In the NBA, height has long been king. Being tall is a big advantage, especially when players have speed and strength to back it up. However, there are some disadvantages as well. That’s why so many greats are tall, without being too slow or too bulky.
How tall is Michael Jordan? His real height is 6’6 (198 cm).
The following article breaks down Michael Jordan’s height, and shows why his size allowed him to take over the NBA. It wasn’t just that he had a strong frame, it was that he was able to do things with that frame that very few other athletes could.
Ups and Downs
Height is extremely easy to focus on when looking at NBA talent, but it’s not that simple. Taller players have plenty of advantages, but they have ample disadvantages too. That’s a big trade off that keeps the league in balance.
For the most part, guards are extremely quick. That allows them to drive, get the ball out, and run up and down the court. Big men tend to be stronger and more powerful, but they get exposed when matching up against a smaller player with a lot of ball or body control.
The key is to break that mold. That’s why modern big men, who have the ability to both drive and shoot, are so valuable. In the same vein, guards have gotten bigger and added a lot of heft to their fast off-dribble shots and strong drives.
That’s the norm for modern basketball, but in the past it was shooting guards and small forwards who achieved that balance. Jordan was a perfect example.
The Middle Ground
The Bulls legend stands 6’6. That’s a great height for various reasons.
First, it gave the G.O.A.T a lot of size without making him too big or slow. A frame like that allows a player to generate a lot of power, but it’s not so much heft that it greatly hinders their ability in the open court.
Jordan made a living off of strong drives, quick pull up shots, and incredibly acrobatic layups. He used his quickness to get into the lane or drive past defenders, and then used his body to push through, between, or over opponents and finish the shot.
He didn’t have to overcompensate for an undersized frame, nor did he need to try and work on getting faster. He had a little bit of everything, and it paid off in a big way.
Average, but Mighty
While Jordan’s height came with many advantages, it’s important to note he wasn’t terribly large for his size either. In today’s NBA, bigger is better than ever. The league got smaller during the 2010’s in response to the surge in three shooting, but then it sized up.
On the whole, just about every position has gotten shorter over the past ten years. Superstars, on the other hand, have gotten much bigger. The faces of franchises are players who have a lot of talent inside a bigger frame that they can move extremely well.
Jordan stood just an inch or so above the league average for shooting guards when he played. He didn’t tower over his opponents, nor was his size that much bigger than those he faced off against. That went double when he got into the lane or played towards the basket.
The Importance of Being Good
The league was much tougher when Jordan played. Defenders got away with a lot more, fouls weren’t called as much, and there was a large emphasis on grit. As such, he couldn’t simply dominate in the way that modern big men can.
What made Jordan so special was his ability to score in numerous ways. He didn’t just play at a high level, he played at a high level that made the best use of what he had. His height informed his game, but it was how he played that truly set him apart from everything else.
The superstar had a ton of skill, but he also had a mind for the game, which enabled him to make the right play at the right time. It’s not about always being a physical specimen. It’s often about playing the best hand with the cards you’re dealt.
Jordan is arguably the greatest basketball player of all time, but he wasn’t that much taller than the rest of the competition. He had a ton of skill, raw athleticism, and IQ. Those three factors helped him thrive against bigger players and score down low.
Jordan is a perfect example of height being important, but not amounting to everything. Though it’s easy to assume that taller means better, that’s now always true. Nobody proves that better than the G.O.A.T.