Who has the Highest Vertical Jump in NBA History?

There are lots of questions about who has the highest vertical in NBA history.

While the question may never be fully answered because some of the great leapers like Dr. J and David Thompson were never really tested officially, we now have the technology and testing methods in place so that we pretty much know who can jump the highest among the best professional basketball players in the world.

Below is a compilation of the best leapers in the NBA based on their highest vertical leap that’s been recorded, usually be some official organization or via the NBA draft combine where the testing is standard.

Unfortunately, this rules out some of the said highest jumpers because we’re not sure how high they really got up without any documented facts. A few examples are David Thompson who’s said to have a 44” inch vertical, and Darrell Griffith who was told to jump up 48” back in the 1980’s

Players with the Highest Vertical Jump in NBA History

1. Max Vertical Jump: 46 inches

  •  Michael Jordan
  • Zach LaVine
  • James White

Michael Jordan vertical leap

Listed among the top NBA leapers are is no other that his “Airness” Michael Jordan. While there’s no question this he can jump high and jump far, the actual vertical height often comes into question as far as Jordan is concerned.

Documents from his North Carolina days where the they tested him before the 1984 NBA draft showed he had a running vertical of 46” which probably changed through the course of this professional career.

Also on the class is crowned 2015 Slam Dunk champion Zach LaVine who’s pre-draft jumps were among the highlights.

2. Top Vertical Leap: 44.5 inches

  • Shannon Brown

Shannon Brown 1

Former Los Angeles Lakers guard Shannon Brown. He’s shown a lot of his leaping ability in various highlight reels of him dunking.

3. Max Vertical: 44 inches

  • Andrew Wiggins
  • Muggsy Bogues

Andrew-Wiggins-vertical leapAt 44 inches, we have Andrew Wiggins who along with Zach LaVine make the Minnesota Timberwolves a very exciting team to watch. The 44 inch jump came at a pre-draft training session where he was photographed doing the Vertec test.

With Wiggins as just a shade over 44 inches is the shortest player to play in the NBA in Tyrone “Muggsy” Bogues. Bogues stands 5’3” tall and spent most of his 14 year NBA career with the Charlotte Hornets teaming up with Larry Johnson and Alonzo Mourning.

4. Maximum Jump: 43.5 inches

  • Nate Robinson

Nate Robinson vertical leap

With his 43.5 inch vertical leap, Nate Robinson is the only player to have secured 3 NBA Slam Dunk Championships. At 5’9”, is just half a foot taller than Bogues but still under the 6 foot mark.

Nevertheless, that hasn’t stopped him from doing spectacular dunks including one jumping over the 5’7” Spud Webb.

Robinson uses weight training to stay in shape and as a source of his jumping ability.

5. Max Vertical Leap: 43 inches

  • Vince Carter

Vince Carter dunkKnown for his ability to score just as well as mesmerizing dunks, Vince Carter comes in with a 43 inch vertical leap. He has also been a winner of the NBA Slam Dunk competition along with representing Team USA in international competition.

Carter was one of the dunkers that popularized the under the leg dunk.

6. Best Vertical: 42 inches

  • Iman Shumpert
  • Ben McLemore
  • Victor Oladipo

Ben McLemore 1

In a group of lesser known players, Iman Shumpert, McLemore and Oladipo all achieved the 42 inch max vertical jump during the NBA draft combine.

They’ve used their jumping ability to their advantage over their careers including participating in the slam dunk content, at least for McLemore and Oladipo.

7. Maximum Vertical Leap: 41 inches

  • Isaiah “J.R.” Rider
  • O.J. Mayo

jr rider dunk 1

For those who enjoy watching older clips of the NBA, would recognize J.R. Rider. Rider used his 41 inch jump to win the slam dunk contest in 1994 back when he was a rookie. He was also voted to the All-Rookie team that year.

8. Vertical Jump: over 40 inches

  • LeBron James

lebron james dunk 1

How can you make a list without this guy. We all know he jumps really high and he’s been recorded going over 40 inches. Just how high, nobody knows though.

LeBron James has been the most dominant basketball force in the more recent years and uses his jumping ability to jump over opponents and overpower them. He is more or a power dunker.

9. Max Vertical: 40.5 inches

  • Rudy Gay
  • Miles Plumlee
  • Nick Young
  • Mike Conley

Rudy Gay 1

At just over the 40 inch mark are some of the well-known younger players. Rudy Gay and Mike Conley have made their mark in the league starring for their respective clubs.

All the the 4 achieved the 40.5 inches during the NBA combine testing hitting the mark with a running start.

10. Highest Vertical Jump: 40 inches

  • Derrick Rose
  • Eric Bledsoe
  • Tracy McGrady

Derrick Rose vertical leap 1

This level, 40 inches is often the standard that elite jumpers attempt to reach. And with such explosive leapers like Derrick Rose and Tracy McGrady in that group who wouldn’t.

Rose has said that after the first knee injury his jumping actually increased. He has also shown the same explosive ability upon returning to the court.

Tracy McGrady on the other hand, has his own fair share of dunks and scoring. The cousin of Vince Carter, jumping must be in the genes for them.

11. Vertical Leap: 39.5 inches

  • Josh Smith
  • Harrison Barnes
  • Tyrus Thomas

Josh Smith 1

This batch is made up by some of the taller players, which isn’t always the case since shorter individuals often have the edge when it comes to jumping.

Josh Smith is listed at 6’9”, Harrison Barnes at 6’8” and Tyrus Thomas at 6’10” are all much taller than the average high jumping NBA player.

12. Top Vertical Leap: 39 inches

  • Gerald Green
  • John Wall
  • Bradley Beal
  • Jimmy Butler

Gerald Green dunking 2

The group at 39 inches is bannered by a few high-flyers in the likes of Gerald Green, John Wall and Bradley Beal.

Green has been long known in basketball circles for his leaping prowess ever since he was in high school. Wall and Beal make the Washington backcourt among the best and most exciting in the NBA.

Wall was also named as the NBA Slam Dunk Content Dunker of the Night during the 2014 All-Star Weekend festivities.

13. Max Vertical: 38.5 inches

  • DeMar DeRozan
  • Chase Budinger

demar-derozan dunk 1

Finally making it at 38.5 inches high, are DeMar DeRozan and Chase Budinger. Both players have competed in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest and are among the younger batch of players included in this list.


Some Notes

Either because we couldn’t find any documented information of their best jumps that were officially recorded or they didn’t make the cut-off of 38.5”, a few notables didn’t make our list. Some of these names include the likes of Spud Webb, Russell Westbrook, Blake Griffin and Kevin Durant.

  • Jeff Green 38”
  • James Harden 37”
  • Dwight Howard 35.5”
  • DeAndre Jordan 30.5”