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11 NBA players with the craziest growth spurts

Sacramento Kings v New Orleans Pelicans

Tall players have always dominated the game of basketball. Some get an inherited tall height, while some even work to get there. Everyone wants to grow tall, especially a person with a strong love for basketball. Everyone goes through growth spurts, some people hit a growth spurt for just one time and some hit it many times. In the world of basketball, from Tyrone "Muggsy" Bogues to Manute Bol, we have witnessed the extremeness of height.

Some players start to get tall at an early age, while some show late height growth, become late bloomers and show some crazy results. In this article, we are showcasing some of the NBA players' craziest growth spurts and here goes the list:


#11 Michael Jordan - 7 inches

Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan

The greatest player to ever play this game, Michael Jordan was a boy whose father was only 5'9" and mother was 5'6". He would never see himself as a tall NBA player, especially when he was cut from his school basketball team. We all know that he locked himself in his room for that. But he never gave up, neither on his height nor on his dream of becoming an NBA player.

As a sophomore in high school, he was 5'11", a decent height, but he wanted much more than this. His desire to be tall became real when he was in his junior year of high School where he grew up and became 6'3" tall. Then he added 3 more inches to his height and stood at 6'6".

The rest is known by everyone who knows him, the type of player he was and the revolution he brought to the game with his skills, is not needed to be told, his name is enough.

#10 Russell Westbrook - 7 inches

Russell Westbrook
Russell Westbrook

Russell Westbrook is pne of the most explosive and aggressive players in the NBA. Recording a triple-double in any game comes easy for Russ. The former MVP is on our list of the NBA players with a crazy growth spurt.

His growth spurt wasn't the craziest, but it hit him at the right time. He came as a freshman in high school at 5'8". During his junior year, he was around 5'9", he wasn't athletic and couldn't shoot well. He went to UCLA for recruitment but didn't perform well in the training camp.

But Kerry Keating, the assisting coach for UCLA, saw the potential in Russ despite all the flaws in his game and short height. Keating could see the ability in Russ to make an impact on the game while others saw bad judgments and continuous airballs.

Russ got selected on UCLA's roster and from there everyone saw in Russ, a growth both in height and his performance. As per Eric Sondheimer of the L.A. Times, he was granted a height of 6'3" and his aggressiveness was channeled to the right direction as he got drafted to the NBA.

#9 Scottie Pippen - 7 inches

Scottie Pippen
Scottie Pippen

Another great NBA player with a story of a sudden insane growth spurt, during his high school career, Scottie Pippen skipped his junior year off-season conditioning program because he didn't consider himself a good basketball player because of his short height.

He chose to become an equipment manager, but this growth spurt really added to his height and his confidence as well and now we count him in the list of one of the best small forwards in the history of NBA.

He didn't receive any college scholarship, was underwhelmed and he couldn't see any future in basketball for him despite being a point guard and taking his team to the playoffs in his senior year. He went to the University of Central Arkansas and there he was granted a late but huge growth spurt of 7 inches and became 6'8" tall. This increase in his height assisted him in playing against bigger and tougher guys and made his own name in the world of basketball.

#8 Anthony Davis - 9 inches

The Brow
The Brow

The well-known Superstar of the New Orleans Pelicans, Anthony Davis, who stands around 6'11" tall. His story of a crazy growth spurt was felt between his sophomore year and junior year, where he went from 6'2" to 6'10", that is around 8 inches in 2 years.

Before this growth spurt, he was unranked, was almost hidden in the crowd of best high school players, was not much noticed by college scouts and was not a very skilled player. But this growth spurt helped him to stand tall and get noticed everywhere.

As a freshman in college, he played for the University of Kentucky and where he was the first team All-American and the Consensus National Player of the Year. His height helped him to record the most blocks in a season as a freshman and also led his college team to the NCAA Championship. After this, he was selected in the NBA by the New Orleans Pelicans.

Even in the NBA, he grew another inch (which he doesn't like because anything beyond 6'10" sounds a bit off to him) and now stands at 6'11". His crazy growth has somewhere been complimented a lot and some even made fun of his growth on Twitter:

#7 Dennis Rodman - 10 inches

Dennis Rodman
Dennis Rodman

Dennis Rodman, one of the greatest rebounders in the NBA history also went through a massive growth spurt. During his high school years, he was cut from his school basketball team and was not able to find a place even on his school football team. He was totally devastated.

As per Sam Smith of the Bulls.com, after completing his schooling, Dennis found a job as a janitor at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, where he experienced a sudden increase in his height of 10 inches and went from 5'9" to 6'7", but didn't play any organized basketball until the age of 21.

People noticed his stature at the airport and some also advised him to try for some basketball leagues. He then decided to try once again for a basketball career and we all know the rest of his basketball career while being in the NBA, especially when he played with the Chicago Bulls.

#6 Jeremy Lin - 12 inches

Linsanity in action
Linsanity in action

The boy who blamed his father for his short height! Jeremy Lin was too desperate to be 6'3" tall, but his parents' average height of both at 5'6" troubled his mind every single day. But Lin somehow managed to get to 6'3" as an adult. He was an amazing player during his School years, and then also went to Harvard University.

Vytas Mazeika of the Mercury News tells us that Lin was just 5'3" when he was 15 years old and could barely reach to 5'10" when he finished his high school. But his desperation to grow tall and his genes which turned out lucky to him, he finally became 6'3". Even his siblings are less than 6 feet. Was it luck or something else we'll never know, but this growth spurt really helped him to perform better and compete with other elites.

#5 Gordon Hayward - 12 inches

Gordon Hayward
Gordon Hayward

Another NBA player whose parents are not so tall, Gordon Hayward, throughout his childhood, wanted to be a tennis player and desired a height of 6'2" while his father is around 5'10". Hayward was never really serious about basketball and once recalled:

Hayward's dream of becoming a professional Tennis player would seem to become real when he and his twin sister was featured in a regional edition of the Indianapolis Star when they played mixed doubles tennis at the Indiana State Open in 2005.

During his sophomore year, Hayward was 5'8" and he took off from there to 6'4" and then to around 6'8" in the next 2 years. People around him were really amazed by this sudden huge increase in his height and never expected him to be this tall. Since then, his dream of becoming a professional tennis player started fading and he started taking basketball more seriously than anything else and chose to become an NBA player instead.

Even he never thought himself to be this tall and this increase in his height is also responsible for him choosing basketball as his career.

#4 Dwight Howard - 13 inches

Washington Wizards Media Day
Washington Wizards Media Day

Before Howard's huge growth spurt, he was a point guard, was a good shooter, had been serious about basketball since the age of 9, and stood at 5'10" when he was in 8th grade. He was not seen as an NBA prospect but the next two years of his high school career changed his entire life.

According to Nick Halili of the Dub Magazine, Dwight grew almost a foot and stood at 6'9"! That was a freak of a growth spurt! Despite having a tall frame, Dwight was quick and versatile enough to play as a Point Guard, but later on, he had to change his game as per his height.

Then he grew a couple of inches more and now he is 6'11" tall. He was drafted in the NBA as was considered as the so-called second coming of Shaq before he got drafted to the league.

#3 Manu Ginobili - 13 inches

Manu still cannot imagine how he grew so tall!
Manu still cannot imagine how he grew so tall!

Manu Ginobili had one of the craziest growth spurts on this planet. He had a strong desire to be really tall like every other guy. At 15, he was just 5'5", but had some really good basketball skills and a great desire to grow tall. In just 2 years he grew up and stood 6'6". Over a foot of height in just 2 years! His childhood friend Pepe Sanchez, who saw Manu after a year, was shocked to see him standing so tall.

Ginobili would measure him every day when he was younger with the kitchen door and when he came to know that he is not growing and everybody else around him is really tall, he became very disappointed. But now as he stands at 6'6", he is just another great example of hitting a huge growth spurt.

#2 CJ McCollum - 14 inches

Who knew this young short CJ McCollum would grow to be 6'4
Who knew this young short CJ McCollum would grow to be 6'4" tall?

As the starting SG for the Portland Trail Blazers, CJ McCollum is one of the NBA players who went through a huge growth spurt. Standing at 5'2" as a freshman (around 14 years old) in high school, McCollum was concerned about his short height. Everyone around him was taller than him, but he still continued to play around them.

If we look at other great SG in the NBA history, then Michael Jordan was 5'10" and Kobe Byrant was around 6'1" at the age of 14. So, CJ was way shorter in height but was granted a crazy growth spurt later on.

As per Mark Schlabach (senior writer for the ESPN), during his sophomore year, he grew 5 inches, but he didn't stop there. Being 5'7" tall, he was still desperate to be taller. During his junior year in high school, he recorded another 4 inches to his height and scored 54 points in a single match in his junior year. Now, he was 5'11" tall.

Now, between his senior year in High school and in the initial years of his college, he grew once again and now he is 6'4" tall. In a crazy story of growth spurts, no one knew that small kid would be 6'4" as an adult!

#1 David Robinson - 16 inches

David Robinson
David Robinson

Another player with an amazing journey of growth is David Robinson. Robinson, like some other NBA players, shot a huge growth spurt between his junior and senior year in high school. From 5'9" to 6'7" in just 1 year! Yes! Around 10 inches in just 1 year, that's insane!

He got the attention of his high school basketball coach and was then added to his school team. He earned All-Area and All-District honors there and was at the top of the list on some college and NBA scouts.

While in the college, he played for the Navy team and grew another 6 inches and became the center of the team while being around 7'1". He continued his Basketball career and had no expectations to play in the NBA, but still got drafted to the NBA and played for the San Antonio Spurs as a center.


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Edited by Raunak J
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