The Tallest Players in NBA History
Manute Bol (7-7)
Tied for tallest player in NBA history, Bol led the NBA in blocked shots twice and was named to the NBA All-Defensive Second Team in 1986. Bol played for the Bullets, Warriors, 76ers and Heat during his NBA career.
Gheorghe Muresan (7-7)
Muresan, like Bol, was a productive center as well as being one of the tallest to ever play the game. He was named the NBA’s Most Improved Player in 1996 and played a majority of his career with the Bullets.
Shawn Bradley (7-6)
The No. 2 overall pick in the 1993 draft, Bradley elected to wear No. 76 with the Sixers to pay homage to his height. He also led the league in blocks in 1997.
Yao Ming (7-6)
Arguably the most dominant player on this list, Yao was the No. 1 pick in the 2002 draft and went on to have a accoloade-filled career with the Rockets. He was an eight-time All-Star and made the All-NBA Second Team twice and Third Team three times. He retired early in 2011 due to foot and ankle injuries, but Yao is credited with helping popularize the NBA in China.
Chuck Nevitt (7-5)
Nevitt is the tallest NBA champion in history, winning his title as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers in 1985. He also played for the Rockets, Pistons, Bulls and one game with the Spurs.
Pavel Podkolzin (7-5)
Drafted 21st overall in 2004 by Utah and immediately traded to Dallas, Podkolzin was waived by the Mavericks after appearing briefly in just six games spanning two seasons.
Slavko Vranes (7-5)
A second-round pick by New York in 2003, Vranes was waived by the Knicks and appeared in just one NBA game after signing a 10-day contract with Portland in 2004. Vranes played three minutes and missed his only shot attempt.
Mark Eaton (7-4)
A two-time Defensive Player of the Year, Eaton wreaked havoc around the rim for the Jazz from 1982-1993. He led the league in blocks four times and had his No. 53 retired by the franchise.
Rik Smits (7-4)
“The Dunking Dutchman” played sidekick to Reggie Miller throughout the ‘90s and made an All-Star team in 1998. With a soft shooting touch, Smits anchored the Pacers’ lineup and played for the franchise from 1988-2000.
Ralph Sampson (7-4)
After a dominant college career at Virginia, Sampson was drafted No. 1 overall by the Rockets in 1983 and the 7’4” center didn’t disappoint. Sampson was named Rookie of the Year that season and made All-Star teams the next four years after that. Injuries later derailed his career, but Sampson is still remembered as one of the most talented big men to ever play the game.
Priest Lauderdale (7-4)
The 28th overall pick by Atlanta, Lauderdale (seen here with Avery Johnson) split two seasons with the Hawks and Nuggets, averaging just seven minutes a game. He would later play abroad.
Randy Breuer (7-3)
An 11-year NBA veteran, Breuer played his first seven seasons for the Bucks before making stops in Minnesota, Atlanta and Sacramento.
Keith Closs (7-3)
After leading the nation in blocks during his only two years at Central Connecticut State, Closs went undrafted and later signed with the Clippers in 1996. He averaged 3.9 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.3 blocks during his NBA career.
Zydrunas Ilgauskas (7-3)
One of the greatest players in Cavaliers history, Ilgauskas was a two-time All-Star and eventually had his No. 11 retired by the team. He now works in the team’s front office as a special advisor.
Arvydas Sabonis (7-3)
Many of Sabonis’ best years occurred in Europe, but the Lithuanian center did play seven productive years with the Blazers. With a deft touch and array of skills, Sabonis was one of the most versatile big men in history, paving the way for other centers who like to handle the ball to play in the NBA.
Hasheem Thabeet (7-3)
Thabeet did not play basketball until the age of 15, but he was a dominant force at UConn, leading him to be selected No. 2 overall in the 2009 draft. Thabeet’s career hasn’t quite panned out as planned since then, bouncing from the Grizzlies to the Rockets, Trail Blazers and Thunder. He was last playing for Oklahoma’s D-League affiliate in Grand Rapids.