If you’re a sports fan (or just a curious person who loves trivia), you might be wondering, who holds the world record for the highest vertical jump? No matter your reason, I’m going to attempt to answer that. There aren’t any official records from any sports federations, so we’ll be looking at the highest jump from combine and draft records over a few different sports. Who (unofficially) holds the record for the highest jump overall and in the NBA, NFL (yes, you read that correctly) and volleyball? Who holds the official Guinness World Record? I’ll answer that too.
Before I get into that, I thought I would briefly go over the types of vertical jumps because they affect the height. There’s, of course, the standstill and running jump (these are limited to a few steps in these cases) we’re familiar with. There’s also the platform jump. The first two are self explanatory, but in case you’re wondering, the platform jump is where you jump from the ground onto a platform, or other structure. The most important statistic for the NBA and NFL is the standing vertical jump…
So, who holds the official Guinness World record for the highest vertical jump? The person who holds the world record is… Evan Unger from Canada (2016). He has an incredible platform jump of 63.5″! The platform jump achieves the highest jump because you tuck your legs to execute it…
Who Has the Highest Jump in the NBA?
The person who holds the unofficial record for the highest standing vertical jump is…Dwayne Mitchell at 38″ in 2012. Justin Anderson tied that record in 2015. This is the all time record. Joel Bolomboy and Demetrius Jackson both accomplished an impressive 37.5″ jump in 2016.
For running jumps, the record belongs to… Micheal Jordan at 46″ from his tests before the 1984 draft.
Zach LaVine and James White tied this later. Of course, as mentioned earlier, there’s only a few steps allowed in a running jump and Micheal Jordan may have even surpassed this in his career.
Other notable people are: Kenny Gregory. He managed an impressive 44.5″ in 2001 and Shannon Brown. Followed by a respectable 44″ by Pat Connaughton in 2015, Andrew Wiggins and Muggsy Bogues (which is extremely impressive since Bogues is 5′ 3″).
Related: How Tall Do You Have to Be to Dunk?
Other NBA star players’ vertical jumps worth mentioning:
- * Nate Robinsin (43.5″)
*He famously jumped over Spud Webb (5′ 7″) to complete a spectacular dunk. He uses weight training to keep in shape…
- Vince Carter (43″)
- Iman Shumpert
- Ben McLemore (42″)
- Victor Oladipo
- Isaiah Rider (41″)
- O.J. Mayo
- * LeBron James
*Though we know he’s achieved a leap of over 40″, none were recorded.
- Rudy Gay
- Miles Plumlee (40.5″)
- Nick Young
- Mike Conley
- Derrick Rose
- Eric Blednose (40″)
- Tracy McGrady
- Josh Smith
- Harrison Barnes (39.5″)
- Tyrus Thomas
- John Wall
- Gerald Green (39″)
- Bradley Beal
- Jimmy Butler
- DeMar DeRozan (38.5″)
- Chase Budinger
The Highest Jumps in the NFL?
I know you usually don’t think of vertical jumps when you think of the NFL, so this was a surprise to me too. We usually think of tackles and sprints, but apparently they really can jump too! The person who holds the unofficial record for highest standing jump is… Gerald Sansabaugh from the NFL in 2005 at a whopping 46″! Surprised? So was I… Following that up at a decent 45″, are: Chris Conley (2015) and Donald Washington (2009).
Another person I should mention is Bryon Jones – with 44.5″. This is not a vertical jump. It’s a broad jump, but noteworthy, nonetheless.
*The NFL Combine doesn’t measure running jumps, but an educated guess would be 50+”, since we know a running start can add about 4″ to a leap*
And How about Volleyball?
This should come as no surprise that volleyball players can jump high too. Although there’s no official records, at least that are available to the public, the distinction of volleyball’s best known high jumper belongs to Leonal Marshall at 50″. Marshall is a Cuban volleyball player who plays internationally.
I thought that I should add a section on volleyball, even with scanty information available (at least about jump heights), because it’s still a sport that requires a lot of power and jumping. I mean we’ve all either played it in gym, or even if you’re not a fan (or maybe you are), have seen it on TV, so it deserves mention too.
How Can NFL Players Jump so High?
It’s not surprising NBA and volleyball players have impressive vertical jump heights, but how can NFL players jump so high?
It’s how they train. Basketball players need to train for endurance. Basketball is more of an intense mini marathon. Football players train for strength and explosiveness. More sprints and dashes, leaping, tackles, etc…
And, although football players are by no means small individuals, basketball players are generally taller. Hoops are typically set at 10′ and with a long reach, they usually don’t need to jump that high comparatively. Football players use more of what are called “explosive leaps”, which use different muscles.
While it was hard to pin down official records (at least through the different sports), this was a fun look at some very impressive unofficial records for highest vertical jumps. Guinness doesn’t record all cases because they’d have to confirm them, but there’s a case of a person accomplishing greater feats of defying gravity, which I’ll add below. And call me biased, since I’m Canadian, but I couldn’t help but feel proud that the official record for a platform jump is held by a fellow Canadian…
Another Guinness World record I should mention is Micheal Wilson, a former Harlem Globetrotter, achieving the world’s highest slam dunk in 2000. The rim was 12 feet high.
Finally, as promised, the other person who’s recorded at surpassing Evan Unger, even if it is unofficially… Kevin Bania. He achieved a jaw dropping 65″ leap! An honorable mention: Kadour Ziani was believed to have the highest jump (which we know isn’t), is still an impressive 60″.