You Can’t Teach Height: Bol vs. Bradley vs. Muresan vs. Smits
Tuesday , Apr , 30 , 2013 Paul Eide

You Can’t Teach Height: Bol vs. Bradley vs. Muresan vs. Smits

Watching Andrew Bogut cram on JaVale McGee last night made me yearn for the big men of old.

HoopsVibe Very Quick Call: Sure, there's some big dudes in this year's NBA playoffs, but where are the freaks?

Here's Bogut's jam in case you missed it:

I have always been fascinated by huge NBA players, particularly players over seven feet tall. Because when you see a seven footer in person, it’s almost cartoonish how big they are. But what about guys that are another half foot or more above that?

For as rare as it is to have one of these guys in the NBA at one time, the 1993-94 season saw four separate players 7-4 or above in the league; Manute Bol, Shawn Bradley, Gheorge Muresan and Rik Smits.

At 7-7, Bol and Muresan are the two tallest players to ever play in the NBA, with Bradley and Yao Ming tied for third. Interestingly, Bol’s height was the result of his genetics while Muresan’s was the result of a pituitary disorder.

Even though they were all 7-4 or above they each had different skill sets. Bol was a straight shot blocker, who led the league in blocks twice, who would occasionally drift behind the three point line and nail a three, which looked especially weird. In 1992-93 he actually shot a respectable 31% from downtown. Statistically he actually ended up with more blocks than points in his career (2,086 vs. 1,599). Toward the end of his career Bol played for both the 76ers and Bullets specifically for the purpose of mentoring Bradley and Muresan.

Muresan was more prone to offense and led the lead in field goal percentage twice. Strangely at 7-7, his career average for blocked shots per game is only 1.5. I remember playing as him in NBA Live 96 for Sega and how incredibly slow he was, just like in real life.

Bradley was the most athletic of the four but that was almost his undoing in certain regards because he didn’t just focus on one thing. He led the league in blocks once, but he got posterized as much as any big man in history which warps public perception of his career.

Interestingly, Bradley had two of the best games of his career against Muresan. In the 1995-96 season he tallied a season high 27 points against him, adding 9 rebounds and four blocks. The next season he had his first career triple double on Muresan, with 19 points, 17 rebounds and 11 blocks.

Smits had the most success of any player 7-4 or above in NBA history. In a 12 year career, Smits averaged 14.8 ppg, 6.1 rpg and 1.3 bpg for his career. He was an all-star in 1998 and played in the NBA Finals.

But what’s interesting is even though they were the biggest guys on the court, they were also the most fragile and for whatever reason unable to handle the pounding on their bodies for long. All four players’ careers were ultimately ended due to lower leg injuries.

Who was your favorite freakishly tall NBA player? Did I hear someone say Chuck Nevitt??

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Top Five Old School NBA “Stiffs”
Tuesday , Oct , 23 , 2012 Paul Eide

Top Five Old School NBA “Stiffs”

It's always fun to watch a "stiff" get dunked on.

HoopsVibe Very Quick Call: Old school stiffs seemed somehow even more helpless, didn't they?

Yesterday I purchased a VHS copy of "All New Dazzling Dunks And Basketball Bloopers" from a local thrift store for $1. Released in 1990, hours of my childhood were spent watching this "tape" hosted by Marv Albert and the hilariously stupid Frank Layden. As I was watching it, I had a realization- certain "stiffs" kept getting dunked on over, and over.

So, what is a stiff? A tall guy who gets dunked on or posterized repeatedly by multiple dunkers, while offering little resistance, time and time again. And sure, we all know about present day NBA stiffs, but who were the forerunners? Who popularized being a stiff?

Here is a top five breakdown of some of my favorite old school stiffs.

Mark Eaton

Eaton was a two time NBA defensive player of the year and still is the NBA's all time leader in blocks in a season (456) and career blocks per game average (3.50) But what made Eaton a posterizing favorite was his hulking bulid and lack of a vertical leap. At 7-4 with a wingspan of about eight feet, dunking on him always looked cool. My favorite was this dunk by a young 6-1 Kevin Johnson.

Shawn Bradley

He always looked so hapless, didn't he? Arms flailing, head near the rim, paper thing and pasty as could be. Hapless is the perfect word to describe the 7-6 Bradley. For as big as he was, he lacked a mean streak which is why opposing players loved to challenge him at the rim. He wasn't a horrible player, leading the league in blocks multiple times and was the first player in NBA history to record consecutive games of double-figure blocked shots twice in a single season. But he got dunked on A LOT. And, had an abnormally large head.

Manute Bol

Bol lead the league in blocks twice and had an affinity for shooting three pointers making 43 of 205 career attempts. At 7-7 and roughly 200 pounds, Bol's rail thin physique was constantly assaulted near the rim.

Greg Ostertag

7-2, no vertical, rocking the crew cut. It used to be hilarious to watch Karl Malone yell at him mid-game for screwing up.

Chuck Nevitt

At 7-5, Nevitt was one of the first really big dudes/stiffs in the NBA. And he is still the tallest player to win an NBA title, winning one with the Lakers in 1985. And that mustache, oh that mustache.

Who is your favorite old school victim?

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