Does Playing Basketball Make You Taller? (Truth Revealed)

We’ve all heard the stories of how our friends grew taller by playing basketball.

But does that have scientific evidence or is it just a coincidence?

There’s no research that suggests that playing basketball will make you taller. Only your genetics and secondary factors like nutrition during childhood will determine your maximum height.  

That said, there are a lot of benefits of playing basketball especially when you’re young. You also don’t need to be tall to become an effective player. Read on to learn more!  

Does Playing Basketball Make You Taller?

If you’re a basketball player, you might have wondered at least once if playing the sport will make you taller. After all, your friend or someone from a youth league said that it did make them taller.

But we can’t just rely on these rumors when determining the facts. So, to break this myth once and for all, let’s hear what science has to say.

According to, playing basketball doesn’t make you taller. There also have been numerous research studies done where they looked at the effects of basketball for 10 weeks on youth.

The results don’t indicate that playing basketball has helped them grow taller. But they did gain a lot of other health benefits from playing basketball.

But if playing basketball doesn’t make you taller? What will?

Science says that your genetics is the primary determinant of your maximum height. Then, it can also be influenced by your nutrition during childhood throughout adolescence.

So, now that you know that playing basketball doesn’t make you taller, what are the health benefits that you can get instead?

  • Burn calories
  • Decrease in blood pressure
  • Develop muscles
  • Better resting heart rate
  • Decline in body fat percentage

Aside from health benefits, playing basketball can also improve your overall mood, balance, endurance, coordination, and self-discipline.

Do You Need to Be Tall to Play Basketball?

Now we know that playing basketball doesn’t increase your height, do you need to be tall in the first place?

Unfortunately, basketball is the number one sport where height is a big factor. Just look at the average height of professional athletes in different sports/leagues.

Sport/LeagueAverage Height (ft)
1. Basketball (NBA)6’6”
2. Volleyball6’4”
3. Rowing6’3”
4. American Football (NFL)6’2”
5. Baseball (MLB)6’2”

As we can see from the table above, basketball players are the tallest according to average height. Next is volleyball, rowing, American football, and the last is baseball.

Many will agree that height is an essential factor in basketball. This is primarily because the height of the hoop is 10 feet. Plus, a lot of activities in basketball include:

  • Jumping for rebound
  • Layup/dunk
  • Blocking
  • Recovering the ball

All these activities give the taller player an advantage. Although a shorter player can outjump a taller one, he expends more energy doing so.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to be tall to play basketball! It just means that being tall will give you more advantage.

In fact, basketball has different positions such as Point Guard, Shooting Guard, Small Forward, Power Forward and Center. The positions were made to fit their role more on the court. The shortest players typically play point guard while the tallest ones go up to the center position.

The NBA and most other professional leagues don’t have a rule that specifies a minimum height requirement. They look more on the talent and potential of a player rather than just the height.

But you’ll need to have outstanding skills to even be considered by NBA teams if you’re short.

Effective Tips to Become Elite Even if You’re Not Tall

Even though there’s no rule that prohibits short players from playing professionally – they need to be outstanding.

So, to become an effective player even without relying on height, we provide you with these tips. Once you apply these on your game, you’ll become a threat even as a short player.

1. Master the Basics

This first tip should apply to all basketball players regardless of height. But for shorter players, this is the basic. This should be the minimum requirement for you.

If you’re short, you’ll need to rely on your skills more so than player who rely on their body a lot. So, practice your dribbling, stance, passing, defense, and improve your court vision.

Once you have the basics, you can move over to the next tips.

2. Be Fit

If there’s an advantage to being small in sports, its that you can move quicker than everyone. In basketball, speed is one of the best things you can capitalize on as a short player.

But to be able to blow past defenders, you’ll need to be fit. You’ll need to get your stamina up and take on more muscle.

The last thing you want is to be short and skinny which would make you a liability on defense. But once you’re fit, you can rely more on your skills to outplay taller opponents.

3. Acquire Many Skills

Since you can’t compete in height, you’ll want to compete in skills. To overcome the gap, you’ll need to acquire as many skills as you can.

That’s because no matter how tall an opponent is if you can outrebound them, then you’re an asset. Aside from that, you should also have a lot of moves under your bag so you can get past any defender.

Kyrie Irving is 6’2” but he’s able to drive past almost everyone with incredible dribbling and flashy finishes. He’s arguably the best ball handler we’ve ever seen in basketball history.

What Kyrie lacks in height and athleticism he makes up for his handling and finishing. He has many moves to go to the basket. In fact, even he doesn’t know what move he’s going to make before he actually does it. That’s how unpredictable he is.

4. Improve Your Shooting and Defense

A short player will find it more difficult to attack the basket since that’s where the tall defenders are. Although Kyrie Irving and Stephen Curry does those effortlessly, you don’t need to solely focus on them.

Instead, you can improve your shooting so you can attack far from the basket. Almost a lot of shooters are point and shooting guards. This makes sense since they can get open quicker, and they’re usually situated far from the basket.

Aside from your shooting, you can also improve your defense even as a short player. To be effective defensively, you shouldn’t give the opponent space and a time to rest. Be proactive and always pester them without fouling just like how Gary Payton does it.

5. Know Your Role

Lastly, you should know your role and be the best at it. If you’re a point guard and your role is to make plays, then focus on it. Don’t try to do unnecessary things that you know you can’t do well.

Instead, focus on your strengths and improve on them. For instance, Stephen Curry’s strengths are shooting, off-ball movement, ball handling and finishing. He does these things so well because he mastered them all. He doesn’t need to dunk just to become a great player.


Can jumping make you taller?

Contrary to what most believe, jumping doesn’t increase your height. But it can help when you’re still in puberty.

Does basketball make you shorter?

No, basketball won’t make a person shorter just like it won’t make anyone grow taller.

Does basketball make you taller at 17?

No, basketball won’t make you taller at 17 years old since it’s past the puberty age for males which is between 9 and 14.

Does basketball make you taller during puberty?

There’s no scientific evidence to suggest this but a lot of people claim that they became taller playing basketball during puberty.

But aside from playing basketball, eating healthy and getting a good night’s sleep will help you grow taller during your growth phase.

Does basketball make you stronger?

Playing basketball doesn’t primarily improve your strength like weightlifting does. But it can improve other areas such as agility, coordination, flexibility, stamina and thinking skills.


Height is an important factor in basketball which is why a lot of people want to know if playing basketball will make them taller. Unfortunately, genetics plays a big part in it.

But even if you’re not tall, you can still be an effective player and get into a professional basketball league.

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