How Tall Are Basketball Players (On Average)?

In basketball, height is key.

Although there have been some notable exceptions, such as former Charlotte Hornets point guard Muggsy Bogues, who stood at just 5 ft 3 in, players typically have to be at least 6ft tall to stand a chance in a sport dominated by giants.

In this article, we will explain what the average height of an NBA player is, and how this varies depending on what position on the court they play. We will then look at how this has changed over the years, as well as analysing how the WNBA compares.

How Tall Are NBA Players on Average?

Tall Basketball Players

Well, in the 2021/22 season, the average height of an NBA player was 6ft 6in, equivalent to just under two metres tall.

To put this into context, the average height of an American man was 5ft 9 in, some eight inches shorter than the average NBA player. In the 2021/22 season, the tallest player in the league was Cleveland Cavaliers center Tacko Fall, with the Senegalese giant standing at a whopping 7 ft 6 in, making him one of the tallest living humans.

So, we’ve discovered that the average height across the NBA is 6 ft 6 in, but how does this vary based on position?

What is the Average Height of a Point Guard?

Over recent years, the average height of an NBA point guard has fluctuated between 6ft and 6ft 3 in, making it the “shortest” position on the court. As point guards generally serve as the team’s playmaker, and spend a lot of time in possession of the ball, height generally isn’t a necessity. Having said that, Magic Johnson, arguably the greatest point guard of all time, cut an imposing 6 ft 9 in figure on the court.

What is the Average Height of a Shooting Guard?

The shooting guard is another position that generally does not require enormous height, as it is instead more important for these players to be both clinical shooters and skilled dribblers, making agility an important trait. In the modern era, the average height of a shooting guard has typically been between 6ft 3in and 6 ft 5 in, making them normally some of the shortest players on the court. James Harden, one of the greatest of all time in this position, has a listed height of 6 ft 5 in.

What is the Average Height of a Small Forward?

Ironically, small forwards are actually very tall, with the average height of a player in this position for the 2021/22 season being 6 ft 7 in – so taller than the sport’s overall average. However, they are usually shorter than power forwards. Small forward is perhaps the most versatile position, as players in this role are relied upon to contribute both defensively and offensively, meaning that their style can vary significantly based on the player. LeBron James, arguably the GOAT in this position, is, for example, far more of a physically competitive player than Kevin Durant, who is instead renowned for his shooting ability.

What is the Average Height of a Power Forward?

Now, we are on to the really tall guys. The average height of an NBA power forward is typically between 6 ft 9 in and 6 ft 11 in, making them generally the second-tallest players on the court, behind the centers. Height is very useful in this position, as power forwards are tasked with rebounding and often possess accurate long-range shooting; they are typically able to score three-pointers with relative ease.

What is the Average Height of a Center?

Finally, we have the tallest players on the court, the centers. The players in this position typically average around 7 foot tall, and notable giant centers over the years have included Yao Ming, Manute Bol and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. The reason that height is so key in this position is that centers are tasked with both making rebounds and scoring from close range, and are therefore typically found near the basket. Physical strength is also hugely important for centers, who will also have to block the opposing team’s shots.

How Has the Average Height in the NBA Changed Over Time?

NBA in 1952

Back in 1952, when the NBA was a newly formed league, the average height of players was 6 ft 4 in, just 2 inches shorter than what it was in 2022, some 70 years later.

Given that the average American male at the time stood at 5 ft 7 in, the height difference between ordinary men and basketball players has stayed consistent.

One might have expected the average of the taller individuals within the NBA to have increased by more than the overall average.

That this is not the case may be down to the fact that there is a limit at the upper end for human height, whereas at the lower end, the overall average is more open to increasing due to better overall nutrition.

Interestingly, in 1987, the NBA was the tallest it has ever been. The average height for a player was 6 ft 7 in, showing that players’ height has actually slightly decreased in the modern era, as it has perhaps become slightly less of a crucial factor than it used to be.

What is the Average Height of a WNBA player?

WNBA LogoWhilst the average height of a Women’s NBA player is less than the average height of an NBA player, it is still significantly taller than that of the average American man.

In 2022, the average height in the WNBA was 6 ft, some 3 inches taller than the average man.

This, of course, varies depending on positions.

For example, the average WNBA center stands at a whopping 6 foot 5 in, whilst the average point guard is only 5 ft 9 in.

As of 2023, the tallest WNBA player is Han Xu, with the New York Liberty center standing at some 6 ft 10 in!