Do you want to jump high? If you are a basketball player or an athlete of any kind, usually the answer to this question is a no-brainer. ‘Of course I want to jump high!’
Improving upon a vertical leap is almost an addiction for some athletes. Once they reach a certain number they then want to reach another and then another. It’s important to remember that a good bulk of a high vertical jump is only possible through natural talent.
You can work to improve upon a vertical leap and there are programs that will help improve the number, but an athlete who begins in the low to mid 20’s will rarely reach a 40+ vertical.
Think about the logics of this desire. Improving from a mid-20’s vertical jump to a 40+ vertical jump is asking to nearly double what you are currently jumping. It’s like asking a sprinter in the 100 yard dash to take a second off his time. It’s nearly impossible because the room for improvement is so great.
Consequently, I’m not asking you to give up on improving upon your vertical jump but rather to be realistic about your expectations and goals. Its okay to want to improve from a 24 inch vertical to a 28 inch vertical, but it’s highly unreasonable to seek a 40 inch vertical from a 24 inch attempt.
Highest Vertical Jump in NBA
Individuals often idolize NBA players and are inspired by their raw athleticism. People often ask me, ‘What is the highest vertical jump in NBA?’ or ‘Who are the top performers in the NBA in regards to the vertical jump?’
It’s a great question. My initial response is to take a look at David “Skywalker” Thompson, the player I like to refer as Jordan before Jordan. A lot of people do not know about David Thompson (because his career was sadly cut short), but he was an amazing player with a gift to rise above anyone on the court.
Experts estimate Skywalker’s vertical leap at anywhere between 44 and 48 inches and at a height of 6’4, its little wonder he received the nickname he owned.
When Jordan was inducted into The Hall of Fame earlier this year, Jordan invited Thompson as his personal escort, which says even more about him.
I always start with Thompson because I think he’s the poster boy for the vertical jump and a great place to start for some of the greatest leapers of all-time.
I could follow that up with obvious choices like Jordan (48”), Spud Webb (46”), Vince Carter (43”), and Dr. J (41”). I could then proceed to highlight some less know ballers who could flat out rise – guys like Darrell Griffith (48”), Dee Brown (44”), Harold Miner (44”), and Larry Nance (40”).
Highest Vertical Jump in NBA
Michael Jordan 48″ (122 cm) Darrell Griffith 48″ (122 cm) Spudd Webb 46″Dee Brown 44″Harold Miner 44″Vince Carter 43″Steve Francis 43″Antonio McDyess 42″Dominique Wilkins 42″Allen Iverson 41″ (104 cm) Dr. J 41″Julius Erving 41″Shawn Kemp 40″ (102 cm) Larry Nance 40″Rex Chapmann 39″Kobe Bryant 38″Desmond Mason 38″Ralph Sampson 36″Daryl Dawkins 34″Shaquille Oneal 32″Lamar Odom 32″Magic Johnson 30″Karl Malone 28″Larry Bird 28″
Some may ask, ‘If those are some of the greatest leapers of all-time, then who are the best jumpers in today’s game?’
If you look at the list above, you’ll only recognize a handful of active players like Vince Carter, Antonio McDyess, Allen Iverson, and Kobe Bryant. While all those guys can still play, most of them are well past their prime (aside from Kobe of course) and probably have lost an inch or two to their respectable verticals.
I have heard last year’s NBA Dunk Contest champion Nate Robinson has a reported mid to high 40’s vertical, along with 40+ jumpers Jason Richardson, LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and J.R. Smith.
Robinson is arguably the most impressive leaper on the current 40+ list considering he’s only 5’9 and often brings back memories of Spud Webb.