Does Nationality Affect Basketball Players Heights?

Sport is a gateway to combine racial and ethnic diversity. These activities can pull people together, and many people won’t mind if they’re American, Asian, Russian, or a person from any country. If you’re human and you’re capable of playing, you can play any sport you desire. But this assortment of cultures plays roles in providing advantages and disadvantages to certain players, especially when talking about player heights in basketball.

Nationality can affect a person’s height, especially for basketball players. It’s also one of the reasons why it’s not common to see Asians in the NBA. It’s not about being racist, but because of genetics. Adult Asians have an average height of 5 feet 7 inches, whereas Americans are about 5 feet 9 inches. Take those figures into account when looking at the average height of an NBA player, which is 6 feet 7 inches. Therefore, only a select number of Asians and other countries with short heights can enter the league.

Who are the tallest players in basketball history? Also, what are the nationalities present in the NBA? Continue reading and you’ll the answers to these questions. Plus, you’ll find out more relevant information about the main topic.

Nationality Affect Basketball Players Heights

A healthy person will have normal growth. But some elements help establish the foundation of a tall person. These factors are:


DNA Genetics

Scientists identified over 700 different genes that affect a person’s height. These genes include growth plates and other substances that affect growth hormone production. As such, DNA is one of the major factors affecting a person’s height.

Ethnic backgrounds help determine if a person is short or tall. Therefore, tall basketball players will most likely have tall parents and grandparents. For example, Margo Dydek, the tallest basketball player to enter the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) stands at 7 feet 12 inches. Her father has a height of 6 foot 7 inches while her mother is 6 feet 3 inches.

Another excellent example is Chinese NBA player Yao Ming. This player has a height of 7 feet 6 inches, making him one of the tallest members of the league of all time. His parents are Yao Zhiyuan, who stands at 6 feet 7 inches, and Fang Fengdi, which has a height of 6 feet 3 inches.

However, some tall people, including certain basketball players, are the result of genetic mutations. In other words, these individuals are taller than their parents, grandparents, and most of the people in their family trees. Although lauded for their towering statures, some of these tall folks have health issues because of their genetic alterations.



The body has several hormones that help activate certain bodily functions. These substances come from different organs, including the pituitary, pineal, thymus, and adrenal glands. Some hormones help instruct the body to pursue growth, which, in turn, can make people taller than others.

Some of the hormones that contribute to a person’s height are growth, thyroid, and sex hormones. Growth hormones come from the pituitary gland and are the most important hormones for growing people. Thyroid hormones also influence growth in people but are only secondary to what growth hormones can provide. Finally, the sex hormones testosterone and estrogen influence growth during the puberty stage.



Don’t confuse sex and gender. Sex is the term used for the biological differences between males and females. On the other hand, gender is a tougher topic as it refers to male and female roles in society.

With that in mind, the male sex is generally taller than the female sex. On average, most males stop growing at an older age than most females. As per a statistics report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the average height of an American male is 5 feet 7 inches while females with the same nationality are about 5 feet 3 inches.



People with unhealthy nutrition while they’re young have fewer chances of achieving tall heights than those following healthy diets. Folks that have nutritional deficiencies, such as protein, vitamin D, and vitamin A, will most likely be shorter than the average height of their nationality and ethnicity.

When Does a Person’s Height Stop Growing?

Person Height Stop Growing

Growth cycles are different between sexes. Most males stop growing at later ages than most females. With that in mind, most boys’ heights stop growing by age 16. On the other hand, many girls achieve their final growth spurts by age 15.

Who are the Tallest Basketball Players in History?

Tallest Basketball Players in History

There’s no shortage of tall basketball athletes. In most cases, basketball teams select players with tall statures. However, some individuals excel in this trait, such as the following people:

For a deep dive into the information about these tall NBA players, check out this article.

Who are the Shortest NBA Players in History?

Although having a tall height in the NBA will be advantageous, short basketball athletes exist in the NBA. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that these NBA players can’t play well because they have trouble dunking balls into hoops. Instead, these short basketball players use their reasonably small heights for other purposes. So here are some of the shortest NBA players of all time.

1. Muggsy Bogues

Muggsy Bogues

This list of short NBA athletes wouldn’t be complete without Tyrone Curtis ‘Muggsy’ Bogues.

Standing shorter than an average American, Bogues has a height of 5 feet 3 inches. Despite his lack of skill in jumping taller than many other league players, he uses his short stature to help his teammates. Because of his height, Bogues can zip around the court quickly.

Furthermore, tall players would need to slouch or extend their arms in a weird manner to steal the ball from Bogues. This extra action requires a few additional moments and effort before those tall basketball athletes can reach Bogues, making this point guard a threat to any opponent.

Out of his 14 seasons in the NBA, Bogues’ height didn’t bother his abilities to support his teammates. It’s because he was able to garner an average of 7.6 assists per game. Some league players, such as Kawhi Leonard, have difficulty keeping up with Bogues’ level of assisting his teams.

2. Early Boykins

At 2 inches taller than Bogues, Earl Antoine Boykins stands at 5 feet 5 inches. This point and shooting guard for several teams, including the Denver Nuggets, Milwaukee Bucks, and Los Angeles Clippers, doesn’t see his reasonably short height as a shortcoming in the court. After all, he’s the shortest NBA player of all time that scored over 30 points in one game.

3. Mel Hirsch

Melvin ‘Mel’ Hirsch is one of the earliest NBA players. Hirsch was there when the league began. Although he only played for the association for one year, he still has the height to fit in this list.

Standing at 5 feet 6 inches, Hirsch would be standing together with Boykins at the advent of the 21st century. As it stands, Hirsch passed away in December 1968 at the fairly young age of 47 because of complications with his health.

4. Greg Grant

Gregory ‘Greg’ Alan Grant is the point guard of several teams, such as the Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns, and Denver Nuggets. He has a height of 5 feet 7 inches and weighs about 140 pounds when he was still in the league. Grant would go up against players almost twice his height in his 9-year NBA career.

5. Red Klotz

Louis Herman ‘Red’Klotz only played for the NBA for one year. Additionally, he played while the league was still in its early years. With a height of 5 feet 7 inches, Klotz was able to go up against basketball legends, such as the Harlem Globetrotters.

What is the Height of Kobe Bryant?

Height of Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bean Bryant, aka the ‘Black Mamba,’ isn’t on the list of the tallest NBA players in history. He stood at 6 feet 6 inches, but he dominated the court even if his opponents are taller than him.

Throughout his career, Bryant was able to achieve many awards, including:

Furthermore, his excellent skills in the court allowed his teammates to share the glory of winning many games. For instance, he carried his teams to win five championships.

Unfortunately, the life of this basketball legend was cut short in January 2020. At that time, he was with his daughter and other people in a helicopter. The aircraft vehicle crashed with no recorded survivors.

What Nationalities are Present in the NBA?

Nationalities Present in the NBA

The NBA is home to many basketball players worldwide. On that note, it’s no surprise that this professional basketball league houses athletes coming from different nationalities and ethnicities.

In one report, the NBA had more people of color than white Americans in 2014. Here’s a list of the racial distribution in the NBA in that year.

Final Words

Nationality can affect a basketball player’s height. But racial factors aren’t the only elements that contribute to how any person, basketball player or not, to have short or tall stature. Genetics, diet, and sexual differences play vital roles in determining an individual’s height. Additionally, it doesn’t mean that a tall height is the only component required to enter the NBA as many short athletes still excel in the sport.

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