What is it like being an athlete over 7 feet tall? According to David Gardner of Bleacher Report, it is both a blessing and a curse. In Gardner’s recent article on how the demand for extremely tall basketball players is shifting, he explores the fact that being tall is no longer enough to guarantee a place in the NBA. Gardner quotes one NBA front-office executive on why a career as a center is no longer an automatic slam-dunk: "It used to be that if you were 7 feet tall and alive, you'd get a look. … [But now] you have to be able to show a whole lot of skills."
As Gardner succinctly puts it, “In short, it takes more than height to reach the NBA.” As a former team consultant for the LA Clippers, Dr. Robert Bray from DISC Sports & Spine Center noted that not only is it hard to prove yourself on the court, but it is also hard to simply live your life as someone with above average height.
Dr. Bray explained some of the daily difficulties of extra height to Gardner: "The world ends at about 6'5". You can't fit in a plane seat. You can't drive certain types of cars. You can't buy clothes except for at big-and-tall stores. Standard office desks and chairs are of no use to you. Your accessibility across the board is limited."
So if your child shoots up past the 99 percentile at their next checkup and you start to wonder if basketball is in their future, read Gardner’s article first. Not only will it tell you that a scholarship may not be something to count on, but it will give you insights into the growing pains that your child will face in the coming years.
About the author
Robert S. Bray, Jr., M.D. Nicknamed “Dr. Fix-It” by The Red Bulletin, Robert S. Bray, Jr., M.D. makes an art of helping the world’s most elite athletes return to push the boundaries of performance. The neurological spine surgeon, recognized globally for his thorough diagnoses and pioneering minimally invasive approach, is quickly redefining sports medicine, one champion at a time. Dr. Bray founded the state-of-the-art, multi-disciplinary DISC Sports & Spine Center (DISC) in 2006 located in Los Angeles, CA. Read more articles by Robert S. Bray, Jr., M.D..