Are Basketball Players’ Heights Measured With Shoes On?

Do basketball players get measured with their shoes on?

In most leagues, a basketball player’s height is measured without shoes on. In 2019, the NBA has started to measure their players’ height barefooted or with socks on. As a result, a lot of players grew taller while a few got shorter.

So, why exactly are basketball players lying about their height? You can find out the answer below.

Are Basketball Players’ Heights Measured With Shoes On?

There’s a lot of confusion and lies surrounding the height of basketball players. But how exactly are they measured?

In most cases, the height of a basketball player is measured normally without shoes on. Players are required to be barefoot, so their true height is measured from foot to their head.

They’re usually measured standing up with their backs against the wall for accurate measurement. But players can also be measured lying down if they want to.

In a lot of leagues around the world, the Stadiometer is used to measure height. It’s medical equipment that has a long ruler attached to the bottom with a horizontal headpiece at the top.

Why Are Basketball Players’ Heights Measured?

You now know that basketball players’ heights are usually measured without shoes on, but why are they measured in the first place?

There are official and unofficial reasons for this. Here are they:

1. For record-keeping purposes

The most common official reason why basketball players’ height is measured is for record purposes. A basketball league usually keeps a record of each basketball player’s statistics such as height, weight, birthday, and name.

Basic information about a player is kept so it can be used for different purposes. For instance, in the NBA, a player’s height along with his career stats are shown on TV sometimes.

Plus, a lot of fans are always curious as to the height of NBA players, so it helps to keep a record of them.  

2. To know your position

Another official reason why you might need your height to get measured is to know the position you’ll be playing. Your position will largely be determined by your height in most basketball leagues.

The taller you are, the closer you’ll be to the basket. The tallest usually play center while the shortest ones are the point guards.

If you know your height, then your coach can easily assign you a position to play in.

But a lot of teams and leagues also have a required height to join them. This is because the competition is increasing as well as the number of aspiring players.

3.  To know if you grew taller or not

An unofficial reason why you might want to know your height is to know if you grew or not. This is especially accurate when you’re at the adolescence stage where you’ll grow a lot.

How can you know if you grew taller if you don’t know your previous height? Plus, it helps to accurately measure how much you’ve grown.

History of the NBA Height Measurement

Photo by Keith Allison

One of the biggest mysteries over the years in the NBA is the actual height of the players. A lot of fans weren’t convinced by their listed heights so in 2019, the NBA sent out a memo.

The memo required teams to send the official height of their players as measured by a team doctor.

As such, the league saw a lot of players growing or shrinking a few inches from their listed height. Now, we know a lot of NBA players’ actual heights.

Here’s a list of the most surprising changes (actual height from basketball-reference):

NBA PlayerListed HeightActual Height
Kevin Durant6’96’10
Tacko Fall7’77’5
JJ Barea6’05’10
Dwight Howard6’116’9
Draymond Green6’76’5
Boban Marjanovic7’37’4
Derrick Rose6’36’1

What we can observe just from the list above is that a lot of NBA players were shorter than their listed height.

But there are some players who grew taller such as Kevin Durant. The main reason why he lied about his height is to play small forward.

Why do Players Lie About Their Height?

With a lot of NBA players’ height being exposed, why do basketball players lie about their height in the first place?

Here are the most common reasons:

1. To get into a league/team

While most basketball leagues or teams don’t have a minimum height requirement, they prefer taller players.

This is especially true if a team receives a lot of aspiring players. So, teams can choose the best ones who are also taller as they have more advantages.

So just to get into these teams or leagues, players would add an inch or two to their real height. This is mostly done by players who are 5’10 or 5’11 and who at least want to appear 6 feet.

2. To play a certain position

Another big reason why players lie about their height is to play their preferred position. The most popular story for this is Kevin Durant who listed himself as 6’9 to play small forward.

He wants to play small forward since that position allows him to do what he does best such as getting the ball, attacking the basket, and being swift on both ends.

If he was stuck in the power forward or center position, he wouldn’t get as much leeway as those positions have different responsibilities.

But in 2019, the world found out that he was taller than his actual height at 6’10.

3. To brag

A lot of people especially men lie about their height not just in basketball but in real life. They do this to appear taller to women or to impress other men.

In basketball, height is one of the most talked about aspects of a player. Naturally, a player would want to sound taller than he is to people around him.

Being 6’2 as opposed to 5’11 sounds better and can also be used as intimidation to opponents.


Does playing basketball make you taller?

No, playing basketball itself doesn’t make anyone taller. Although it can help during the adolescence stage, there’s still no scientific basis for this.

Read this – Does Playing Basketball Make You Taller? (Truth Revealed)

Why are basketball players’ height in feet?

The USA is one of the few countries left that are still using the Imperial System of measurement. Therefore, basketball players’ height is measured in feet.

Why were basketball players measured with shoes on?

For decades a lot of leagues including the NBA measured the players’ height with shoes on. But now, that’s changing ever since the NBA wanted to know the exact height of players starting in 2019.

Final Thoughts

Basketball player heights are typically measured without shoes on nowadays.

The NBA is now requiring teams to send the real heights of their players using this measurement method. Now, we know our favorite players’ real heights.

Read these next:

Leave a Comment