The tallest players in NBA history
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NBA Tall Guys

The tallest players in NBA history

While the average NBA fan loves to see high-flying dunks, crossovers galore and a whole lot of 3-pointers, we can also all agree that fans love watching tall guys.

Just ask Boston Celtics center Tacko Fall, who would otherwise be an afterthought if it weren’t for the fact that he were 7-foot-5.

But many of the tallest players in NBA history were far from just novelty acts; they were legitimately good.

Here is a list of the tallest players to ever step on an NBA floor.

Manute Bol

Manute Bol is easily one of the most recognizable figures on this list.

Standing 7-foot-7 and apparently weighing around 200 pounds (how is that even possible?), Bol had a 10-year NBA playing career from 1985 through 1995, spending time with the Washington Bullets, Golden State Warriors, Philadelphia 76ers and Miami Heat.

While Bol’s overall skill left much to be desired, he was, not surprisingly, a master shot blocker. He led the league in blocks twice, averaging five blocks per game during his rookie year and 4.3 swats a night in his fourth season.

Over the course of his tenure, Bol logged an impressive 3.3 blocks per game (and an insane 6.4 blocks per 36 minutes), but didn’t do a whole lot else.

Of course, Bol’s son, the 7-foot-2 Bol Bol, is a member of the Denver Nuggets.

Gheorghe Muresan

What was with the Bullets and ridiculously tall players?

Shortly after Bol’s time in Washington, the Bullets picked up Gheorghe Muresan, who, like Bol, stood 7-foot-7. Unlike Bol, however, Muresan was legitimately pretty good.

By his third NBA season, the Romanian native averaged 14.5 points, 9.6 boards and 2.3 blocks per game while shooting 58.4 percent from the floor. He actually led the NBA in field goal percentage two years in a row, making 60.4 percent of his shots the following season.

However, due to injuries, Muresan’s career did not last long. He spent four seasons with the Bullets between 1993 and 1997, missing all of the 1997-98 campaign. Muresan then landed with the New Jersey Nets for two years, where he appeared in a grand total of 31 games before retiring.

Slavko Vranes

That brings us to the third 7-foot-7 player in NBA history: Slavko Vranes.

The thing is, he only played one game with the Portland Trail Blazers during the 2003-04 campaign and was never seen in the league again.

Shawn Bradley

While Bol and Muresan may have been an inch taller, the 7-foot-6 Shawn Bradley was certainly more famous, and not necessarily for the most flattering reasons.

You would be hard-pressed to find an NBA player who was posterized more than Bradley, so much so that there are YouTube highlight reels dedicated to guys throwing down on Bradley.

Bradley had an extended playing career, lasting from 1994 through 2005 and spending time with the 76ers, Nets and Dallas Mavericks. He actually found somewhat of a home in Dallas, residing there for the last eight and a half seasons of his playing tenure.

The Germany native averaged double figures in scoring just four times in his career and paced the league in blocks once when he tallied 3.4 blocks per game during the 1996-97 campaign.

Of course, Bradley also had a role in “Space Jam,” so he has that going for him.

Yao Ming

Now, a tall guy who was actually an All-Star.

Like many other excessively tall players, Yao Ming’s career — all of which came with the Houston Rockets — did not last long due to injuries, as he spent just nine years in the NBA before being forced to retire (he also missed a whole season in 2009-10).

Yao (7-foot-6) made eight All-Star teams and actually had a smooth offensive game, possessing a reliable jumper and a very smooth stroke from the free-throw line (he was a lifetime 83.3 percent free-throw shooter).

The China native, who became a global ambassador for the NBA, was able to play in 80 games each of his first three seasons before giving ways to injuries.

Over the last six years of his career, Yao played in 57, 48, 55, 77, zero and five games, respectively.

He owns career averages of 19.0 points, 9.2 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game.

Chuck Nevitt

He isn’t a household name, but the 7-foot-5 Chuck Nevitt bounced around the NBA for a considerable amount of time between 1982 and 1994, spending time with the Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers, Detroit Pistons, Chicago Bulls and San Antonio Spurs.

Nevitt didn’t exactly play much during his career, accumulating 155 games in total and averaging 5.3 minutes per game, but he was actually a member of the Lakers team that won a championship in 1985.

Pavel Podkolzin

Pavel Podkolzin may have been tall, but his NBA career was short.

The 7-foot-5 center played in six games for the Mavericks between 2004 and 2006.

Sim Bhullar

Another tall player who wasn’t a household name.

Sim Bhullar stands 7-foot-5 and appeared in three contests for the Sacramento Kings in 2005, but that was where his NBA career started and ended.

Tacko Fall

Ah, the NBA’s current favorite giant.

The Celtics signed Fall as an undrafted free agent this past summer, and he wound up earning a two-way contract with the club.

The thing with Fall is that he clearly has some talent, as he has a soft touch and moves incredibly well for a man who stands 7-foot-5.

Of course, in a modern NBA where being able to defend in space is paramount, it’s hard to see the 7-foot-5 Fall having an incredibly long and/or successful career.

On another note, here is some food for thought: Fall’s parents are actually very average in terms of height. His father stands 6-feet tall and his mother is 5-foot-9.

Mark Eaton

Mark Eaton spent his entire 11-year playing career with the Utah Jazz between 1982 and 1993 and became one of the best rim protectors in NBA history.

Standing 7-foot-4, Eaton led the league in blocks four different times and once averaged 5.6 swats per game in a single season.

Also, unlike many other incredibly tall players, Eaton was very durable, logging five full 82-game campaigns and playing in at least 80 games nine times. In one of the two seasons he didn’t play 80? He appeared in 79 contests.

Rik Smits

Here is another monstrous big who was very skilled.

Rik Smits, who stands 7-foot-4 and resided with the Indiana Pacers for all 12 of his NBA seasons between 1988 and 2000, averaged double figures in scoring every single year and lays claim to lifetime averages of 14.8 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game while shooting 50.7 percent from the floor.

Foot issues abbreviated Smits’ career, but during his prime, he was actually a force with a dependable jumper and some slick post moves.

As a matter of fact, Shaquille O’Neal has said that Smits was one of his most difficult matchups.

Ralph Sampson

Along with Hakeem Olajuwon in Houston, Ralph Sampson formed the original twin towers and helped the Rockets make an NBA Finals appearance in 1986.

The 7-foot-4 Sampson was outstanding in the early stages of his career, making the All-Star team each of his first four years in the NBA and averaging over 20 points and 10 boards per game twice.

However, after Houston made its Finals appearance with Sampson and Olajuwon in 1986, Sampson began to fall victim to injuries, which severely derailed his career.

From 1987 through 1992, Sampson bounced around between the Warriors, Kings and Bullets before retiring.

Sampson boasts career averages of 15.4 points, 8.8 boards and 1.6 blocks a night.

Boban Marjanovic

Before there was Tacko, there was Boban.

The 7-foot-4 Marjanovic began his NBA journey with the Spurs back in 2015 and spent just one season there. Since then, the Serbia native has ricocheted between the Pistons, Los Angeles Clippers, Sixers and, currently, the Mavs.

Offensively, Marjanovic is pretty skilled. He shoots from mid-range, gobbles up offensive boards and has very solid awareness.

However, he doesn’t spread the floor, and his defensive deficiencies are just too much to overcome. He isn’t even much of a rim protector, as he has averaged just 0.4 blocks per game for his career.

Still, Boban is an absolute treasure and a source of great entertainment thanks to his social media antics. He also just played an assassin in a “John Wick” movie.

Another note: like Fall, Boban’s parents are not vertically gifted. His father is 5-foot-9 and his mother is 5-foot-6.

Priest Lauderdale

That brings us to the final 7-foot-4 behemoth to grace the NBA: Priest Lauderdale.

Lauderdale spent just two seasons in the NBA, playing for the Atlanta Hawks and Nuggets. In 74 games, he tallied 3.4 points and 1.9 rebounds per game.