Today at Outdoor Basketball Hub, I’m going to answer one of the questions that need proper explanation, i.e., “How tall do you have to be to dunk a basketball?”
Let me burst one common myth first: The question has no direct answer. Although height does matter while dunking, it’s better to get hold of some other aspects as well.
For instance, having an idea of “Standing Reach” as well as measuring “vertical jump” could elaborate whether a basketball athlete could dunk or not.
All in all, you need to focus on standing reach as well as vertical jump measurement to get an idea of whether you could dunk a 10” basketball rim or not.
Without any further ado, let me explain both these terms with some practical examples so that I could do justice with “How tall to dunk” question.
How Tall Do You Have to be to Dunk a Standard NBA Rim?
Let me explain the standing reach and vertical jump for you guys first:
Standing Reach and Its Impact:
To define it, “Standing reach is basically how high your arms could reach while standing normally.”
Measuring it is extremely easy. Simply stand up normally and see how high you could reach your arms.
In simple words, your standing reach has a direct impact on whether you could dunk or not.
Many people think that it’s all about how tall a Bball player is, but it’s wrong. Along with the tallness, your arm length matters a lot when we talk specifically about dunking.
If you have a long enough wingspan and limb length, you could beat a person taller than you with your standing reach easily.
Facts About NBA Players’ Standing Reach:
Normally, a person’s average height is around 1.33 times greater than their height.
That said, I found some interesting facts while exploring the NBA official draft prospects from 2015 to 2019.
Have a look at this reach-height ratio that I’ve made of NBA players and see how standing reach impacts their dunking skills:
The graph above emphasizes the fact the basketball players with long arms do possess an advantage over tall players.
That’s one of the reasons I ask my students at academy not to worry about their height while they try to make dunks. It matters more that you have an exceptional standing reach even with average height.
Vertical Jump and Its Impact:
Second most important thing is vertical jump and its impact on dunk. The question here becomes more like, “how high do you have to jump to dunk?”
While it’s a fact that height and standing reach belongs to the biological and genetic area, you can actually train for making perfect vertical jumps.
Multiple resources about improving vertical jump are available on YouTube. I follow the tips given by ILoveBasketballTV in this aspect.
Here’s a video that could help you improve your vertical jump while playing basketball:
Getting straight to the point, here’s an infographic that tells whether you have a poor or a perfect vertical jump measurement:
Enough with that!
Now, the minimum height to dunk depends upon how good your standing reach and vertical jump get.
A rough idea, however, of how much height benefits in dunking is as follows:
- 5’7” – 5’9”: Difficult Enough
Well, it’s not impossible with this height. But you have to improve your vertical jump a lot.
That said, an average of around 28” to 35” vertical jump will help you dunk a standard NBA frame without any hassle.
It’s deemed difficult but with continuous hassle and exercise, you can reach the rim with one hell of a dunk.
- 5’10” – 6’: Challenging Yet Easy:
Basketball athletes with this height range could dunk the ball with an average vertical jump of only 24”. They’d still need an average jump of 30” if they want to touch a full-sized basketball rim.
Although the 3” difference doesn’t seem a lot, it does play a significant role in dunking the ball.
Similarly, more inches mean improved arm length that directly impacts the standing reach and thus helps players to reach the rim with ease and convenience.
- 6’1” – 6’3”: Normal Dunks:
In addition, players who are taller than 6 feet can easily dunk the ball even without proper training.
Most of the professional NBA players fall in this height category. Along with that, college basketball athletes are also tall enough and could easily dunk the ball without any hassle.
- 6’4” and Above: Quite Easy
Finally, the last height category is 6.4”. Most of the famous and popular basketball players such as LeBron James, Micheal Jordan, Stephan Curry, and James Harden fall in this category.
These players make dunk look like a piece of cake and that’s the reason young basketball players aspire to be like them.
However, their height, as well as standing reach, helps them achieve the impossible without any hassle.
Based on statistics and factual data, players with height ranging from 5’7” to 6’4” can dunk with and without exercise.
That said, players with improved height do have an advantage on the court, but that should not discourage you.
You should know that players with small height have improved dribbling skills. Plus, their small bodies can help them improve their movements on the court as well.
As it’s also a fact that every position on the court has a specific role, you should not challenge your body beyond the limits.
Consider dunking as part of a game only and nothing more than that. If you watch NBA league, then you’ll see that professional players over there focus more on winning points rather than showcasing their skills.
Frequently Asked Questions – FAQ’s
1. Can a 5 foot 11 person dunk?
A basketball athlete with 5 foot 11 inches height can dunk. However, it will require improving vertical jumping skills. That is, he must be able to jump as high as 24 to 28” if he wants to touch the rim without any hassle.
2. Can a 5 foot 6 person dunk?
Fairly difficult but not impossible! You’d need to spend all your energies improving your vertical jump as much as possible. A jump of around 30” will help you reach a standard rim with difficulty.
3. Can a 6 2 person dunk?
Players with a height equal to or greater than 6 feet can dunk even without proper training. The height advantage combined with enhanced standing reach allows them to dunk the ball easily.
4. What is a good height to dunk?
6 foot is standard height for a player to dunk with less exercise. However, along with height, two other factors, i.e., standing reach and vertical jump could also impact the overall dunking experience.