The NBA is full of big guys – but how big are they? We decided to stack them up alongside famous landmarks and gigantic animals to see exactly how many NBA players it takes to reach the height of the tallest buildings or the weight of the most massive animals in the world.
Looking back through NBA history, there are tall and heavy players all over the place. Gheorghe Mureșan is on record as the tallest player ever at a height of 7’7”. He’s followed closely by Manute Bol, who was measured at 7’6 ¾” by the Guinness World Records. And on the weight scale, Shaquille O’Neal is one of the heavier guys who had a long, successful playing career, weighing in at over 300 pounds. Yao Ming is another tall guy who was also quite heavy at around 310 pounds. One of the tallest active players today is Boban Marjanovic, who plays for the San Antonio Spurs at a height of 7’3”, and one of the heaviest modern players is Glen Davis, who suits up for the Clippers just shy of 290 pounds.
The tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa, is located in the city of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, and it towers a mind-bending 2,717 feet into the air. If the Eiffel Tower were next to it, it would look tiny in comparison, but it still shoots up 1,063 feet. So how many NBA players would it take to reach anywhere near the height of the world’s tallest building? Around 442 NBA players standing on one another’s heads would actually reach over the Burj Khalifa; it’s also the approximate number of active players in the NBA each season.
Roy Hibbert, who plays for the L.A. Lakers, is probably one of the guys who adds a few extra inches – he measures in at 7’2”. Tyson Chandler, center for the Phoenix Suns, also helps bump that measurement up at 7’1”.
If 442 NBA players were gathered together on the world’s largest scale, they’d weigh in at a whopping 98,147 pounds. This easily outpaces the world’s largest land mammal – the African elephant tops out at around 14,000 pounds. However, the total combined weight doesn’t come close to the largest animal known to have ever roamed the earth: the blue whale, which weighs in at a hefty 400,000 pounds. Zach Randolph of the Memphis Grizzlies probably helps tip the scale at 260 pounds. The same goes for Boris Diaw, Spurs center who tops off at 250 pounds.
About That Blue Whale
Considering its massive size, we thought we’d see how many NBA players it’d take to reach the weight of a large blue whale. If looking at the average NBA player weight of 221.1 pounds, we’d have to suit up 1,801 guys to hop on that giant scale to equal one large blue whale. If considering the general number of NBA players a season, we’ll have to increase the weight of each of the 442 players to an impressive 905 pounds
Superstars vs. Blue Whale
As you can already imagine, not one player in the NBA can compare with a giant blue whale in terms of weight. On the other hand, it would be interesting to see how many Lebrons or Currys it would take to equal the same weight as our deep blue friend. Currently, LeBron James weighs 250 lbs. This means it would take around 1,600 LeBrons to equal a blue whale. Coming in on the lighter side, Stephen Curry only weighs 190 lbs. It would take about 2,106 Currys to come close to the weight of a blue whale.
A Stack of Power
Players of which position are generally the tallest? If you guessed power forwards, you’re probably right – a stack of all of them on top of one another would reach a height of 667 feet. Shooting guards measure in at 663.3 feet, point guards at 546.3 feet, small forwards at 543.8 feet, and centers at 527.9 feet.
Weighing It Out
In a similar experiment, we calculated how much all the position players would weigh if they were hanging out on a scale together. Similar to the stacks of position players, the power forwards won with a combined weight of 23,548 pounds. Next heaviest group are the shooting guards at 20,273 pounds, followed by point guards (19,348 pounds), small forwards (18,231 pounds), and centers (16,747 pounds).
Shooting Guards and the Arch
Constructed in the 1960s, the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri, stands 630 feet tall, looking over the Mississippi River to the east, and downtown St. Louis to the west. It just so happens that the combined height of every NBA shooting guard stands at a little over 633 feet, which helps us envision how tall the arch really is.
Soaring to New Heights
All teams are not created equal. Variations in height are a normal part of being a human being, as even superstars on NBA teams can attest to, and some teams are taller than others. The New Orleans Pelicans win in this category, with a combined total height over 111 feet. They’re followed by the New York Knicks who total out over 106 feet. Then there’s the Milwaukee Bucks at 106 feet, the Memphis Grizzlies at over 105 feet, and the Dallas Mavericks at nearly 100 feet. The top 5 teams in height average include the Minnesota Timberwolves, Dallas Mavericks, Chicago Bulls, Utah Jazz, and New York Knicks – they are all in the 6’6” to 6’7” range. The Pelican’s appearance on one list and not the other could be attributed to the increased number of players on the roster due to injuries during the season. If you stack all the players on the five tallest teams, you’d find that only 53% of skyscrapers in New York City are taller than our imaginary NBA skyscraper.
The team that earns top marks for total combined weight is also the New Orleans Pelicans, who smoosh the scale at 3,769 combined pounds. They’re followed by the Milwaukee Bucks at 3,585 pounds, the New York Knicks at 3,578 pounds, the Memphis Grizzlies at 3,549, and the Oklahoma City Thunder at 3,441 pounds. The award for the highest average weight in the league goes to the Cleveland Cavaliers at 231.9 pounds, followed by the Thunder, Timberwolves, Mavericks, and the L.A. Lakers, which all fall in the 226- to 229-pound range.
Heavy as an Elephant
Which NBA teams, combined, weigh about as much as a large elephant? If you take the combined weight of the Pelicans, the Bucks, the Knicks, and the Grizzlies, they’d top out at 14,481 pounds – a little more than the world’s heaviest land mammal.
No, there isn’t a single NBA player who is as big as an elephant, nor as tall as a building. But it’s interesting to see exactly how they stack up alongside some of the most famous landmarks and the most massive animals on the planet.
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