Why are many basketball players so tall and lanky?


I didn’t say all because I know there are plenty who are on the shorter side but have amazing skill, or perhaps some on the hefty side. I don’t watch too much basketball so I’m basing my question on the few live games I’ve actually seen and just students at the high school gym and such.

Anyways for the most part I notice they’re all incredibly tall and usually on the lankier side of the spectrum. What gives? I always thought it was just that they literally have exercises they do that overtime aid in their height structure and everything, or that basketball requirements really are that strict and you have to meet criteria. But yeah…please.

In: Biology

If you are taller than someone then it is much easier to block them. So being tall is a benefit for a defensive player. Of course the best way not to be blocked is to be at least as tall as the defender, so being tall is an advantage for an offensive player.

Then it is just an arms race.

Tall players with long arms have a competitive advantage over shorter players because of the rules and the fact that the goal is 10 ft in the air.

Defenders attempt to block shots and passes to other players, if there is a significant difference in height between defenders and attackers, it becomes a lot easier for the attackers.

Not an expert.

Well, height can help because the hoop is mounted 10 feet high. You can definitely score from below even without jumping, but a lot of times players jump. And the taller you are the less you have to jump.

As for being lanky, it’s probably because basketball involves a lot of running and jumping, and not that much weight lifting (although the ball is relatively heavy).

Height and long arms has its obvious benefits in the game, but on the “lanky” appearance, by that you generally mean somewhat skinny builds rather than solid muscular builds.

For the skinnier build, basketball works a lot on quickness and ability to move and transition your position fast, as well as being able to have a lot of stamina and endurance. Very muscular players often have trouble being as fast as skinnier, lankier players and that they are so big and heavy, have to move that all around and get tired faster.

Now at the top levels on basketball, like the NBA, there are many very strong players, and these people are often just freak athletes on intense workout and diet regimes to be able to play fast while being big and strong. Often this size comes with getting older as well, as most younger players are much skinnier and lankier and won’t put on tons of muscles until their early 20s. (Which is why you’ll see your high school players be “lanky”)

Lastly, big huge buff players have always played a niche role in basketball, generally as centers (such as Shaq), although long, tall, lankier centers for most of the history of basketball was more common

It’s advantageous to be able to get your hands/arms as close to the basket as possible for highest percentage shot, to be able to reach high to block another’s shot, and to shoot over others.

But basketball also requires a lot of running up and down the court, on wood floors. So height and heftiness would be hard due to challenge running up and down the court, as well as the wear and tear of all that weight on the knees (but there are some exceptions, like Shaquille O’Neal). So that’s why you tend to see tall but lanky. Players at the elite levels of top tier college and NBA build muscle through years of weight lifting, so they become less lanky looking than high school age players.

Being tall is simply a huge advantage in the game. It’s easier to shoot over opponents, and it’s harder for them to shoot over you. Tall players have a better chance of grabbing a rebound after a missed shot.

So tall people tend to gravitate to the game, since they can excel at it. When they are younger, it is simply more likely for an exceptionally tall person to be lanky. Most of their growth has been in making them taller and not overall larger.

It’s also an advantage in basketball to not be fat, since that makes it harder to move quickly and makes it much more likely that you’ll tire out running up and down the court. Basketball is a hard workout. Occasionally you’ll see a college player who is pretty chubby, but they usually don’t excel unless they manage to lose the flab or exchange it for muscle.

A lot of college basketball players work hard to add body mass in the form of muscle. Being tall is a big advantage, and being tall and muscular is an even bigger advantage.

This is particularly true when play takes the ball underneath the basket and players can use their bodies to push others out of the way. In a situation like that, the bigger/stronger player usually wins the battle for position.

If you look at NBA players, you’ll see that they tend to be larger than college players. They usually work out a lot to try to gain and maintain muscle mass. College players do too, but they simply haven’t had enough years of doing it yet.