Professional basketball players are some of the tallest people in the world, but that isn’t by coincidence. More height means shots don’t have to travel as far to the basket, giving taller players a slight advantage over those who are shorter.
But if you’re not blessed with tall genetics, can simply playing basketball make you taller? Let’s see if there’s any truth to this statement and what other things you can do to improve your height.
Can Playing Basketball Make You Taller?
There are a couple of reasons why people believe there is a connection between height and basketball. Firstly, as basketball players are constantly jumping, it allows the pituitary gland to release more growth hormones to help you increase your height.
Secondly, by playing basketball, it encourages the secretion of HGH (Human Growth Hormone). It’s thought that having a high level of HGH in your body can potentially increase your height.
So, does basketball make you taller? Unfortunately, there isn’t enough proof to suggest playing basketball makes you taller. Height is primarily linked to genetics, but other factors like nutrition, activity levels, and hormones can also influence how tall someone will be.
While playing basketball alone won’t make you taller, there are still some other things you can do to encourage growth spurts, which we’ll go over below.
Can Certain Exercises Make You Taller?
You might have heard that certain exercises like climbing, hanging, and swimming can increase your height. But there isn’t enough evidence to suggest whether specific exercises or stretching techniques can increase your height.
Your height is slightly different throughout the day as a result of decompressing or compressing the discs in your back. If you’ve performed an exercise that has decompressed your discs, it might seem like you’ve undergone a grown spurt.
However, this height isn’t permanent, so don’t be fooled by any workout plans or techniques that claim to help you grow taller.
Ways to Help You Increase Your Height
As we mentioned earlier, there are a few factors that influence your height, alongside your genetic makeup. A healthy lifestyle is important not just for ensuring you stay on top of your A-game, but also for growth and development.
Exercise is vital for good health, and playing basketball is a fantastic workout. Just an hour of basketball can burn 650 to 700 calories, as well as build up your endurance, strength, balance, and coordination. Additionally, the more you practice, the better your performance will be.
Being more active can promote the release of HGH and increase the mineral density of your bones, particularly during your adolescent years. Exercise combined with a diet full of calcium also reduces your risk of osteoporosis, a disease that drastically weakens your bones.
A healthy diet plays an important role in growth. Research shows that both vitamin D and calcium both vastly contribute to bone health.
Fruits and vegetables are also key, but even more so in children and adolescents to ensure proper development. Last but not least, protein is crucial for bone health, and it’s been shown that it can improve the bone density of your spine.
In fact, not enough protein in your diet may be one of the biggest factors of stunted growth. Some great sources of protein include poultry, dairy, eggs, soy, and dairy.
Try to avoid excessive amounts of unhealthy foods, as well as alcohol, smoking, caffeine, and soda.
A high carbohydrate diet is recommended for basketball players, with at least 55% of total daily calories coming from carbohydrate-heavy foods such as fruits, vegetables, pasta, rice, and bread.
Allowing your body ample time to rest is crucial for your wellbeing, and can encourage your body to grow and release HGH.
Children aged 6 to 12 years should get between 9 and 12 hours of sleep each night, and teenagers aged 14 to 18 years should get 8 to 10 hours of sleep each night.
Adults require between 6 to 9 hours of sleep, but the amount will vary for each individual. Some people can bet get by on very little sleep, while some need more rest than average to function.
Not only can bad posture make you look shorter, but it can affect your height over time. Regularly slumping or slouching can cause the curves in your back to shift, which can reduce your height in addition to causing back and neck pain.
Keep an eye on how you sleep, stand, and sit. When sitting, keep your feet flat or positioned on the floor or a footrest. You should avoid crossing your knees and ankles.
Keep your knees at the same height or a little lower than your hips. There should be a tiny space between the back of your knees and the chair.
If you’re worried about poor posture, speak to your doctor for advice. A memory foam pillow, a standing desk, or even practising yoga can help correct your posture.
Supplements can be used to help increase height in children or prevent shrinking in adults, but these cases are few and far between.
An example would be if you have a health condition that impacts your ability to produce HGH. Your doctor may prescribe you a supplement that contains synthetic HGH to prevent stunting.
If you’ve already gone through puberty, steer clear of any supplements that state they can increase your height. There’s nothing you can do to make yourself taller once your growth plates have fused together, even if a growth supplement states otherwise.
When Do You Stop Growing?
Men normally stop growing once they hit 18 years of age, though some individuals will continue to grow well into their early 20s. Between the age of 12 and 15 is usually the biggest growth spurt for boys.
Girls, on the other hand, typically stop growing between the ages of 14 and 15.
The growth plates, which are layers of cartilage located on either end of long bones in children and teenagers, fuse together shortly after puberty. Once this happens, the bone cannot grow any more and you will not be able to increase your height.
Is It Possible to Increase Your Height As an Adult?
Most adults stop growing in height once they reach between 18 to 20, but some individuals continue to grow well into adulthood.
Although uncommon, growth plates in some individuals can stay open after the age of 20. If this occurs, then body height will continue to increase until the growth plates close.
Alternatively, a condition called gigantism can increase height during adulthood. Gigantism causes too much growth, normally due to excessive amounts of GH (growth hormone). However, most people stop getting taller once their growth plates close at around 22 years of age.
A type of hemochromatosis (a disorder that causes the intestines to absorb too much iron) can sometimes increase height, at least until the growth plates eventually close.
Other than a few rare exceptions, it’s impossible to increase your height as an adult once your growth plates have fused together.
How Tall Do You Have to Be to Play Basketball?
The average NBA player is around 6 ft 7, but this varies for each season. While taller players do have an advantage over shorter players, there is no height restriction in basketball.
Muggsy Bogues is the shortest basketball player to ever play in the NBA at only 5 ft 3, but that didn’t hold him back. Over 14 seasons, he averaged 7.7 points and 7.6 assists! It just goes to show that you don’t need to be tall to be a pro at basketball.
Is Height Important in Basketball?
Most basketball players are at least 9 inches taller than the average American man (5 ft 8 inches) as increased height has its advantages in this sport. The main reason being is that it makes it easier to reach towards the goal and defend the ball from opponents.
Professional basketball goals are 10 feet tall, so the closer you are to it, the higher your accuracy will be when shooting. You also don’t have to use as much force to thrust the ball into the basket.
When playing defensive positions in basketball, taller players can guard and block shots much more easily than shorter players. Longer arms mean you don’t have to reach as far to shoot or defend the ball.
Are There Any Disadvantages of Being Tall In Basketball?
Although tall basketball players can shoot and defend more accurately, they may be less agile and quick as a result. Shorter players are lightweight, allowing them to move faster across the court.
Additionally, tall players may have less balance and coordination on account of having taller legs. It’s no good having all that height if you can’t keep up with the rest of your opponents!
Who Are the Tallest Basketball Players?
Now that we’ve established how you can promote good growth and development, you might be wondering who are the tallest basketball players in the world.
Below are some of the tallest players to ever play in the National Basketball Association (NBA). These guys definitely ate their fruits and veggies growing up!
- Gheorghe Mureșan (7 ft 7 in)
- Manute Bol (7 ft 6 in)
- Slavko Vraneš (7 ft 6 in)
- Shawn Bradley (7 ft 6 in)
- Yao Ming (7 ft 6 in)
- Chuck Nevitt (7 ft 5 in)
- Pavel Podkolzin (7 ft 5 in)
- Sim Bhullar (7 ft 5 in)
- Tacko Fall (7 ft 5 in)
- Mark Eaton (7 ft 4 in)
Who Are the Shortest Basketball Players?
There are certainly some giants in the basketball world, but having some extra height doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t take your skills to pro level. Here are some of the shortest basketball players in NBA history.
- Muggsy Bogues (5 ft 3 in)
- Earl Boykins (5 ft 5 in)
- Mel Hirsch (5 ft 6 in)
- Spud Webb (5 ft 6 in)
- Greg Grant (5 ft 7 in)
- Keith Jennings (5 ft 7 in)
- Red Klotz (5 ft 7 in)
- Wataru Misaka (5 ft 7 in)
- Monte Towe (5 ft 7 in)
- Dino Martin (5 ft 8 in)
Even though playing basketball alone can’t make you taller, there are various ways to help promote healthy growth and development. Unfortunately, after a certain age, there’s not much you can do to increase your height.
But, that’s not to say being tall is the only factor that makes a great basketball player. There are plenty of professional basketball players who are well below the average height of a man.
As long as you put the practice and effort into honing your skills, there’s no telling what you can achieve!
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