Tall Chinese

I’ve asked a Chinese friend who doesn’t seem to know,or just never questioned it.Where do these tall Chinese basketball players come from?I’m thinking specifically of the 7’4 or 5’'guy the NBA is thinking of drafting.

Certain gene pools,like the Baltic and South Slovene/Croation in addition to the African seem to have a disproportionate amount of tall (6’8’’+ males),than say,Peoria.

Where is this area of China that these giants seem to have a bigger proportion than the average,Or isn’t there one?Would appreciate any links.

Here it says

so I imagine he’s just at the top of the bell curve with the added benefit of tall genes.

BTW, saw a pic of him in the paper today and he’s a nice looking, normal-looking (reallllly tall) guy.

Shandong Province is known for it’s tall people. Actually, contracted out as laborers during WW1 in France because they were so big.

The Chinese that originally came from China tot he West in the 1800’s were from Canton (Guangzhou) Province in southern China near HK. They are predominately short. So, places like america used to have people from perhaps the shortest area in China. Then the view that Chinese are short predominated.

BTW, I mentioned the Han Chinese, which make up 96% of the Chinese population in China. Tibetans from the eastern region of Kham are quite tall. I’m 5’11" and I felt quite short during my trips there. 6’4" was not an unusual height.

Another friend of mine is 6’7", when he went to Inner Mongolia, he said he ran into plenty of Mongolians that were his height or taller. Both the Tibetans and Mongolians are big strapping guys and not the tall and skinny type.

Common misconception: Asian peoples are short. Scandinavians are tall. Southern Europeans are stocky. Etc. etc. etc.

Being tall is not purely a genetic ‘disorder’. It seems to have a lot to do with inherited metabolism factors handed down through proteins rather than genes. It is obviously also an effect of diet and such.

Certain population groups have a disproportionate amount of tall people and vice versa.

On the tall side you’ll find that population groups in for instance Ethiopia, Western Sahara, Some Parts of Central Europe, Scandinavia and Northern China drive the average height unusually much upwards. While the European average for men is just under 180cm (5’ 10’’) Sweden for instance notes a 185 cm (6’ 7/9’’) average. The spread of the population is however mostly within the normal range even in these regions with an overrepresentation in the upper ranges. Basically the bell curve is just a little longer on the tall end of ‘short-tall’ axis, hence the median point shifts to taller.

Sparc (200 cm [6’ 6’'3/4])

>> Canton (Guangzhou) Province

Guangzhou shi ist das kapital of Guangdong province (I know you know that and it was just a mistake but I mention it in case anyone might be confused) and both are “Canton” in English although I figure the word “Canton” is derived from the name of the province.

There’s over a billion people in China. Even if the Chinese were shorter than the average in the rest of the world (and it’s not clear that that’s true), in a sample of a billion people you’re going to find a few very tall people.

That was the answer my friend gave me,but an extension of that would be where are the Indian NBA (or international) players?

I think China Guy nailed it,as the other Chinese Bball players don’t seem to be Han.

Hehe, I think you mean that he is at the bottom edge of the bell curve.

Maybe there are strong youth basketball leagues in China, but not in India. The quality of the competition one gets as a young player has at least as much to do with one’s athletic achievements than one’s physical assets. The notion that everyone with a certain ethnic ancestry must be fairly close to the average height for that group is clearly nonsense. I’m of German, English, and Swiss ancestry. I’m also 4’ 11". Most of my relatives are fairly short too.

here is simply no basis for such a thing as average height based on ethnic ancestry. Immediate ancestry; maybe. Ethnic; no friggin’ way. Even immediate is to a certain degree crock. Take me and my bro: Him: slightly below average Scandinavian height. Me: 1/2 foot (15 cm) above average Scandinavian height.

Read my previous post again.

Give up on the ethnic and ‘race’ BS, will ya!



It’s not clear who your post is directed to, but I agree with your point. I was disagreeing with Lure, who is the one who seems to think that ethnic ancestry is the major thing determining one’s height.

I heard that Yao’s mom was 6’5 or around there.

TO both of the posters that seem hellbent to associate my question with a nonPC racial/ethnic slur.
I asked a QUESTION-meaning I have no opinion,but would like to be enlightened if it’s merely chance or a regional characteristic.

I know enough about anthropology/genetics/nutrition to not be a complete blathering idiot in those fields,and a fair amount of intelligence to dissect FACTS-what I asked for.

Meer chance doesn’t explain the Letts or Croats,nor do the Bball programs developed there.

Don Nelson didn’t bother to go to England,eg,were he knows the language to work in camps-he went where he had a better chance of finding NBA type talent in a country with a far smaller population base.

Whether you’d like to believe it or not your physical appearance is always going to be dictated by your racial/ethnic stock-the more closely bred the more adherence to a physical type.Is there something wrong with this,ie:nonPC, that I’m not getting?

here is simply no basis for such a thing as average height based on ethnic ancestry. Immediate ancestry; maybe. Ethnic; no friggin’ way. Even immediate is to a certain degree crock. Take me and my bro: Him: slightly below average Scandinavian height. Me: 1/2 foot (15 cm) above average Scandinavian height.

Read my previous post again.

Give up on the ethnic and ‘race’ BS, will ya!


Sorry about that. I pressed back on the browser and double posted. I did NOT intend to make my point by repetition. :o

Lure I wasn’t implying that you were being un-PC. You’re question is an interesting one and if I came across as harsh, that was just brevity. I had no intent to be argumentative…maybe my first post needs some qualification;

The last couple of years of research in genetics has proven that the concept of human ‘race’ does not have any basis in biology, nor anthropology. However, I’ll leave that rather more complicated debate aside (there are already a number of threads in Great Debates that have dealt with this issue).

My point was and is that you seem to be mixing up the erroneous concept of ‘race’ with discrete population groups. Even if there would be such a thing as ‘race’, the phenotype ‘tallness’ would not be part of characteristics that could be grouped into such a concept. Tallness exists all over the world in all population groups. Certain discrete groups in regions previously mentioned have an overrepresentation of tallness. To argue that this is then an ethnic quality is also incorrect since ethnicity needs to be used to describe cultural origin in order to not just become a euphemism for the concept ‘race’; which as already mentioned, is moot.

The biological reasons for tallness have yet not been understood. It is clear that genetics alone does not explain it and in more recent research an eye is being cast at the role of proteins and metabolism that we could possibly inherent from our parents in non-genetic ways yet to be discovered.

Remember that the areas in discussion, such as Croatia, Eastern Ethiopia, Western Tanzania , Sweden or the Shandong Province have pretty small portion of the respective continental population, and even in these regions we giants aren’t the norm. :wink:

Little bit of trivia related to the topic: One of the whackiest guys in history was Frederic William I of Prussia, who in the 18th century driven by some strange obsession with tallness decided to create a company of grenadiers called the Potsdam Giant Guards with a minimum height for enlistment of 6’4’’. He quickly ran out of tall men to forcefully enlist in Prussia so he resorted to kidnapping tall guys all over the European continent. To secure the future of the grenadiers he forced tall men and women in Prussia to marry, hoping that they’d be good citizens and make new little grenadier stock for him.

Kings, queens and politicians all over Europe made it a habit to bribe him with a small gift of tall men as soon as they wanted something; it always worked. Tsar Peter the Great of Russia (incidentally also a collector of ‘freaks’) once gave him ‘six tall and healthy men of varied Russian stock, all of 6’4’’ or more’ and the Saxon foreign minister once sent him some birthday presents with a courier of significant size and ended the attached missive ‘PS Keep the delivery boy DS’. By the time FWI went yonder to his maker the Grenadiers counted over 2000 men. Forceful enlistment in the NBA somehow doesn’t look that bad suddenly. :smiley: