Chinese basketball star Yao Ming, at 7ft 6in, was for one season the tallest active player in the NBA. Over his long and successful career, Ming was an eight-time NBA all-star, made it to four NBA playoffs, and led the Houston Rockets to a first-round win in 2009. Unfortunately, two years after this big win, Ming was forced to retire due to recurring foot and ankle injuries, which often kept him on the sidelines.
Fans were very upset by this news, and soon after the announcement, he was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, and his jersey was retired.
Manute Bol – 7’7″
Manute Bol was born in Sudan in 1962, though he doesn't have an officially recorded birth date. The men and women in his family are incredibly tall, and his great-grandfather reached the mind-blowing height of 7’10″, which was even taller than Bol himself.
Bol is still one of the tallest players the NBA has ever known. After a decade in the NBA, Manute Bol easily became a fierce paint-defender. However, at a height of 7’7, he had issues staying healthy and experienced health problems due to his size.
Michael Phelps – 6’4″
Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time and America’s golden boy dedicated his whole life to becoming the best. With an astounding 28 Olympic medals under his belt, Phelps is known not only for his record-breaking success but also for his massive size.
Standing at 6ft 4in, Phelps has a body that seems tailor-made for swimming. He has long legs, enormous hands, and an incredible wingspan, all of which help him push himself through the water from one victory to the next. Recently, Phelps announced his retirement from swimming for the second time, but hopefully, he will be back soon to break even more records.
Jan Koller – 6’7.5″
Jan Koller was one of the tallest and heaviest soccer players in the history of the sport and has an impressive scoring record. Born in the Czech Republic, Koller began his training as a goalkeeper but was soon moved to striker due to his talent for putting the ball in the net. He played for teams such as Borussia Dortmund, Monaco, and Anderlecht.
He was also instrumental in leading the Czech Republic’s team to the Euro Cup semi-finals in 2004, where he played side-by-side with stars like Milan Baros, Pavel Nedved, and Tomas Rosicky. Later in his career, Koller played for French and Russian clubs and, in 2011, announced his retirement due to multiple injuries.
Rik Smits – 7’4″
Rik Smits may not be one of the tallest players in NBA history, but at 7 feet 4 inches, it’s easy to see why Smits, known as “The Dunking Dutchman,” dominated the game in his prime. Smits, who was born in The Netherlands, was known for more than just his height; he had good technical skills and was considered a smart player.
In 1998, he was even named as an NBA all-star. Smits played for his entire career with only one team, the Indian Pacers. I bet the good folks of Indiana appreciated the decision.