Basketball is one of America’s most popular sports and has been enjoyed by millions of people worldwide for decades. It is a sport that requires stamina, speed, agility, balance and coordination.
The game also involves running, jumping and pivoting which require strength, flexibility and power.
These all are qualities that can be developed with consistent practice, hard work, dedication, commitment and discipline.
However, these attributes are not exclusive to basketball.
In fact, they are common among athletes in other disciplines as well, including football, baseball and cricket.
So, what makes basketball players different from their counterparts?
Why do they seem taller than other athletes?
Basketball players are tall primarily because of favourable family genetics, which are the biggest contributing factor towards their height. In addition, their strict dietary regiment provides them with vitamins, nutrients and minerals that help to complement their growth in physical stature.
But that’s not all!
Read on to find out the full story on why basketball players are so tall.
Reasons why basketball players are generally tall
Let’s now expound on those points with some detailed explanations…
1. Family genetics
It has long been known that there is a genetic predisposition towards certain physical characteristics like height, weight and skin coloration.
According to studies, your genes account for up to 80% of how you look and about half of it determines your bone structure, while the remaining 20% is your muscle mass.
A person whose parents are both under 6 feet (about 1.8 meters) may have a higher chance of being shorter than his peers or developing health problems like osteoporosis if he continues on this path.
On the contrary, someone born into an athletic family may grow taller due to a hereditary factor that favors increased stature.
This is because when two siblings who have similar heights get together, the tallest tends to take over the role of “king” or queen of the house where he/she will likely inherit the family’s athletic gene pool.
Ultimately, height is partly determined by genetics.
You can predict how tall you are based on the height of your own parents.
2. Regular exercise
Exercising regularly helps build muscles and bones making us stronger, faster and even taller.
By increasing lean body mass, exercising also increases internal energy reserves.
When our bodies use energy stores instead of carbohydrates, the number of calories burned is greater resulting in increased metabolism.
With elevated metabolic rate, our bodies burn fat cells to produce heat and thus increase our basal temperature.
As such, our body stays warm at night during sleep without waking us up and causing excessive sweating.
This means we wake up feeling less tired and healthier having lowered risk of catching colds and flu viruses.
More importantly, exercising improves blood circulation and oxygen intake throughout our bodies leading to better nutrient delivery and utilization.
All these factors combined help maintain healthy tissue and cellular structures thereby promoting good bone formation and repair.
Professional basketball players generally have a strict exercise routine that they stick to, and continually working out from a young age plays a part in their bone development which does contribute in some way to how tall these athletes become.
Now, as mentioned earlier, a significant percentage of our height is determined genetically.
But the remaining percentage is attributed to environmental factors that influence our skeletal system.
One of the environmental factors that affects our height is nutrition.
3. Balanced diet
Proper nutrition is essential because it provides our bodies with necessary nutrients required to support normal growth and development.
Therefore, eating right and staying away from junk foods that contain high amounts of sodium, cholesterol and saturated fats can make us feel full longer and help us lose weight.
This leads to a reduction in calorie intake and promotes gradual weight loss.
Exercising and consuming adequate amount of protein-rich foods will provide us with sufficient energy needed to perform daily activities.
Protein serves important functions in building strong connective tissues that form parts of our skeleton.
Hence, consuming enough protein-rich foods ensures the production of healthy new cells which help us grow and stay fit at the same time.
For basketball players especially, eating nutritious balanced meals is an effective way of getting the recommended daily allowance of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients, which also help them develop in size.
4. Intake of growth supplements
Supplementing our diets with vitamins and minerals can improve general health and boost immunity.
Taking a multivitamin supplement every day can prevent vitamin deficiencies that occur naturally in our modernized societies.
Nutritional supplements containing growth hormones can promote bone growth and enhance the process of rebuilding broken bones.
They also assist in enhancing blood flow to our joints and organs to reduce pain and inflammation.
Growth hormone therapy is widely used to treat children diagnosed with growth hormone deficiency.
However, recent studies show that adults can benefit from taking growth supplements too.
For example, creatine monohydrate is said to improve anaerobic movements like running and jumping in basketball.
Some basketball players have taken synthetic growth supplements in the past to increase their height, even though the NBA specifically prohibits the use of such medication.
One particular case in point took place in 2014, when Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins tested positive for a Growth Hormone Releasing Peptide (GHRP-2).
He was suspended for 25 games due to violating the NBA’s policy on drug use.
Can playing basketball make you tall?
Quite surprisingly, there doesn’t appear to be any clear evidence that suggests playing basketball can make a person taller.
The question itself springs up from the theory that playing the sport – which involves a lot of body stretching motions – causes parts of the body to elongate as a way of adjusting against the strains that come with intense physical play.
However, Healthline debunks this by saying that there’s no statistically significant evidence to suggest that playing basketball increases a person’s maximum height.
Genetics, exercise, nutrition, supplementation and a balanced food diet all collectively contribute to how tall basketballers are.
Remember that your environment and lifestyle choices are just as important as your genes.
If you’ve liked this post, then you’ll also probably enjoy our article that debunks whether height matters in basketball or our post on why basketball athletes have large shoulders.
Check those out when you’ve got some free time to spare!