What Is The Average Height In The NBA?

Basketball players are some of the tallest people worldwide. They are so tall that it is sometimes unbelievable how fast they can move despite their height.

When it comes to the National Basketball Association (NBA), it is normal to think that each position in a team is covered from shortest to tallest.

However, as the sport of basketball evolves, we gradually start to see that stereotypes are being broken. Why is that?

Let’s discuss the average height in the NBA and how the league has evolved through each season.

Average Height Of NBA Players By Position

To anyone reading this article with no idea how basketball works, the sport is a 5v5 game wherein teams are categorized through five positions.

Those five positions are point guards, shooting guards, small forwards, power forwards, and centers.

Normally, in the order they were aforementioned, people would identify each position from shortest to tallest.

But now, there is so much more to the positions than just their average height. The best NBA players couldn’t care less about the height of their opponent, as long as they drive to win.

With that out of the way, let’s get into the details of the average height of each position.

Average NBA Point Guard Height

NBA point guards are often regarded as the shortest players on the basketball court. The point guard position usually belongs to the fastest and smartest player on the team.

In the 1952 NBA season, the average point guard height was 6’0”. The point guards were recognized as the basketball league’s shortest players during that time.

However, as the years go by, there has been a rise in the average height of point guards, so much so that the average NBA point guard height increased to 6’3”.

The tallest point guard in the NBA is tied between two players – Magic Johnson and Ben Simmons; both are 6’9” tall, making them the tallest point guards in NBA history.

Point guards are the players with the most court awareness and the highest basketball IQ. Point guards like Chris Paul and Rajon Rondo are perfect examples of this.

Average NBA Shooting Guard Height

Shooting guards are a bit taller than the average point guard, and the position is arguably the most popular NBA position because of two players – Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant.

The average shooting guard height in the NBA ranges from 6’3” to 6’6”. In previous seasons, the shooting guards would only have an average player height of around 6’1”.

The shooting guard position is the player who takes the most three-pointers and mid-range jump shots in the game.

Those attributes make some believe that the era of basketball is moving towards positionless basketball, leading some to believe that the era of the two-pointer is dead.

The shooting guard position makes up the general population of NBA players, making it the most popular position in the league amongst all the positions.

Average NBA Small Forward Height

Small forwards have the ideal average height of NBA players in the league compared to the other positions in the league.

In the 1950s-1960s season of the NBA, the small forward’s average height was around 6’4”. Nowadays, the small forward average height has increased to the 6’6” to 6’10” range.

NBA players in the small forward position are fearsome in the sport because of their versatile playing style and their ability to guard multiple positions.

Due to their versatility, small forwards often display a perimeter-oriented game where they can take advantage of their speed and offensive prowess to score anywhere on the court.

Some notable small forwards include the following: LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant, Larry Bird, and Scottie Pippen.

Average NBA Power Forward Height

The average height gap between the small forwards and power forwards is the smallest compared to the gaps between the other positions.

Essentially, you can place the small forwards in the power forward position, and the NBA height difference would not be noticeable. Hence, the versatility of small forwards.

Power forwards make up the NBA’s taller players despite the not-so-noticeable difference in height compared to small forwards.

The power forward average height ranges from 6’8” to 6’11”, which hasn’t changed much throughout the history of the NBA. Before, power forwards were known to do post-up plays under the basket.

But as of late in the current NBA season, power forwards attempt more three-pointers than ever. The three-point attempts have been so much more that it has seen a 327% increase.

Power forwards are known to be great mid-range shooters and have the strength to match up against the tallest and biggest players of the opposing team.

The NBA player most known for this position is probably Tim Duncan. Other notable players include Karl Malone, Kevin Garnett, and Dirk Nowitzki.

Average NBA Center Height

NBA centers have the highest average height in the entire NBA league. Even if we look at the history of the NBA, the center position has always held the highest average height in the league.

The NBA always placed the tallest player in the center position from its inception. The position’s main role is to grab rebounds, play defense, and do post-up plays to try to score under the basket.

Although the recent NBA seasons have focused more on shooting three-pointers, there has been an increasing focus on recruiting quality big men due to the limited number of tall players with outstanding basketball skills.

Over the last decade, the big men have evolved from being the guy in charge of the paint into the most integral player on the team.

The average NBA center height may be the tallest in all positions, but it is for a reason.

The centers that have been MVP caliber players, especially during the current season, are Nikola Jokić and Joel Embiid.

Evolution Of The Average Height Of NBA Players

NBA players have been increasing in average heights as the league continues to evolve.

As the game of basketball improves, the average height continues to increase steadily. Have you ever wondered why that is? Let’s find out what contributes to his phenomenon.

First and foremost, this steady increase is likely due to the different eras we live in. In today’s modern world, supplements and healthy food are accessible to a much wider population.

Another reason for this is the ease of access to trainers and gyms. With state-of-the-art technology and innovation, advancement in training has made its way to basketball. This has impacted the NBA in a positive way.

Over the years, the average NBA height has increased over time because of our society’s evolution.

The Evolution Of Basketball Footwear

In the early seasons, the “big guys” dominated the game. Because of their dominance, they were the first ones to earn a signature basketball shoe.

The first signature shoe for the sport is the legendary Chuck Taylor’s. The shoe was very popular in the big men’s era of the sport. These shoes are now worn more for fashion than sport.

However, as the sport steadily evolved, especially with the coming of arguably the greatest player of all time in Michael Jordan, the footwear industry would change forever.

The Air Jordans are among the most popular and most prestigious footwear for any sport, thanks to Nike signing Jordan to be the frontman of their brand.

Again, the sport continues to evolve further, and we are in an era wherein small guys, like Steph Curry and Kyrie Irving, dominate games. Even they have their own signature shoes.

The signature shoes of every era are an important factor in identifying how the sport has been played. From this sequence alone, we can tell how much games have changed.

The big men era used to be big and tall guys dominating every match-up, and currently, we see small guys run around shooting three-pointers with what seems like little effort to them.

To put it simply, the footwear of NBA players is a huge indication that games are different from what they used to be, and it will never stay still.

What Is The Average Weight In The NBA?

While this article focuses on the average NBA height, the average weight in the sport should not be overlooked.

The average weight in the NBA peaked at 221 pounds in the 2011-2012 season. However, as the sport progressed, players would often focus more to lighten themselves to move faster.

The faster-paced games made the sport go from muscular-focused to perimeter-focused games hence why the three-point shot is so popular nowadays.

With height comes weight, and if you do not have the ideal weight with your height, it could result in career-ending injuries that several players have experienced.

For example, Zion Williamson is most known to be the person that is “too fat” for his height, and when he got injured, the public eye further emphasized that point.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do you still have some questions regarding the topic? Are you not satisfied enough with the information shared with you in this article? No worries!

Here are the most frequently asked questions about the topic. We hope it will answer your concerns.

What is the Most Common and Average Height in the NBA?

When looking for the most common and average NBA player height, it’s as if we are looking at the same thing.

It will be no surprise that the most common NBA players’ height is roughly around 6’7” or 2.01m.

The most common NBA height happens to be in the Small Forward position.

You may ask yourself, “Why is the most common height in the basketball league so tall?”

Like other sports, height plays a major role when it comes to the potential and skill of a player. It is usually: the taller, the better.

How Do NBA Players Record Their Height?

In the current 2021-2022 NBA season, the average NBA player height is roughly around 6’6” tall (or 198.6cm). For comparison, the average height of an American male is 5’9” 1/2”.

In NBA history, players would record their height with their shoes on.

From the 2019-2020 season onwards, NBA teams were obliged to record their actual height numbers by their team doctors with no shoes on.

This was to fix the issue of recording height with politics involved. For example, Kevin Durant would joke that he’s 7’0” when with women, but actually, he is 6’9” when playing basketball.

Who Were the Shortest and Tallest Players to Ever Play in the NBA?

There have been several tallest and shortest players to play in any season of the NBA, but have you ever wondered who those players were to play in the league’s entire history?

The shortest player to ever play basketball is Muggsy Bogues, while the tallest NBA player is tied between Gheorghe Mureșan and Manute Bol.

Muggsey Bogues has an NBA height of 5’3”, while both Gheorghe Mureșan and Manute Bol have an NBA recorded height of 7’7”.

Mureșan and Bol may have contributed to the NBA center average height, hence why the position of the Center has the highest average height in the league.

Essentially, it is like seeing the David and Goliath of the sport, but in terms of height.

Conclusion

And there you have it, the average NBA height by position.

I believe it is crucial for people in this sport to fully understand how significant height is in relation to the game and the players.

NBA teams and their best players usually have a good distribution of height and weight. It is the good mix of players from different positions and height that make a quality NBA team.

Thank you for reading, and we hope you learned a thing or two about the game of basketball and how important and overlooked height is. Keep watching and enjoying the NBA.

Feature Image credit: Fran García from Elche, Spain, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons