A question that everyone asks when they want to dunk is…
How tall do you need to be to dunk?
This question is so common that I decided to address it.
There are different variables to consider how tall do you need to be to dunk a basketball.
I will go through each of these variables so you can grasp a better understanding.
By the end of the article, you might have the information or the motivation where you can go out and slam dunk yourself.
Average Height of NBA players
When athletes are thinking about dunking, they direct their minds to NBA players.
The average height of an NBA player is 6 ft 7 in…
At this height, it is easy to rise up and dunk a basketball.
While the average height of a male globally is only 5 ft 6 in…
At this height is considerably more difficult to dunk a basketball.
While being taller makes it easier to dunk, there are some downsides to being tall.
The taller you are, especially once you get closer to 7 feet, your vertical ability decreases…
With a few exceptions like Wilt Chamberlain, who is said to have a 48” inch vertical…
Obviously, height is an advantage to slam dunking, but short people can do it too.
There are some great dunkers that played in the NBA that are under 6 feet.
So, if you are reading this and you are under 6 feet and have a dream to dunk…
There is still hope for you, and you can do it.
Standing reach is how high you can reach while standing…
This measurement can vary depending on height and arm length.
If two players are the same height of 6 feet but player A has a higher standing reach than player B meaning that player A has longer arms.
Arm length is a significant factor for shorter players and taller players to dunk because they do not have to jump as high…
Look at professional players like Rajon Rondo, who is 6-foot-1 inch but has a wingspan of 6 foot 9 inches.
While taller players like Kawhi Leonard are 6’7 and have a wingspan of 7’3.
One study suggests that the adult male has a wingspan that is 2.1 inches longer than their height…
Rondo is way above that average.
While if you look at the 2014 wingspan statistics, you will see that the NBA player’s average wingspan measured at 4.8 inches longer than their height.
Basketball favors players with longer arms, and for a good reason, it is easier for these players to dunk and reach higher in the air to grab the ball off a pass or a rebound.
Being tall does make it easier to dunk, but long arms also make it easier.
The main aspect that everyone athlete looks at when trying to figure out how they can achieve their goal of dunking is their vertical jump.
There is no doubt that your vertical plays a huge role in if you can dunk or not.
The higher you’re vertical, the more likely you will be able to dunk.
Athletes focus on the vertical jump because it can be trained, unlike height and arm length are determined by genetics.
I personally completed the training program Vert Shock and have shown major successes; you can check out and learn more about my experience with the jump program.
Different people are at different levels when it comes to their vertical jump…
If you would like to see where you are, check out the chart below…
Height is another important aspect to take into account…
let’s take a deeper dive to see which heights make it easier to dunk than others.
Players at this height tend to have trouble dunking and playing above the rim…
Athletes at this height need to put in serious work to jump high enough to slam the ball through the rim.
This feat is not impossible to achieve just will be extremely difficult…
Let’s say a player is 5’5 and has a standing reach of 7 feet and 5 inches.
You will need to jump 31 inches to even touch the rim with your fingertips…
This means you will need to jump around 37 inches to dunk; having this type of vertical will have you in the company of top-tier athletes.
The NBA has some players who have incredibly high verticals, and some players even have a 40+ inch vertical.
These NBA players can put on a show every night by dunking when they step on the court.
Players that are popular such as Spud Webb and Nate Robinson have extremely impressive verticals and are considered some of the best dunkers under 6 feet.
Robinson at 5’9 and Webb at 5’7 both won an NBA slam dunk contest.
Robinson won the contest three times, while Webb won 1 time.
Being under 6 feet makes it challenging to dunk…
But it is still possible, for inspiration, you should check out the greatest dunkers under 6 feet to ever play in the NBA.
At this height, you will need to train hard, because you will need some serious hops to get to the rim.
A person at this height will need to jump roughly 30 inches to dunk the basketball…
Being 6 foot makes it easier to dunk than being 5’9 because taller people typically have longer arms making their standing reach greater…
While adding those last few inches to dunk, which are the hardest to gain when training your vertical.
At this height range, if you train hard, you will become a constant dunker.
Once you are over 6 feet, it becomes much easier for a person to dunk…
Most athletic people at this height will be able to dunk comfortably with very little vertical training.
If unfit physically, then vertical training will need to take place for a person to be able to dunk.
Most NFL players and even college football players are around this height…
Due to football’s style of play, football players are typically better jumpers and more explosive than basketball players.
Dunking usually poses no problems for football players at this height, due to the average vertical of an NFL player being 40” inches.
Easy 6’5 and above
At this height, you will still need to be physically fit to dunk a basketball unless a person is closer to the 7-foot mark…
With barely any vertical training, a person who is 6’5 or taller should be dunking fairly easily.
Being this tall lets a person have a huge advantage or an average person.
Something to keep in mind is that the taller the person, the less athletic and slower they usually become.
Of course, there are exceptions to this rule, such as Shaquille O’Neal, also known as Shaq.
Shaq was unusually athletic for being a 7-footer, being able to run up and down the court and dominate his opponents.
When looking at dunking, being tall is definitely an advantage.
Having Trouble Dunking?
Want to dunk, but can not seem to get the hops necessary?
Truthfully, this is a problem with a lot of people, so you are not alone…
I had this exact problem before I found Vert Shock, and the jump program helped me gain 11 inches.
Check out my review here.
Vertical training programs are a way to take the guessing of what works and take the burden off of you to research.
Many players I know go on YouTube and search “How to increase my vertical,” and they try the exercises in these videos and get no results…
Because of this, they will get discouraged and give up on dunking forever.
I know this because I have been there too.
So, if you are serious about increasing your vertical or getting your first dunk…
Check out our top vertical training programs.
I already did all the research for you, so you do not have to.
These programs are for beginners and experienced people in the vertical training world.