The new NBA season has begun, so here’s a statistical survey of sports sizes. We bring you a handful of NBA trivia.
Romanian-born Gheorghe Muresan center, at 7’7”. He came to the NBA after playing professionally in France. Drafted by the Washington Bullets in 1993, he averaged a respectable 9.8 points over his seven-year NBA career, as well as 1.5 blocks. However, Muresan is probably best known for his off-court activities—he starred in the 1998 movie My Giant with Billy Crystal. Muresan played the giant.
Tyrone “Muggsy” Bogues played in the NBA from 1987 to 2001, despite being just 5’3” tall. Being small in the NBA means being fast, and Bogues was adept at assists and steals—he’s the Charlotte Hornets’ all-time leader in both categories.
Routinely showcasing players who are more than seven feet tall, the NBA is naturally going to have players who also weigh a lot. However, only 12 players in league history have ever topped 300 pounds. Among that group are Jerome “Big Snacks” James, Robert “Tractor” Traylor, and Charles “The Round Mound of Rebound” Barkley. The heaviest player in NBA history: Oliver Miller, who played for five teams in the 1990s and weighed 375 pounds.
At 5’7”—a full foot under league average, and two full feet shorter than Gheorghe Muresan—Spud Webb is tied for fourth place on the list of shortest-ever NBA players. But he is the lightest player in league history, listed at a mere 133 pounds. Despite his small stature, however, Webb surprised the basketball world by winning the 1986 Slam Dunk Contest. He beat Michael Jordan and Dominique Wilkins.
In 2005, the Los Angeles Lakers drafted a New Jersey high school senior named Andrew Bynum. He skipped college ball and played in his first NBA game just six days after his 18th birthday.
Only 21 NBA players have ever hit the court after their 40th birthdays. Nat Hickey was the oldest. Playing for the Providence Steamrollers in the early years of the NBA, he played his final game in January 1948, three days shy of his 46th birthday. To put that in perspective, the average coach in the NBA today is 49.