The game of basketball is much more about being a skilled player. However, some players can get by just on their body type. For example, the wider and heavier players are more likely to have more strength, but are much slower. The shorter and tinier players are more likely to have more speed, but are not as strong. The most noticeable and distinct feature a player has is their height. Most players are usually over six-foot tall. However there are a few under six-foot. Tyrone "Muggsy" Bogues is the shortest NBA player ever at the height of just over five-foot.
The NBA has had over twenty players under the height of six-foot. However, more players are seven-foot and over. There has been a plethora of players over seven-feet tall that have achieved great success in the NBA. There are much more seven-foot players, than players under six-foot. Some were able to use there size to their advantage. Surprisingly, most of them were not the best of players. Keith Closs and Pavel Podkolzin had short stints in the NBA where they accomplished very little despite being over seven-feet tall.
Here are the top 15 players who stood over seven-foot tall.
15 Mark Eaton: 7-4
Mark Eaton spent the entirety of his career playing center for the Utah Jazz. During his career, Eaton was never an offensive threat. His career high average in points is only 6.0 PPG. Eaton was a terrific defender for the Jazz back in his day. and was most known for his terrific shot-blocking ability. Eaton's career high in shot-blocking in a season is an outstanding 5.6. Eaton made the All-Star team once in his career, and that occurred in the 1988-89 season. Eaton's career lasted only eleven NBA seasons and he retired because of knee and back injuries. Unfortunately, Eaton missed out on the chance to be a part of the Jazz teams that made back-to-back NBA Finals. Eaton's number is now retired for the Utah Jazz.
14 Rik Smits: 7-4
Rik Smits spent his entire career as a member of the Indiana Pacers. His nickname was the "Dunking Dutchman." Smits was a talented center that never really received any credit, because of the other centers playing at the time. Smits managed to make the All-Star team on one occasion. Smits and his Indiana Pacers were in the playoffs almost ever year but during his NBA career, Smits only made it to the NBA Finals once. Smits was absolutely destroyed by Shaquille O'Neal and the Los Angeles Lakers. They would lose in six games as Smits would be held to only 10 PPG. That season would turn out to be Smits' last and he would retire after the Finals' defeat. Smits would average a total of 14.8 PPG for his career.
13 Tyson Chandler: 7-1
Tyson Chandler is a current member of Phoenix Suns. He has played on various NBA teams throughout his career. These teams include the Bulls, Hornets, Bobcats, Knicks, and two stints with the Dallas Mavericks. His first stint with Dallas included winning an NBA Championship against the favourite the Miami Heat. During that season Chandler began to standout as a really good defender. While with the Knicks, Chandler would win the NBA Defensive Player of the Year. He would also make the All-Star team for the first time in his career. Lastly, he would make the NBA Third Team and helped the Knicks have their most successful season in a very long time. Although Chandler was never as dominant a player as many expected him to be since coming out of high school, Chandler has been solid throughout his entire career.
12 Brad Daugherty: 7-0
Brad Daugherty goes unnoticed by many NBA fans and many Cleveland fans as well. Daugherty was once a part of the NBA's upper echelon of centers in the NBA. He and Mark Price led the Cavaliers to several successful season. Daugherty averaged 19 PPG and 9.5 RPG for his entire career. His career high in points for a season was 21.6 PPG in 1990-91. He made the All-Star team five different times. Unfortunately, Daugherty had to retire at 28 because of ongoing back problems. His number 43 jersey is retired by the Cavaliers and Daugherty currently serves as an analyst for both college basketball and the NBA. Daugherty is truly underrated and was really dominant at his position. Sadly his career was cut short because of injury.
11 Marc Gasol: 7-1
Pau Gasol's younger brother has had great career in the NBA. He has spent his entire career in Memphis and has helped to carry that team throughout his years in the NBA. Gasol is a former NBA Defensive Player of the Year which is rightfully deserved as Gasol consistently anchors the Grizzlies defense. Gasol has made the All-Star team on two occasions, and he was once voted in as an All-Star Game starter. He and the Grizzlies were once considered contenders for an NBA Championship, but the farthest they were able to reach was the Western Conference Finals. Gasol has steadily performed for his entire career, and has career averages of 14.3 PPG and 7.8 rebounds a game. Too bad for Gasol that the Grizzlies seems far away from winning an NBA Championship.
10 Ralph Sampson: 7-4
Ralph Sampson was the Houston Rocket's first overall pick in the 1983 NBA Draft. He would build the foundation for their "Twin Towers" duo of he and Hakeem Olajuwon. Sampson's career would start off red hot as he would make the All-Star team during his first four NBA seasons. He would win the Rookie of the Year Award and would average over 20 PPG for his first two seasons. He and Hakeem Olajuwon would lead the Rockets to the NBA Finals, where they would be disposed by the Boston Celtics. Sampson's NBA career would be derailed by back and knee injuries as he would only play a little over half the games of a ten year NBA span. Despite all of this, Sampson would still make the NBA Hall of Fame.
9 Dikembe Mutombo: 7-2
Dikembe Mutombo is one of the NBA's all-time greats. He is a great person on and off the court as well. Mutombo began his career as a member of the Denver Nuggets. While there, the Nuggets became the first eigth seed to defeat a number one seed. Mutombo was never a dominant offensive threat. In fact, his career high in points came his rookie season where he averaged 16.6 PPG. Mutombo spent his NBA career on multiple teams, including an NBA appearance with the 76ers and New Jersey Nets. Mutombo won the Defensive Player of the Year Award four times while also being an eight time NBA All-Star. Mutombo joined the NBA Hall of Fame in 2015 and is beloved by all NBA personnel and fans.
8 Robert Parish: 7-0
Robert Parish had the fitting nickname of the "Chief", because he certainly was such during his playing days. Parish was one of the key members of the great Celtics teams during the 1980s when they would go on to great success. Parish averaged 14.5 PPG and 9.1 rebounds for his career. He has four championship rings, three coming with the Celtics, and one on his way out of the league with the Bulls. Parish has the most games played in NBA history and was a nine time NBA All-Star. He would also took part in the celebration for the NBA's 50 Greatest Players. Lastly, Parish joined the NBA Hall of Fame in 2003 and number 00 is retired in the rafters for the Boston Celtics.
7 Yao Ming: 7-6
Yao Ming is one of basketball's cultural icons. Ming was the first overall pick in the 2002 NBA Draft. Ming made the All-Star team on eight occasions. He would lead all players several times in voting, including leading over Shaquille O'Neal. Ming spent his entire career with Rockets, however he would never achieve high levels of success in the playoffs. Ming would also spent his entire career dealing with foot injuries that shortened his the length of his playing time. He would never play a full year over his last five seasons. Ming was then forced to retire in his early 30s. He averaged 19 PPG and 9.2 rebounds for his career. Ming would join a stellar Hall of Fame class of Allen Iverson and Shaq this year.
6 David Robinson: 7-1
David Robinson is one of basketball's most athletic and talented players. He went number one overall to San Antonio Spurs IN 1987 and he spent his entire career with the team. However, his NBA career was delayed because he went to army. Thus he gained the nickname of "The Admiral." He has one of the NBA's few quadruple-doubles and is also a member of the NBA's 50 Greatest Players. Robinson has two championships, thanks to finally getting some help with the addition of Tim Duncan. He is a member of the legendary Dream Team as well as a ten time All-Star. His number 50 is retired for the Spurs. Robinson would then joined the Hall of Fame in 2009. The Admiral is one of five NBA players to record more than one 70 point game.
5 Patrick Ewing: 7-0
Patrick Ewing is arguably the greatest Knicks player ever. Despite the fact that he has not won any rings, Ewing was a dominant NBA player. Often overshadowed by the other centers at the time, Ewing helped lead his time to the playoffs almost every year he was with the Knicks. He made the All-Star team 11 times. He also won the NBA Rookie of the Year over guys like Karl Malone, Chris Mullin, and Joe Dumars. He is a member of the NBA's 50 Greatest Player and was a member of the historic Dream Team. He is currently working on the Charlotte Hornets' coaching staff. Ewing would join the NBA Hall of Fame in 2008. Ewing is beloved by all Knick fans despite the fact he could not bring us a championship.
4 Hakeem Olajuwon: 7-0
Hakeem Olajuwon is the best Houston Rocket ever, and is one of the most unique centers to ever play in the NBA. Olajuwon unlike most centers, had a decent handle on the ball. Olajuwon was also picked before Michael Jordan in the 1984 NBA Draft. He has achieved a quadruple-double in his NBA career and has brought Houston back-to-back NBA championships. Olajuwon made the All-Star team 12 times and is a member of the NBA's 50 Greatest Players. He has two NBA Defensive Player of the Year trophies. Olajuwon also managed to dominate Shaq in the 1995 NBA Finals. He is the all-time NBA leader in blocks and has career averaged of 21.8 PPG to go along with 11.1 rebounds. He joined the Hall of Fame in 2008 and currently works with other NBA big men such as Dwight Howard and Amare Stoudemire.
3 Wilt Chamberlain: 7-1
Wilt Chamberlain defines dominance in the NBA, albeit there were no men his size during his day. The only player capable of stopping Wilt was Bill Russell, which Russell proved on multiple occasions. Wilt is most known for averaging over 50 points in one season back in 1961-62. However, he did not win the MVP that year. He is also the only NBA player to score 100 points in a single game. Despite all of his dominating stats and numbers he has only won two NBA Championships. He made the All-Star team 13 times and Wilt finished his NBA career averaging 30.1 PPG and most impressively 22.9 rebounds. He joined the NBA Hall of Fame in 1978 and was a member of the NBA's 50 Greatest Players.
2 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: 7-2
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is without question a top-five NBA center. He was born Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor and was drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks in 1969. With them, he teamed with Oscar Robertson and would win an NBA Championship. From there, he would form the "Showtime" Lakers with Magic Johnson and would win five NBA Championships. Jabbar finished his career with six NBA titles. By the time he retired, he was the NBA's all-time scoring leader. He is a member of the NBA's 50 Greatest Players, having 19 All-Star game appearances throughout his career. When he retired he was without doubt a Hall of Famer and joined basketball immortality in 1995. Some consider Kareem the best to do it and he does have an argument as he leads in scoring and has five rings.
1 Shaquille O'Neal: 7-1
Shaquille O'Neal is the most dominant basketball player of all time. He accomplished it all during his long NBA career. Shaq won Rookie of the Year over Alonzo Mourning. He won his only MVP award in the 1999-2000 NBA season. He would win three championships with the Los Angeles Lakers and one with the Miami Heat. Shaq made the NBA's 50 Greatest Players list and recently joined the Hall of Fame as a part of the star-studded class including Allen Iverson, Yao Ming, and Zelmo Beaty. Without question, Shaq was an unstoppable force on the basketball course. Your best option defending him was to foul him or else he was going to score. Sadly, the NBA will never see another player like him. Shaq was one of a kind, and a true NBA icon.
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