Almost all the pro basketball players that we know are tall. It is nearly impossible to find a professional basketballer that is below 6 feet, but it is not impossible. We have the likes of Earl Boykins at 5’5″, Brevin Knight at 5’10” and Fred Scolari at 5’10”, short players that excelled at their time.
However, it is quite apparent that most basketball players are tall. That begs the question, does playing basketball make you taller? What does science say about this?
Why it is Important to be Tall as a Basketball Player
The basket is set at 10 feet, and the closer you are to it, the better. It makes your work easier to score. A 7 foot tall NBA star makes the best dunks compared to their shorter counterparts. Tall players also defend better, and their blocks are efficient. Getting around them is as hard as they can get because of their tall legs and hands.
More often than not, a basketball player will run into tall defensive players, and having a better height is an advantage. It prevents the opposing players from swapping the ball off you.
Tall players also make the best jumps and can score quickly. The primary goal of playing professional basketball is to create scores and emerge the better team in every game.
The players at the center positions must be tall to play both defensive and offensive. They have a broader wingspan to prevent offensive players from getting past them. You can conceive how easy it would be if a tall offensive player were playing against a short defensive player. It would be an unfair pairing.
The NBA teams are privy to this fact, and they prefer talented tall players. In basketball, being tall and having the skills is critical to ensure success.
The average height for NBA players is 6 feet. And comparing this with the average height of an American male that is at 5 ft 10 in, you can understand why height is critical in basketball.
But height is not everything, and it is not unusual to find short players on the basketball court. What a player gains in stature, they lose in other aspects such as agility and speed. A shorter player is faster and more efficient compared to their taller counterparts. But that may not always be the case.
Current research on the link between playing basketball and getting taller
Admittedly, the research highlighting the link between playing basketball and getting taller is somewhat inconclusive. However, what is an available point at a possible relationship between the two, and that is good news for people that have a passion for basketball.
Basketball involves a significant amount of jumping that stretches most parts of the body, and that is where the ‘growing tall effect’ comes from.
Outstretching your arms to block a pass or to make a throw stretches not only the arms, but the spine as well. When you jump, you spread your legs and decompress the spine. The act of compressing and decompressing can have a positive effect on the body, and the production of the right hormones to enhance growth.
In particular, your legs have a significant number of nerve endings that are part of a network that connects to thyroid and pituitary gland. It is these glands that produce the right hormones to enhance growth. Jumping, and stretching the limbs increases the number of signals sent from the nerve endings to the all-important glands that produce chemicals necessary for growing tall.
On the other hand, the intense activity involved when playing basketball enhances the production of the growth hormone. Exercises and intense activity have been shown to increase the creation of the growth hormone in the body, and it is this hormone that is at the center of numerous body systems necessary for health and growth.
Tall stature is an added advantage for basketball players. However, that does not mean short people cannot excel in the sport. It seems that playing basketball has a positive effect on growing tall. It is when you are jumping, and doing other activities such as running that your body increases a significant amount of growth hormone, and other essential hormones that your body needs to grow.
If you’re looking to be a pro basketball player, then it is crucial to play the game frequently. You will not only better your skills, but also gain a few inches to be a better defensive and offensive player, and that is the main idea.