As you can imagine, there aren’t exactly lots of 7’1 NBA players because it’s extremely rare to be over 7 feet tall (and even rarer to be that tall with enough athleticism to play basketball).
Still, there are some 7’1 players in the NBA, and it’s no surprise that they play in the center position, where they can really utilize their height.
- NBA average height
- Average height of a female basketball player
- NBA players that are 6’11
- 7ft NBA players
- NBA players that are 7’2
- NBA players that are 7’3
Who are some notable 7’1 NBA players?
Here is a list of 7’1 NBA players, some of whom are currently playing and some who are retired.
- Rudy Gobert
- Jakob Poeltl
- Walker Kessler
- Christian Koloko
- John Butler
- Ibou Badji
- Jay Huff
- Shaquille O’Neal
- Jon Teske
- Brook Lopez
These 7’1 centers in the NBA enjoy a 7-inch height advantage over the average basketball player, who’s already very tall in their own right.
Of course, simply being tall is not enough to be an NBA player. You need to have good mobility and a decent skill set as well.
Being an excellent rebounder with good defensive awareness is important as a center, and that’s something that the best 7’1 NBA players possess in abundance.
Is it possible to be a 7’1 point guard?
Is it possible to be a 7’1 guard? Sure, it’s possible. But it’s unlikely. Why? I suppose because 7’1 basketball players can better utilize their height in different positions.
And besides, you don’t need to be 7 foot 1 to have top-tier ball handling skills. So why not let the shorter players get the offense going and leave the taller athletes as centers or power forwards?
Of course, there have been some very tall point guards like Magic Johnson, and there have also been forwards and centers who could have played point guard due to their skill set.
It’s quite possible that we might see more 7’1 guards in the future, but for now, the NBA’s big men are usually centers or power forwards.
Do 7 foot 1 NBA players have a big advantage?
Obviously, a 7 foot 1 NBA player is going to be able to impose themselves on their opponent with ease due to their size.
When you add athleticism into the equation—which does come harder at 7’1—you get a truly excellent player that can rebound and block shots at a moment’s notice.
Tall players like O’Neal could easily intimidate the opposition in both attack and defense.
While O’Neal wasn’t known for his free throw shooting ability, he was a great dunker and had excellent movement for a big man. He’s certainly one of the all-time greats.
Additionally, at youth levels, extremely tall players may get preferential treatment due to their height. After all, if you’re 7 foot 1 or closing in on that height, then with the right coaching, there’s a decent chance that you’ll make the NBA.
While there are not that many 7’1 players in the NBA, there are some big names of past and present that you just can’t ignore, both because of their talent and off-court personalities.
As time goes on, we might well see more 7’1 NBA players. And yet, there are so many top-tier athletes who are well under 7’1, so it just goes to show that height, while undeniably important, isn’t everything either.
- Uitti, J. (2022, November 15). In the land of the giants: does size really matter in the NBA? The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2022/nov/15/nba-basketball-height-tall-players-advantages
- Conway, T. (2017, October 1). NBA Rankings: Magic Johnson and The 10 Best Point Guards in NBA History. Bleacher Report. https://bleacherreport.com/articles/437853-nba-rankings-magic-johnson-and-the-10-best-point-guards-in-nba-history
- Leaper Circuit: 4 Exercises to Improve Vertical Jump. https://www.usab.com/youth/news/2015/06/leaper-circuit.aspx