How tall is Yao Ming among the greatest NBA players of all time?
Yao Ming’s height makes him one of the tallest players in NBA history. Believe it or not, however, Yao isn’t the greatest player in NBA history.
Throughout the late 90s, Yao Ming’s whispers continued to make their way to the United States. Talk of the seven-foot-six center quickly spread around the world. It was really during the 1999-2000 CBA season that discussions of Yao began to get more serious. As the CBA’s block and dunk leader that season, Yao’s skills were quickly noticed. He went on to win the FIBA Asia Cup MVP title the following year, before declaring himself for the NBA Draft.
With the first pick in the 2002 draft, the Houston Rockets selected seven-foot-six center Yao Ming from Shanghai, China. Thus began the “Yao dynasty” that lasted nearly a decade in the NBA. As an eight-time NBA All-Star, his place in the NBA history books was cemented when he was inducted into the Hall of Fame.
The height of Yao Ming entering the NBA
Surprisingly, Yao Ming’s height only ties him as the second tallest player in NBA history. When he joined the league, the seven-foot-six Yao quickly made an impression as he averaged nearly two blocks per game. His defensive abilities combined with an average of nearly a double-double earned him NBA All-Rookie First Team honors.
That said, several players who entered the league before Yao were taller or the same height as the Shanghai superstar.
Ranking Yao Ming’s height among the tallest NBA players
While there are several men tied with Yao at seven-foot-six, there are only two men in NBA history to stand at seven-foot-seven. Besides Yao, here are the top 5 greatest players in NBA history.
5 – Shawn Bradley (7’6)
Tied with Yao at seven-foot-six, Shawn Bradley has played in the NBA longer than most men his size. After being drafted as the second overall pick in the 1993 draft, Bradley bounced from the Philadelphia 76ers to the New Jersey Nets before spending most of his career with the Dallas Mavericks.
We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention that Bradley, who appeared on Space Jam, was involved in a tragic accident while riding his bike last year. The tragic accident left the beloved NBA veteran paralyzed, however, he remained in high spirits and focused on rehabilitation.
4 – Slavko Vranes (7’6)
Tied with Yao at seven-foot-six is Slavko Vranes, who had an incredibly forgettable stint with the Portland Trail Blazers during the 2004 season. NBA in 2003, he only played one NBA game.
It was a lackluster performance when he checked into the team’s game against the Minnesota Timberwolves and recorded zero points, rebounds and assists. Anyway, by participating in a game, he established himself as one of the greatest players in NBA history.
3 – Tacko fall (7’6)
Tacko Fall, who is beloved by NBA fans and currently tearing it up overseas in China, is tied with Yao on the list of the greatest players in NBA history. The Senegal native is seven-foot-six and had a very disappointing, yet heartwarming, spell in the NBA from 2019 to 2022.
Although he never played more than 20 games in a season, Fall spent time with the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers. Although he was unable to make a huge impact with either team, he gained a huge following of fans who continue to support him overseas.
2 – Manute Bowl (7’7)
Tied for the tallest man in league history at seven-foot-seven, Manute Bol is undoubtedly one of the greatest shot blockers in NBA history. After being drafted with the 31st overall pick in the 1985 NBA draft, Bol bounced around teams for the next ten years.
Along with being tied as the tallest man in NBA history, Bol has the longest reach of any player in league history at eight-foot-six.
1 – Gheorghe Muresan (7’7)
Tied for tallest man in league history at seven-foot-seven, Gheorge Muresan. Prior to the 1993 NBA Draft, Muresan won the Romanian League Championship and the French League Championship. This feat propelled him to the NBA draft, where he was selected as the 30th overall pick.
In his first four seasons in the league, Muresan was able to stay healthy and make an impact for the Washington Bullets. During the 1995-96 season, Muresan received the NBA Most Improved Player award. To this day, he remains tied for the tallest player in league history.
While it might be a while before we see another player match Yao Ming’s height, his presence is still felt across the league. Yao’s name and jersey hang from the rafters of the Toyota Center where he spent nearly a decade with the Houston Rockets.
Below is a video of NBA legends talking about Yao Ming’s dominance. Check it out.