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The Top 10 Tallest Players In NBA History

Tallest Players In NBA History

The first prominent big man in NBA history was George Mikan of the Minneapolis Lakers, standing 6’ 10” tall. But who was the first 7-footer to play in the NBA? Ralph Siewart, standing at 7’ 1”, played a single season in the NBA in 1946-47 and averaged a mere one point per game.

Now the 7-footer is commonplace, and teams must have a 7-footer in the middle who can disrupt plays on the defensive end. Here’s a look at the ten tallest players in NBA history, and note that many others are tied for the tallest at the bottom of the list that isn’t included.

10. Boban Marjanovic

Marjanovic was born in Boljevac, Serbia, and has been a fan favorite at each of his five NBA stops. At 7’ 4”, he is one of many at that height to set foot on an NBA court. He started playing professionally in 2006 and made his NBA debut with the San Antonio Spurs in the 2015-16 season. 

In addition to playing in San Antonio, Marjanovic has seen time with the Detroit Pistons, Los Angeles Clippers, Philadelphia 76ers, and Dallas Mavericks. In 286 career NBA games through 2021-22, Marjanovic is averaging 5.9 points and 3.5 rebounds per game.

9. Pavel Podkolzin

Podkolzin is a former Russian professional basketball player that played at 7’ 5” and 300 pounds. He played in the Russian second division from 2001-02, signed with Metis Varese in Italy in December 2001, and played there from 2002 to 2004. Podkolzin was drafted by the Utah Jazz in 2004 and was traded to the Dallas Mavericks.

He averaged six rebounds in 14 minutes in his first two Las Vegas Summer League games but was waived on August 5, 2006. From 2006-07, he played for Khimi BC of the Russian Super League and continued to play professionally through the 2019 season.

8. Sim Bhullar

At 7’ 5” and 380 pounds, Bhullar has mammoth size. He grew up in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and played college basketball at New Mexico State University. After going undrafted by the NBA in 2014, Bhullar joined the Sacramento Kings for the 2014 NBA Summer League. He became the first player of Indian descent to sign with an NBA.

However, he was waived after appearing in only two preseason games. Bhullar then signed a 10-day contract with the Kings in April 2015 and appeared in three games, scoring a single basket in three minutes. Bhullar went on to play professionally in Taiwan and China and is still active as of the 2021-2022 season.

7. Chuck Nevitt

Nevitt played collegiate basketball and North Carolina State and was drafted by the Houston Rockets in the 3rd round in 1982. At 7’ 5”, he was one of the tallest players in NBA history but never played more than 43 games in a season. After only six games in 1982-83, Nevitt was waived by the Rockets.

He signed with the Los Angeles Lakers and played parts of two seasons, backing up Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Nevitt also saw time with the Detroit Pistons, Chicago Bulls, San Antonio Spurs, and seasons in the USBL and CBL, retiring in 1994, averaging 1.6 points in 155 NBA games.

6. Tacko Fall

Born and raised in Dakar, Senegal, Fall moved to the United States at 16 and played college basketball at the University of Central Florida. After going undrafted in 2019, Fall signed with the Boston Celtics and played 26 games over two seasons.

Fall signed with the Cleveland Cavaliers as a free agent in 2021 and appeared in 11 games last season, averaging 1.1 points and 2.1 rebounds in 5.4 minutes per game. At 7’ 6” and 311 pounds, Fall stands out on the court by physical presence alone.

5. Yao Ming

Ming stood at 7’ 6” and was the tallest active player in the NBA during his final season. He played for the Shanghai Sharks of the Chinese Basketball Association and was first drafted by the Houston Rockets in 2002. Ming was selected an NBA All-Star for eight seasons in the league and named to the All-NBA Team five times.

He averaged at least 20 points per game three times and 25 points per game for the 2006-07 season. Ming played in the NBA Playoffs four times, and their playoff series win in 2009 was their first since 1997. After battling foot and ankle injuries, Ming retired in 2011 with NBA averages of 19 points and 9.2 rebounds per game.

4. Shawn Bradley

Bradley was born in Landstuhl, West Germany, as his family was stationed at the U.S. military base. He grew up in Castle Dale, Utah, to 7’ 6”. Bradley played one basketball season at BYU, setting a freshman record for block shots. After a two-year Mormon mission, Bradley was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers second overall in 1993. He played 2 ½ season in Philadelphia before being traded to the New Jersey Nets.

His best overall season was in 1996-97 with the Nets and Dallas Mavericks, averaging 13.2 points, 8.4 rebounds, and a league-leading 3.4 blocks per game. Bradley played through the 2004-05 season with the Mavericks, retiring with averages of 8.1 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 2.5 blocked shots per game.

3. Slavko Vranes

Vranes stands at 7’ 6” and started playing basketball in the Serbian club FMP Zeleznik. He moved to the Turkish club Efes Pilsen for the 2000-01 season before returning to his native Montenegro in January 2001. He was selected by the New York Knicks in the second round in 2003 but was waived in December.

Vranes signed a 10-day contract with the Portland Trail Blazers in 2003-04 and played in a single NBA game, scoring no points in three minutes. Vranves continued to play professionally in Europe for several years, last appearing in a game in 2017 with the Metalac Valjevo.

2. Manute Bol

Bol stood at 7’ 7” and weighed over 200 pounds. He played college basketball at Bridgeport and was selected in the 2nd round by the Washington Bullets in the 1985 NBA Draft. In 624 NBA games, Bol averaged 2.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 3.3 blocked shots in 18.7 minutes per game. He led the league in blocked shots with five per game as a rookie and a career-high 26.1 minutes per game.

After three years with Washington, Bol played for the Golden State Warriors, leading the league in blocked shots in 1989-90. Bol played for the Philadelphia 76ers from 1990 through 1993 and part 1993-94. He finished his NBA career in Washington and Golden State before one season in Italy.

1. Gheorghe Muresan

Muresan stood 7’ 7” and weighed over 300 pounds. The Washington Bullets drafted him in the second round of the 1993 NBA Draft. Muresan played for the Bullets through the 1997-98 season and played two more NBA seasons with the New Jersey Nets.

He was part of a Romanian League championship team before playing in the NBA and French League champion in 2001. Muresan’s best NBA season was in 1995-96, when he averaged 14.5 points and led the league in field goal percentage. He averaged 9.8 points and 6.4 rebounds in 307 NBA games.

Final Thoughts

A 7-footer in the NBA was a rarity back in the early days of basketball. There have been more over the years, although very few of the tallest players in the history of the NBA have had a lasting impact.

Still, there is the search for that mammoth man to clog the middle and make life miserable for the opposition. As time passes, don’t be surprised to see new names atop this list as the tallest players in the history of the NBA.

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