Why no "height classes" in basketball the same way we have weight classes is fighting sports?

Almost every single fighting & strength based sport is separated into different weight classes with people only competing within their class. This allows people with all different sorts of body shapes to train and compete with other people who are roughly equal to them.

Something like basketball on the other hand, only a tiny, tiny fraction of the population is even born with the genetic makeup to ever hope of attempting to play professionally. Why not add height classes to basketball so that more people are able to play the game? Has anyone proposed this? Would it make the game of basketball more entertaining IYO?

Combat sports are unique in that you simply cant put a 150 pound guy into the ring with a 250 pound guy and expect an even close result.

But put two 150 pound guys in the ring and you’ll get a just as, and often more entertaining match as compared to the big guys.

If you kept the basketball rim the same height, youll notice more missed shots and less dunks from the smaller guys league than the taller guys league and frankly it wont be just as exciting. You could lower the rim but then that’s an admission the shorter guys just aren’t as good. With boxing, no rules have to be changed between the weight classes.

On top of this, its easier to organize a promotion and match up two guys at the same weight; organizing an entire sports league with smaller guys is more complicated and again, why would I want to watch it when I could see the 7’0 guys play?

Your also picking on height---- what about we set up a baseball league with only guys with less than 20/20 vision? A football league where none of the players can run a 4-40? A hockey league with guys who just learned to skate? Or a soccer league with only one legged players?

I remember a very tall comedian who addressed the fact that he was never a basketball player, even as a kid: “I’m as tall as Larry Bird, but I play like Big Bird.”


We don’t have height classifications for gymnasts, either.

Another favorite joke:

“I’m tall and always get asked 'Do you play basketball?”

“How insulting! Do you go up to a short person and ask ‘Are you a jockey?’”

I find it interesting OP picked basketball when I think it’s actually got some of the most variety among professionals in terms of body size (along with football). It’s a sport where you can have 7’1" 340 lbs Shaq on the same court with 5’9" 185 lbs Isaiah Thomas.

I don’t know a lot about basketball, but I had a roommate once who did, and she tried explaining to me once how there was a position on basketball teams where it is actually advantageous to have a shorter guy (not a jockey, but maybe someone 5’10). Anyway, basketball players function as a team, and teamwork is as important as height. It’s not just a matter of throwing your height at the basket. It’s also a sport that requires gracility, from what I understand. The 5’7 guy might not have a chance, but the 6’4 guy with speed, grace, and good communication skills has a better chance of competing than a 6’10 oaf.

Plus, it’s a professional sport. You have to sell the tickets. I’ll bet if there were height divisions, people would not buy tickets to the “shorty” division. And the executives know that.

Same for horse-racing. Who would go to the tall jockey division of racing?

I mean, I don’t think anything’s* stopping* the idea of height divisions. There’s just not enough interest.

Also, as others have pointed out, shorties can always try as point guards.

Since a smaller man (lets keep concentarte on male sports here) can play competatively in basketball, despite being at a disadvantage.

A flyweight v a heavyweight, the gulf is too big to bridge in any realistic way.

We do see fighters moving up weight classes and some smaller guys do well and even win in the heavier categories. But even someone like 4 time heavyweight champion like Evander Holyfield, who started as a cruiserweight, struggled against big guys.

Just an FYI my Mom had a similar idea (something about averaging the height of players – maybe adjusting the basket height).
As mentioned above, this might make sense with one-on-one games, but a lot harder with teams.


There are foreign leagues with height maximums. E.g. the Phillipine Basketball Association doesn’t allow import players over a certain height (according to Wikipedia, 6’ 5" or 6’ 10", depending on the conference).

Another good one: “How’s the weather up there?” spits “It’s raining!”

This has been implemented quite a few times. The Korean league is implementing a height restriction on foreign players, the World Basketball League restricted all players to 6’ 5" (later 6’ 7"), and there appears to be something called Hoops Unlimited which ironically has height limits for 6’ 1" and 6’ 5" leagues. This last one seems closest to what the OP is looking for.

I go with, “No, do you play miniature golf?”


I used to join in a 6 foot and under basketball league. Very informal, unfortunately so informal that there were endless arguments about guys clearly taller than 6 feet playing.

Tall women playing basketball doesn’t sell tickets, short men playing basketball won’t either.

They have some local rec leagues with height/age requirements.

On a pro level, it’s not really necessary because there are so many positions. A lot of the strategy is creating matchup problems (the Warriors like to play small ball a lot because they don’t have a dominate center, so sometimes they start 6’6" Draymond Green as the C and just try to run circles around the opposition utilizing pristine passing and shooting).

Unless you’re an insane athlete like Muggsy Bogues (5’3"), Spud Webb (5’7"), Nate Robinson (5’9") or the likes, you’ll just have to suck it up and face the music … a career in the NBA might just not be in the cards. But that’s true for about 99.9% of the population, even if you ARE of above average height.

Yeah. My son looks destined to be quite a bit taller than average. I’m also here to tell you he is never going to be a professional athlete, unless tripping over air becomes a sport.

Both my husband and my brother are over six feet, and also phenomenal klutzes.

I once saw a TV show about Little People of America, an organization for people with dwarfism or genetic short stature. In case you’re wondering if their events included basketball and volleyball games, you’re right. :cool:

Interestingly, weightlifting is a very popular sport for (in particular) men with achondroplastic dwarfism, because they seem to have above-average upper body strength relative to their size, and there are no height limits in this sport - just weight limits.

Clearly not important in team events.

This was my answer. The OP is comparing a team sport to an individual sport.