Does it bother you that the NBA is all about height? (2022-2023)

Are you bothered by the fact that the NBA seems to prioritize height above all else? In this comprehensive article, we delve into the reasons behind this phenomenon, explore its impact on the game, and discuss various perspectives on the matter. Get insights, expert opinions, and answers to FAQs to gain a deeper understanding of the NBA’s focus on height.

The NBA (National Basketball Association) is a professional basketball league that has captured the hearts of sports enthusiasts worldwide. As fans cheer for their favorite teams and players, some may find themselves pondering, “Does it bother you that the NBA is all about height?” This question touches upon an intriguing aspect of the sport – the significance of height in basketball.

Basketball has evolved over the years, becoming faster, more athletic, and highly competitive. Height has become a crucial factor in player evaluation, team strategy, and overall success. In this article, we explore the reasons behind the NBA’s emphasis on height and its impact on the game. We also delve into the potential pros and cons of such a focus. So, let’s dive right in!

NBA is all about height

The Significance of Height in the NBA

Height plays a pivotal role in basketball, especially in the NBA, for several reasons:

1. Dominance in the Paint

Taller players often have an advantage in the “paint” area, near the basket. Their height allows them to shoot over defenders, grab rebounds, and block shots effectively. This dominance in the paint can be a game-changer, influencing the outcomes of critical moments in a match.

2. Rim Protection

A player’s height directly affects their ability to defend the rim. Shot-blocking is a coveted skill in basketball, and taller players with longer wingspans can significantly alter opponents’ shots, making it difficult for them to score close to the basket.

3. Rebounding Ability

Height is directly proportional to a player’s rebounding prowess. Taller athletes have a better reach and can secure offensive and defensive rebounds, granting their team more scoring opportunities and preventing second-chance points for the opposition.

4. Interior Offense

In terms of scoring, height provides an advantage on interior offense. Players with height can utilize hook shots, layups, and dunks more effectively, increasing their scoring efficiency.

5. Matchup Disparities

Height differences can create mismatches on the court. For example, a taller player may have an easier time shooting over a shorter defender, making it challenging for the latter to contest shots effectively.

Perspectives on Height in the NBA

1. Justified Competitive Edge

Some argue that height-based evaluations are justified because basketball is a sport that rewards physical attributes. They believe that height is just one of the many factors that contribute to a player’s success, alongside skills, athleticism, and basketball IQ.

2. Limiting Diversity

Critics of the height-focused approach argue that it limits the diversity of playing styles in the NBA. Players who are not exceptionally tall may not receive the same opportunities, leading to a narrower pool of talent and potential missed talent gems.

3. Adapting to Modern Basketball

As the NBA evolves, so do the strategies and tactics employed by teams. Some experts argue that height is becoming less critical as the league embraces small-ball lineups and emphasizes speed, shooting, and versatility over a traditional size.

4. Development and Training

Height is often a genetic attribute, and not all players have control over it. Critics highlight the importance of focusing on skills development and training to level the playing field and provide opportunities for players of all heights to thrive.

Pros and Cons of Height-Focused NBA


  1. Height can provide a competitive advantage in specific aspects of the game.
  2. It adds an element of spectacle and excitement, particularly in high-flying dunks and towering blocks.
  3. Taller players can have a long-lasting impact on the league, becoming iconic figures.


  1. It may discourage talented but shorter players from pursuing a career in the NBA.
  2. Overemphasis on height can overshadow other valuable skills and attributes.
  3. Teams might overlook players who possess exceptional skills but do not meet height expectations.

The Impact of Height on Player Selection

Height significantly influences player selection during NBA drafts and recruitment processes. Teams often prioritize taller players due to their potential to contribute to specific aspects of the game, such as rebounding, shot-blocking, and interior scoring. However, focusing solely on height can result in missed opportunities to discover players with exceptional skills and basketball acumen. Therefore, scouts and talent evaluators need to consider a holistic approach that includes assessing a player’s skills, athleticism, basketball IQ, and character.

Analyzing Notable Players of Different Heights

Let’s take a closer look at some notable NBA players of various heights and their impact on the game:

1. Michael Jordan (6’6″)

Michael Jordan, often regarded as the greatest basketball player of all time, stood at 6 feet 6 inches. Despite not being the tallest player on the court, Jordan’s combination of skills, athleticism, and competitive spirit made him an unstoppable force. His scoring ability, defensive prowess, and leadership skills led the Chicago Bulls to six NBA championships.

2. Shaquille O’Neal (7’1″)

Shaquille O’Neal, a towering presence at 7 feet 1 inch, dominated the NBA during his prime. Known for his immense size and strength, Shaq was a force in the paint, overpowering opponents with his scoring and rebounding abilities. He won four NBA championships and is widely regarded as one of the most dominant centers in basketball history.

3. Allen Iverson (6’0″)

Allen Iverson, standing at just 6 feet tall, defied the odds and proved that height does not dictate success in the NBA. His lightning-fast speed, incredible ball-handling, and scoring ability made him a nightmare for defenders. Iverson’s impact on the game earned him numerous accolades, including an MVP award.

4. Yao Ming (7’6″)

Yao Ming, towering at 7 feet 6 inches, was a global icon and an ambassador for basketball in China. His exceptional height, combined with impressive skills, made him one of the most dominant centers during his career. Injuries limited his playing time, but his impact on the game extended beyond the court, leaving a lasting legacy.

Embracing the Evolution of the NBA

As basketball evolves, the NBA continues to witness a shift in playing styles and strategies. While height remains a significant factor, the league has seen the rise of skilled players of all statures. Point guards such as Stephen Curry and Chris Paul have redefined the game with their shooting, passing, and playmaking abilities, challenging the notion that height is the only path to success.


Are there any successful shorter players in the NBA?

Yes, several shorter players have achieved remarkable success in the NBA. For example, Allen Iverson, standing at 6’0″, was a prolific scorer and was eventually inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Is height the only criterion for success in the NBA?

No, while height can be an advantage, it is not the sole determinant of success. Skills, work ethic, and basketball IQ also play significant roles in a player’s career.

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How does the NBA support diversity in its players?

The NBA emphasizes diversity and inclusion through various initiatives and programs, encouraging players from diverse backgrounds and heights to participate.

Do shorter players face challenges in the NBA?

Shorter players may face certain challenges, such as difficulty guarding taller opponents or shooting over them. However, their agility and speed can provide distinct advantages.

How has the game evolved to accommodate shorter players?

The NBA’s shift towards a faster-paced, more skill-oriented style of play has opened up opportunities for shorter players to excel in different roles on the court.

Are there any height restrictions to join the NBA?

No, there are no official height restrictions for NBA players. Teams evaluate potential based on skills, athleticism, and overall fit within their rosters.


In conclusion, the NBA’s emphasis on height is deeply ingrained in the history and evolution of the sport. While height can undeniably confer certain advantages, it is not the sole determinant of success in basketball. As the league continues to evolve, it is essential to strike a balance between physical attributes and skill development to foster diversity and inclusivity within the sport.

The NBA will always be a showcase of extraordinary talent, regardless of height. Embracing players of all statures allows the league to continue thrilling fans with spectacular plays and memorable moments. So, the next time you watch an NBA game, appreciate the diversity of players and the various skills they bring to the court – for that is the true essence of basketball.

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