Highest Vertical Jump in NBA History

Their high-flying dunks leave us mesmerized, which is why we often wonder who has the highest vertical jump in NBA history.

We’ve gone through the files, draft records and other measurements made by athletic trainers to see which of the NBA players, past and present have hops that beat out all the others.

The statistics below were gathered from the NBA pre-draft records along with other documents where the jumping ability of the players were mentioned.

1. 48 inch Vertical Leap

  • Darrell Griffith

Darrell Griffith VerticalGoing up 48 inches into the air is former Utah Jazz star Darrell Griffith, also known to many as Dr. Dunkenstein for his ability to do acrobatics while gliding in the air. At 6’4” he was one of the early players who made the dunk popular.

2. 46 inch Vertical Leap

  • Michael Jordan
  • Zach LaVine
  • James White
  • Spud Webb

Michael Jordan Free Throw DunkAt the 46” club you have a set of 3 NBA Slam Dunk Contest champions in Michael Jordan, Zach LaVine and Spud Webb. The club also includes one bigger player in James White who’s known for his free throw line dunks.

3. 44 inch Vertcial Leap

  • Muggsy Bogues
  • Andrew Wiggins
  • David Thompson
  • Lebron James
  • Deshawn Stevenson
  • Harold Miner
  • Dee Brown
  • Shannon Brown

Andrew Wiggins Vertical LeapLed by the shortest player to play in the NBA, Muggsy Bogues may only be 5’3” tall but he can go up. He is joined by Lebron James and slam dunk veterans Harold Miner, Dee Brown, Shannon Brown and Deshawn Stevenson.

Two other very notable names are David Thompson who along with Dr. J were the first to make the dunk popular, and also rising star Andrew Wiggins.

There’s a lot of question about how high Lebron really goes since he hasn’t officially be measured in his career, or at least one that’s been mentioned publicly.

4. At 43.5 inches

  • Nate Robinson

Nate Robinson Dunking1At 5’9”, Nate Robinson is the only 3 time winner of the NBA’s Slam Dunk Content. He is one of the smallest players in the history of the NBA and along with Spud Webb among the most notable dunkers that stand under 6 feet tall.

5. 43 inch Vertical Jump

  • Vince Carter
  • Julius Erving (Dr. J)
  • Jamario Moon

Vince Carter Vertical LeapThis group includes two of the best NBA dunkers we’ve ever seen. Dr. J, also known as Julius Erving is probably the biggest pioneer of the slam dunk and the inspiration of players like Michael Jordan. If you look back at Erving’s dunks you’ll see the first glimpses of Jordan’s cradle dunk as well as the free throw line dunk.

After Jordan, the next great dunker that came along was Vince Carter. Well known for his leaping ability and scoring prowess he won the Slam Dunk Contest and also jumped over a 7’2” player in the Olympic Games.

6. At 42.5 inches

  • Speedy Claxton

At around 6 feet tall, Speedy Claxton is not only fast but can also get up over 42” at the peak of his jump. His athleticism allowed him to play against bigger point guards and do well.

7. 42 inch vertical jump

  • Jordan Farmar
  • Iman Shumpert
  • Ben McLemore
  • Victor Oladipo

Victor Oladipo Jump Over Chair 1According to their NBA pre-draft statistics, these 4 players reached the 42 inch mark. We’ve seen McLemore and Oladipo show their abilities in the Slam Dunk Contest, and were pleasantly surprised to see Jordan Farmer go up that high.

8. 41 inch vertical

  • JR Rider
  • O.J. Mayo

JR Rider Slam Dunk 1Former NBA Slam Dunk Content winner JR Rider is joined by O.J. Mayo at 41”.

9. At 40.5 inches

  • Mike Conley
  • Nick Young
  • Rudy Gay
  • Brandon Roy
  • Matt Barnes
  • Glen Rice

A few surprising names pop up at 40.5” including Mike Conley and Matt Barnes. You don’t often hear their names being mentioned when it comes to leaping ability or dunking the basketball.

In this pack you also have some well known sky walkers in the likes of Rudy Gay, Brandon Roy, Nick Young and Glen Rice.

10. 40 inch vertical jump

  • Tracy McGrady
  • Eric Gordon
  • Derrick Rose
  • Jonny Flynn

Derrick Rose Vertical Leap 1The 40 inch vertical jump barrier is probably the most well known benchmark that everyone wants to achieve. Those who’ve done in include Tracy McGrady and Derrick Rose.

11. At 39.5 inches

  • Aaron Brooks
  • Josh Smith
  • Jason Richardon
  • Kemba Walker
  • Harrison Barnes

Jason Richardson Jump 1As with most of the list, you’ll notice that the NBA players that just missed the 40 inch mark are all younger players. There are 2 reasons for this, one that the art of jumping high wasn’t that much of a thing until Michael Jordan made it popular around the mid-1980s.

Before that guys like Dr. J and David Thompson were considered exceptions. Today, jump training is part of the game so more players are able to reach higher.

The other reason is measuring jumps weren’t a big thing back then, so there weren’t a lot of measuring back in the day. It’s been more documented because it is now a part of the pre-draft skill tests.

12. 39 inch vertical jump

  • Gerald Green

Gerald Green Head on Rim 1One of the biggest surprises that caught our eye while making this list is Gerald Green. We had expected his max vertical to be above 40 inches easily. Based on the NBA pre-draft measurements, the high flying Green gets up at 39 inches.


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