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What Are The Best Vertical Jumps In The NBA
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What are the best vertical jumps in the NBA?

Just for fun we will take a look at some of the greatest jumpers in the NBA, and then see if we can't learn something that applies to our own jumping ability. Before we dig into the NBA lets look at what has been established as the upper limit for vertical leaps. For those of you that thought a 40" vertical was huge Kadour Ziani of Slamnation holds the world record vertical jump at 61". That's over 5 feet straight up into the air. By the way, for anyone that thinks you have to be tall to be a jumper, Kadour is only 5' 10" tall. Just for a bit of perspective, his maximum jump places his head nearly 11 feet in the air, almost a foot above a standard 10 foot goal. Now that's getting ABOVE THE RIM.

Big Jumping Young Guns

I got the following numbers for topendsports.com, but you can find them all over the web. The best vertical leap drafted into the NBA was Kenny Gregory at 45.5", in 2001. Now, if you're jumping 45" into the air I don't know that the .5" is really necessary, but I don't want to take anything away from Kenny, lol. Holding the number 2 and 3 spots are Nate Robinson and Tim Bowers tied at 43.5" and both from 2004. I suppose when you're tied with someone else that .5" starts to matter a lot more. Those are some pretty impressive numbers considering the average vertical jump of an NCAA basketball player is a mere 29".

Top Jumping Pro Ballers

As for the pro's top honors goes to Jameel "Superman" Pugh. He could launch his 6' 5" frame 50" straight up. Wilt Chamberlain, standing 7' 1" had an amazing 48" vertical. Both Michael Jordan and Scotty Pippen were also sporting a 48" vertical. Spudd Webb at only 5' 7" could leap 46". For a bit of perspective, a 5' 7" player with a 46" vertical, such as Spudd Webb, would have a rebounding ability similar Shaq's, as far as gaining elevation.

The Other End of Flying High

As I continued my research I was surprised to find some of the greats had verticals at or under 30" Magic Johnson, Karl Malone, and Larry Bird all stood 6' 9" and posted verticals between 28" and 30". Yao Ming best jump, standing 7' 6" tall, was only 26". Of course, when you can stand flat footed and reach above the rim, how high do you really need to be able to jump. For Yao, doing a lay-up is the equivalent of an average person placing a ball on top of their refrigerator.

So, what do these numbers tell us about our jumping potential?

Conventional wisdom tells us that the best jumpers are tall slender athletes, but we can easily see this isn't true since the #1 and #2 world record vertical jumps are held by men at are 5' 10" and 5' 7" tall. So what do all these great jumpers have in common? The all have an amazing work ethic, a dedication to fitness excellence, and access to the most advanced training techniques in the world. I believe, and it has been shown time and time again, that any athlete with even moderate fitness ability can achieve a vertical jump of 40"+ through hard work, focus, and proper training. Now, you have to provide the hard work and focus, but if you are willing to bring your vertical jump training to the next level, learning the advanced techniques to take your vertical through the roof.


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