Height gives you such an advantage on the court, you can dunk standing up and you can block shots without having to go in the air. Moreover, the intimidation factor alone is a big advantage itself. However, size has never guaranteed greatness for NBA athletes and it did not guarantee it for either of these players.
Problems like injuries and health issues have gotten in the way of both of these athletes careers. But one of them still managed to have a decent career. Moreover, the crowd was always in awe waiting for the giants to do something fun or extraordinary.
Let’s do a stats and career comparison:
Manute Bol (7-foot-7) Career (1985-1995): Washington Bullets, Golden State Warriors, Philadelphia 76ers, Miami Heat
GP:625 | Pts:1,599 | PPG:2.6 | FG: .407 | FT: 561 |Reb: 2,647 | RPG:4.2 | BLK:2,086 |BPG:3.3
Bol’s career was dominated by injuries after the San Diego Clippers (back when there were something) selected him in the fifth round. Bol weighed under 200 pounds despite being, together with Muresan, the tallest NBA player ever. For comparison, Fred VanVleet of the Toronto Raptors, a 6-foot-1 guard, weighs about the same.
Bol averaged just 2.6 points per game over the course of his protracted tenure in the Association. He did, however, twice lead the league in blocks. Bol played a grand total of 14 games with 3 different teams during his second to last NBA season. In 1994–1995, he played five games for the Golden State Warriors before calling it a career. Bol tragically died in 2010 at the early age of 47 as a result of acute kidney failure & problems from Stevens–Johnson syndrome.
Gheorghe Muresan (7-foot-7) Career (1993-2000): Washington Bullets, New Jersey Nets
GP: 307 | Pts: 3,020 | PPG: 9.8 | FG: 0.573| FT: 0.644 |Reb: 1,957 | RPG: 6.4 | BLK: 45 |BPG:1.5
The Romanian native, who costarred in the 1998 film “My Giant” with Billy Crystal, is perhaps best remembered for that part. Despite his size, the NBA has allowed him to carve out a respectable career. When playing for Washington in 1995–1996, he set a career high with 14.5 points and 9.6 rebounds while dominating the NBA in field goal percentage (58 percent).
Unfortunately, Muresan’s career was cut short by an injury, as has been the case with many of the tallest NBA players in history. In 1997, he had injuries to his back and knee, and he was never the same. Also, some trivia here. Muresan was a member of the tallest lineup in professional basketball in 2007 whilst playing for the Maryland Nighthawks of the now-defunct Atlantic Coast Pro Basketball League. Also some trivia here. Muresan was a member of the tallest starting lineup in basketball history in 2007, when he was a member of the Maryland Nighthawks of the now-defunct Atlantic Coast Professional Basketball League. The 7-foot-9 Sun Mingming was among them.
It seems that both players had a similar height but a very different type of build. Gheorghe Muresan had a better overall career, though Manute Bol was excellent defensively. Both had troubles with injuries and I’m sure if both players existed during the current NBA, they both would have had more prosperous careers. Since these days’ medical attention, training and almost everything related to player development is excellent.
If I were to choose one of these giants in my team, I’d pick a fully fit Gheorghe Muresan any day of the week and twice on Sundays.