FanShot

SI: How rare are 7-foot people? Very very rare.

10

Great article by Sports Illustrated that I initially missed when it was published this summer and I don't think it was discussed on BE. Statistically, taking a really big guy (say, well, Greg) in the draft makes a lot of sense since there just aren't enough around. Much less ones who can actually move with any agility or shoot a ball well. So on the negative side, if you are that tall you also almost inevitably will get pushed to play basketball. Pablo S. Torre for Sports Illustrated: "An actual accounting of 7-footers, domestic or global, does not exist in any reliable form. National surveys by the Center for Disease Control list no head count or percentile at that height. (Only 5% of adult American males are 6'3" or taller.) "In terms of the growth spectrum, 7 feet is simply extreme," explains endocrinologist Shlomo Melmed, dean of the medical faculty at L.A.'s Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. The term 7-footer is itself a kind of outer limit, a far-off threshold beyond which precise measurement seems superfluous. A 6'4" guard isn't a 6-footer, after all. The curve shaped by the CDC's available statistics, however, does allow one to estimate the number of American men between the ages of 20 and 40 who are 7 feet or taller: fewer than 70 in all. Which indicates, by further extrapolation, that while the probability of, say, an American between 6'6" and 6'8" being an NBA player today stands at a mere 0.07%, it's a staggering 17% for someone 7 feet or taller." There is a lot more information than those dry facts in the article, including extensive quotes from Mark Eaton and Shawn Bradley as well as other players, and a discussion of everyday problems and injury issues. Well worth the time to read during this lull.

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