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Can Basketball Make You Taller? What The Science Says

You are probably reading the title and thinking it’s clickbait I assure you it is not. In this article, we are going to take a look at what the science says about growing taller, and is it possible that playing basketball makes you taller.

Can Basketball Make you Taller? New Findings suggest that there is a correlation between basketball and height. Although findings are not conclusive as genetics plays a major role in how tall you will be. Some evidence suggests that playing the game of basketball due to its physical activity may help increase height.

What evidence? Sounds like an old wives tale. I will present to you further studies of such findings that may help you decide for yourself if basketball can, in fact, increase one’s height. Could basketball be the reason why many NBA stars have huge growth spurts in High School? In one summer growing 8 inches taller while playing ball all summer.

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Tall basketball players playing outdoor basketball on court, Player is driving baseline while the defender is trying to steal the ball.

Is There Any Real Evidence That Says Playing Basketball Makes You Taller?

The average height of a player in the NBA is 6’7. That is 10 inches taller than the average height of an American male. I have looked and looked and found that there are no real studies exactly on if basketball makes you taller, there are only ways that you can help maximize your growth potential and genetics fully.

There is some research that is going around the world wide web that suggests that the act of continuous jumping sends signals to the brain and activates growth hormone. Also boosting blood flow to the spine and legs which then stimulates growth pates which are responsible for height increase.

Science suggests that playing basketball can add inches to your height due to the anaerobic movements and jumping during a game of basketball. It allows the pituitary gland to release more growth hormones into the body causing it to grow.

This is a hard pill for me to swallow as I played basketball my whole life and went through a 6 year period 9 years old to 15, where I dunked on an adjustable hoop all the time. My height is only 5’9 and I stopped growing when I was 16. Did I eat a healthy diet? Probably not. If I would have eaten more healthy would have I grown taller? I don’t know.

Then what about volleyball players, they jump a lot? The average height of the 2012 Top 4 Men’s volleyball Olympic Teams averages a height of 6’6.5 feet. Yes, this applies to them as well, but remember any time a player steps on the court that is tall they have a greater advantage against there competitors.

In volleyball, the advantage of height plays a key role and they can sacrifice skill jus a bit and still be dominant compared to a player with more skill and a few inches shorter. So what am I saying? If I had to guess, they were already tall when playing, not sure if volleyball made them tall.

We are talking about a player with a greater reach to get to the ball, a longer lever which means reaching for the ball and applying more power. Being taller also means the player is already at the net ready with hands jump and doesn’t have to jump as high. When is the last time you heard a player under 6 feet get recruited to play volleyball unless he’s the setter.

It’s actually a shame that most of the knowledge of what makes one growing taller or anything that may be important to maximize growth in a person is covered with the mass amounts of websites and advertisements for miracle pills and growth programs that promise so many inches added to your height if you purchase them. With absolutely no scientific backing, just twisting the simple truth and applying what the consumer wants to hear.

Many people assume that players in the NBA are tall so there must be some direct correlation. But the truth is tall people have an advantage over shorter people in sports and especially basketball. If you take two players who have the same skill set and you have one player who is 3 inches taller then the other, you will find that the taller will have the job/position.Two tall basketball players jump up for a rebound in black and white photo.

I played basketball all my life and at 5’9 I use to try to increase my vertical to make up the lack of height that I had with the many vertical jump programs on the market at the time. Sometimes I would come across programs on the market and magic pills that that claimed to make you taller.

Man, did I want to grow taller as I loved basketball and it was my dream to make it to the N.B.A. But I was not stupid enough to fall for those scams, I just never thought it was an option.

Is there any real solid evidence that suggests that basketball can increase height? NO, there are a few things that you can do to help your genetics and maximize your growth potential.


How Can We Grow Taller Then?

If you are in that growth stage there are some things that can help and are proven by common sense. A couple of the things you may already know but maybe a good refresher to remind you that you really only have to maintain it for a few years until your out of the growth phase.

Sleep – So important when growing taller, you need to get your 8 hrs a day and not stay up playing video games all night and then go to school with 4 hours of sleep. You actually grow when your sleeping and resting that is why it’s so important.

Healthy Diet – Avoid anything that goes into the body that is not healthy to eat or healthy for your physical self. I would continue to eat eggs a lot, as the study suggested below that they help young children to grow and prevent stunting. Avoid alcohol, smoking, and even coffee just in case.

Exercise – We talked about this in the article already, play a lot of basketball, jump a lot, and definitely stretch every day to promote good health and loose muscles. Basketball actually helps to strengthen your bones.

Genetics – Unfortunately we have no control over genetics, but again you can try and maximize what is listed above and you can reach your full potential in height.

There are other ways on the market to help one grow taller but it involves thousands of dollars and complicated and dangerous surgeries. If it was a good idea then many athletes would be all over it. The process, recovery, lower limbs and your life isn’t worth it. So I won’t even bother.


Growth Spurts

Many NBA players who get to the league have a monster growth spurt that happens during high school, this helps them get a scholarship to a prestigious college basketball team.

So just imagine that you have been playing basketball, working on your game and fundamentals. You are considered an excellent player in your state and then in one year, you grow 6 to 12 inches with that same skill set you honed. This is why a lot of players make it to the NBA.

Many players who are already tall and athletic rely on their physical strengths more so then there skill. Which becomes much harder to be a stand out player unless you’re just a freak athlete.

Players who go through this growth spurt after having worked on their fundamentals and then by chance grow a few more inches become extremely dominant. this is why you have 6’7 point guards in the NBA. A player wasn’t already 6’6 and decided I want to play point now.

There are a few exceptions, obviously many players grow into there body at a quicker rate and are freak athletes and work the buts off to be as good as they can possibly be. Many standards have been broken the 6’11 shooting guard like Kevin Durant. Or the unicorn Kristaps Porzingas who used to play for the Knicks, this 7’1 shooting guard. Young players big or tall are trying to be lights out shooters.

Tall professional basketball player standing underneat the hoop shotting the ball into the hoop.

NBA Players That went through growth spurts during High School:

Portland Trail Blazers, C.J. McCollum – was only 5’2 in his Junior year, he later grew to 6’4 by his senior year.

San Antonio Spurs, David Robinson – 5’9 his Junior Year, reached the NBA at 7’1.

Chicago Bulls, Dennis Rodman – 5’8 grew 12 inches during his junior and senior years of high school. I had read somewhere he grew 8 inches over the course of a few months leading up to his senior year.

Chicago Bulls, Scottie Pippen – 6’1 to 6’8 grew 7 inches after High School to increase his stock to make it to the NBA.

Orlando Magic, Dwight Howard – Who is now with the Wizards grew a foot in one year and was actually a point guard to start his career in High School.

San Antonio Spurs, Tim Duncan – 6’3 to 6’11, he was considered a late bloomer growing 8 inches in one year and getting a scholarship with Wake forest his senior year.

Oklahoma City Thunder, Russell Westbrook – 5’10 to 6’3 his senior year growing an extra 5 inches before his senior year.

Some of these players above may have grown taller even during there college days. The Greek Freak Giannis Antetokounmpo from the Milwaukee Bucks is said to have still been growing as he was only 20 years old when he entered the NBA. Giannis is now 6’11 and entered the NBA reportedly at 6’10.


At What Age Do We Stop Growing.

When puberty has started in an individual, the next 2 years is usually the fastest rate at which a person grows. Puberty lasts 2 to 5 years for a teen. Boys usually stop growing at 16 and are fully developed by 18 in most cases. But if growth plates have not closed then this an indication that an individual is still growing.

FYI growth plates are the ends of the long bones in children and adolescents responsible for growing taller. For myself, I stopped growing at 16.

Believe it or not when you first wake up in the morning your half an inch to an inch taller than before you go to bed. When I first read about this many years ago, a lot of people who were trying to make a buck on this theory. Adding there on twist and exercises. Avoid these scam programs all together there is no scientific backing behind it.

More on the subject of waking up taller Courtesy of this article at

During the night when there is no load placed on your spine, fluid is slowly diffusing into the discs in a passive process called imbibition.  Without forces compressing the spine, which includes gravity when you’re standing or sitting, discs grow in size due to osmotic pressures.  An analogy to consider is that of a balloon with extremely tiny holes in it that is filled with gelatin and water sitting in a tub of water. 

When the balloon is compressed, water seeps out, decreasing the volume in the balloon.  When the compression is released the reverse happens.  Each disc goes through this process at rest and increases in height by a small amount.

Tall professional basketball player dunkng the ball with ease with long reach.

Myths On Growing Taller

Growing Taller Myths

Hanging From A Bar – Michael Jordan claimed that he hung from a bar for as long as he could many times a day because he wanted to grow taller. Jordan managed to grow to 6’6 No research proves that this actually helps.

Drinking Milk – You have to drink milk to grow taller, nothing proves this is the case. Many people believe this because milk is good for the bones and the growth plates are in the bones. Milk promotes healthy strong bones, no wonder the misconceptions, it definitely can’t hurt to drink it.

Magical Pills – If there was a magical pill, I would be taking it. I’m sure most pills for growth are a monthly supply for 100 dollars and you must take it for at least 1 year before you see any noticeable height gains.

Shoe Insoles – These things claim if you wear them they will increase your height, because of the pressure points the insole has that work on your feet. Just another fad.


Myths on stunting your Growth

Coffee – Drinking coffee does not stunt your growth, it’s just an old wives tale. There may be other concerns associated with this is the reason why its referred to as stunting your growth as kids all want to be tall. In large amounts of caffeine is not be good for you. The problem with this it is just assumed that it stunts your growth as no real studies on young children has been done. You can imagine why.

Weight Lifting – Many people think to this day that weight lifting stunts your growth still. But the opposite is true and it can actually help develop their bones by putting stress on them to help grow and make them stronger. This promotes growth to the bones just like jumping in basketball does encourage these activities to help an individual grow.

Tall basketball players in huddle with hands in the middle ready for a chant.

But Aren’t Tall People Clumsy On The Basketball Court

Many tall players that I have coached or played against that are 6’6 or taller are usually regarded as big men who play post and the center position and are still trying to catch up to their bodies. Meaning their movement efficiency on the court is poor in comparison to their height. Now the advantage to their game is that they are tall and can rebound if they get into the position they are able to score.

There are countless players that I have seen and have come across that are 6’5 and over, very clumsy, and have difficulty performing athletic movements. I have also seen players taller than 6’7 and can’t dunk. Now more than likely they didn’t pick up basketball till later in life when they realize they had an advantage over smaller players but realize quickly that there less skillful than most.

Then end up not taking the game as seriously because of the hard work and dedication it requires. It could take years to build up the type of movement efficiency that allows you to run around the court like a guard when you’re that tall.

When a player of that height has good footwork and understands the game of basketball and can hold his own, they usually depend on their height to play well. Now of course they’re using the best tool they have and maximizing it on the court, but here’s why many tall players don’t ever make it to the NBA.

At 6’6 to 6’8 they have played the post position all through high school and maybe into college. At the NBA level that position, the players would be several inches taller giving them an advantage while the player at 6’6 to 6’8 a disadvantage.

They really need to have an above-average skill set that allows them to have an advantage over all other players. But how can they when they have depended on their height through their career.

Tall basketball player dunking the ball during the warmup of a basketball game.

The Egg Study

There was an article published by Pediatrics publications in July 2017, Volume 140/Issue 1. The findings suggested that early introduction to eggs in young children significantly improved their growth and reduced stunting.

The results: Children who were on the egg diet experienced “reduced prevalence of stunting by 47 percent,” compared to a similarly sized control group. The study, entitled, “Eggs in Complementary Feeding and Growth,” was published in the June 6 edition of the journal Pediatrics.

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Well, that concludes this article, Again there is no significant, ah-ha research that states do this and you will grow taller, in the end, it’s all about who your mom and dad are, meaning genetics. Thank your Parents 🙂


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