Michael Jordan (6ft 5½in), Ralph Sampson (7ft 4 in); Manute Bole (7ft 7 in), we sit and watch them in awe when playing. So, was it playing basketball as teenagers in basketball camps that resulted in them being tall? But on the other side, we also have Tyrone “Muggsy” Bogues (5ft 3in), Michael Adams (5ft 10in), Nate Robinson (5ft 9in) who may not be that tall but can slam dunk and perform equally well just like taller players.
Does playing basketball make one taller? Well, good nutrition can influence your height, though the main reason in determining the height is your genes.
But, there are many who believe that basketball can make you taller. There have been incidents among basketball players who have reported late growth spurts and also being the tallest in their families. However, this does not have any correlation because there are no scientific evidence to prove the theory. There are also instances where people haven’t grown taller.
But there are many hypothesis doing the rounds online. The act of jumping is more in basketball than in other sports like soccer, rugby, tennis, swimming, cheerleading, etc. One hypothesis suggests, as a result of jumping there is an increase in the blood flow to the growth plates found in legs and spine. When you jump, you temporarily suspend the spine and legs in the air which is followed by a compression combined with the force of gravity and the body weight of an individual. This increases the blood flow to the growth plates which is connected with growth-related hormones.
There is another hypothesis that suggests that as teenagers playing basketball, your growth plate can open because of sporadic shocks to the body system. There have been some studies to show that axial compression on the growth plates will inhibit longitudinal growth. Reason: If you do not land correctly on your feet, it can cause fractures in the growth plate. When there is a fracture, the brain responds by sending more blood to the fractured region which means carrying growth factors like BMPs and TGF-Betas. Occasional jumping can prevent the growth plates from being closed resulting in more blood flow. This way children can increase their height.
But does the same theory apply to gymnasts and martial artists since there is jumping involved? Well, research is still going on to prove these theories but for now playing basketball does not make you taller, it all depends on your genes and a good diet.