of the 2003 NBA Draft. He was waived by the Knicks in December 2003. In early January 2004, he signed a ten-day contract with Portland Trail Blazers. Before his contract expired, he played one game in the 2003–04 NBA season.
After that, he played briefly for the Red Star Belgrade. From 2004 to 2007, he played with Budućnost Podgorica for the second time in his career. In October 2007, he signed a three-year contract with Partizan Belgrade.
In October 2011 he signed with Sanaye Petroshimi BC in the Iranian Super League. During 2013 he played with Metalac Valjevo. In October 2013 he signed with Zob Ahan Isfahan.
He was a member of the Montenegro national basketball team.
Image Credit: Euroleague.net
Honorable Mention: Margo Dydek – 7’2″
Małgorzata Dydek (28 April 1974 – 27 May 2011), known as Margo Dydek in the United States, was a Polish international professional basketball player. Standing 7 ft 2 in (2.18 m) tall, she was famous for being the tallest professional female basketball player in the world. She played center position for the Connecticut Sun in the WNBA and was a coach for the Northside Wizards in the Queensland Basketball League.
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