NBA
Updated January 29, 2023

Who has the biggest hands in NBA history

While most basketball games are captured in a variety of ways, the physical advantages of the players on the court do play a large role in the result of the games. One such advantage that can be overlooked is possessing big hands. 

This is especially a great advantage when playing offense since it can help you easily palm the ball away from your opponent. It’s also very handy on defense, making it easy to steal the ball.

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Basketball relies on the player’s ball control and the size of their hands can affect their shooting, passing, and ball-handling skills. 

Having big hands, however, will not completely turn the tide. It can be advantageous but not enough to really increase the odds of winning a game. There are some scoring and dribbling skills that rely on finger strength more than hand size.

NBA legends such as Julius Erving and Michael Jordan benefited from having huge hands. Of course, their hand size isn’t what made them as legendary as they are, but they were able to use it to their advantage.

How the hand size is measured

The hand size measurement of the NBA has two parts: hand span and hand length. 

To measure hand span, players outstretch their hands and the span from the tip of the thumb to the tip of the pinky is measured.

The hand span is also known as the hand width or spread. It’s very uncommon to find an NBA player who has a hand span of about twelve inches or wider, with the average male hand span being roughly 8.5 inches. The few players who do have the more than average measurement are Giannis Antetokounmpo and Gregory Smith.

Meanwhile, hand length is measured starting from the palm’s base to the very tip of the player’s middle finger. The average measurement for males is around 7.4 inches. There are very few NBA players who boast a hand length of ten inches or more. Jaren Jackson Jr., Andrew Nicholson, and Dexter Pittman are several examples. 

In most cases, the hand span is greater than the hand length. However, there are times when the opposite is true. One example is Indiana Pacers’ Joseph Young having a hand span of seven inches but a hand length of 8.25 inches.

It’s also not out of the ordinary to see players whose hand span and length are equal. This category includes TJ McConnell, Harrison Barnes, Anthony Davis, and Alec Burks. 

The difference between a person’s hand span and hand length is rarely more than two inches. There are a few NBA players, however, whose hand spans are more than two inches than their hand length. These players include Noah Vonleh, Hassan Whiteside, and Phil Pressey.

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Top 15 players with the biggest hands in NBA history

Let’s take a look at the players with the largest hand sizes in NBA history.

Boban Marjanovic

Position: Center

Height: 7’3”

Weight: 290 lbs.

Hand span: 12”

Hand length: 10.75”

Boban Marjanovic could hold the unofficial title of having the largest hands in the NBA league’s history, and maybe even the world. Unfortunately, there have been no official measurements of Boban’s hands. These assumptions came from various photos of Boban comparing hand sizes with different NBA players. 

In perspective, a basketball held in Boban’s hands looks like a miniature toy ball. Others have also compared it to him looking like he’s holding a grapefruit every time his teammates pass to him. 

Performance-wise, Boban has an on-field scoring rate of 58% every time he’s on court.

Shaquille O’Neal

Position: Center

Height: 7’1”

Weight: 325 lbs.

Hand span: 12”

Hand length: 10.25”

Just like Boban, Shaquille O’Neal’s hands weren’t officially measured by the NBA. But the assumed measurements came after Shaq placed his hand right next to Kawhi Leonard’s and fans were able to get a closer look at it.

With his physical advantage coupled with his basketball skills, Shaq became one of the NBA’s best players with a record of a three-time finals MVP and fourteen All-Star rosters. However, Shaq was terrible at the free throws and people believe that his large hands are what led to some awkwardness and unintentional use of strength during free throws.

Giannis Antetokounmpo

Position: Power Forward/Small Forward

Height: 6’11”

Weight: 242 lbs.

Hand span: 12”

Hand length: 9.85”

Giannis’ hand size was what earned him the nickname of ‘Greek Freak.’ Playing for the Milwaukee Bucks, it can’t be denied that his physical advantage played a huge part in his road to superstardom. 

He has had remarkable achievements as a player in the NBA league, including being part of the All-Star roster 4 times in a row, starting in 2017. He also earned the title of the best defensive player during the 2019 to 2022 season.

Gregory Smith

Position: Center/Power Forward

Height: 6’11”

Weight: 251 lbs.

Hand span: 12”

Hand length: 9.8”

Although he has a significant physical advantage in the court, Gregory Smith’s career as an NBA player wasn’t as stable as people thought it would be. It wasn’t until 2011 that he got drafted in the NBA. Until now, he still often switches between teams, which is likely due to his erratic form.

Connie Hawkins

Position: Power Forward/Center

Height: 6’8”

Weight: 210 lbs.

Hand span: 11”

Hand length: 10.5”

Despite not being a household name, Connie Hawkins still enjoyed an incredible career in the NBA league. He only played for 7 NBA seasons but made it to the Basketball Hall of Fame Inductee because of his impressive performances at ABA and ABL. 

Connie Hawkins was named to the ABA's All-Time Team.

Due to knee problems, Hawkins played in the NBA for only seven seasons. He was an All-Star from 1970 to 1973 and was named to the All-NBA First Team in the 1969–70 season. His No. 42 jersey was retired by the Suns.

Despite being unable to play in the NBA when he was in his prime, Hawkins' performances throughout the ABL, ABA, and NBA helped get him inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1992.

Noah Vonleh

Position: Power Forward/Center

Height: 6’10”

Weight: 257 lbs.

Hand span: 11.75”

Hand length: 9.75”

Vonleh’s impressive physical assets allowed him to take the lead in the NBA Draft boards in 2014. However, his career is proof that a physical advantage isn’t everything in basketball.

In 6 seasons, Vonleh has already played for 6 different franchises. Until now, the NBA player still has yet to find his footing in the league.

Vonleh’s impressive physical assets allowed him to take the lead in the NBA draft boards in 2014 after spending one season playing for the Indiana Hoosiers. His career, however, is proof a physical advantage isn’t everything in basketball.

Vonleh played for eight NBA franchises during his career. He currently is out of the NBA.

Julius Erving

Position: Small Forward

Height: 6’7”

Weight: 210 lbs.

Hand span: 11.75”

Hand length: 9.5”

Julius Erving earned his reputation of being one of the best dunkers in all of NBA history. His huge hands and insane finger strength allowed him tremendous grip on the ball, performing dunk shots that wouldn’t have been possible for people with average hand sizes. 

He also has amazing arm speed and control when manipulating the ball. But, during Erving’s time, the NBA still had not taken up the habit of recording the hand sizes of the players so Erving’s real hand measurements are still up for debate. 

However, people have made assumptions based on the time Erving compared his hands to Noah Vonleh’s during the NBA Draft in 2014.

Michael Jordan

Position: Shooting Guard/Small Forward

Height: 6’6”

Weight: 216 lbs.

Hand span: 11.375”

Hand length: 9.75”

Everyone who’s taken an interest in the basketball field has heard of Michel Jordan’s name. His status as one of the best players in NBA history has been already cemented.

People discuss his power and genius technique on the court, which is well deserved, but rarely does anyone acknowledge the part that his huge hands played in his success. 

Because of his physical advantage, he could easily glide through the air and use only one hand to palm the ball, tricking any defenders with his beautiful fake. He can also dribble really quickly using one only hand and get past even the best defenders in NBA. 

Because of Jordan’s  physical advantage, he could easily glide through the air and use only one hand to palm the ball, tricking any defenders with his beautiful fake. He could also dribble very quickly using one only hand and leave the best defenders in NBA in his wake. 

Kawhi Leonard

Position: Small Forward

Height: 6’7”

Weight: 225 lbs.

Hand span: 11.25”

Hand length: 9.75”

Kawhi’s incredibly large hands helped cement his position on the court. He has slowly become one of the league’s best two-way players, showing his inspirational work ethic and commitment to continuous improvement. 

His physical advantage helps him go head-to-head with the best basketball superstars the generation has to offer. He has earned two titles and has become a two-time Finals MVP.

To put into perspective how impressive the size of Kawhi’s hands are, most players that are of his size usually have hands that measure somewhere around 8.8 to 9.5 inches. 

Wilt Chamberlain

Position: Center

Height: 7’1”

Weight: 275 lbs.

Hand span: 11.5”

Hand length: 9.5”

Wilt Chamberlain’s impressive hand measurements have made him one of the most dominant players in the league. With his height, he towers over the other players and his huge hands allow to play with and toy with multiple defenders on the court.

Wilt Chamberlain’s impressive hand measurements have made him one of the most dominant players in NBA history. 

Chamberlain is the only player to score 100 points in an NBA game. He is also the only player to  average 50 points in a season, or  55 rebounds in a game. Chamberlain also never fouled out of a game, and being the only player in NBA history to average at least 30 points and 20 rebounds per game in a season, which he did seven times. Overall, Chamberlain holds 72 records in the NBA.

Royce White

Position: Center

Height: 6’8”

Weight: 260 lbs.

Hand span: 11.5”

Hand length: 9.5”

Royce White also has a hand size that can feel intimidating. He was drafted into the NBA in 2012, where people realized that he had the widest hand span among the players there. This obviously gives him a physical advantage on the court.

Royce White was what was referred to as a “draft bust.” He was selected in the first round of the NBA draft by the Houston Rockets but only played in three games in the league.  White’s lack of success in the NBA had nothing to do with his hands as he was known for their size.

Wayne Embry

Position: Center/Power Forward

Height: 6’8”

Weight: 240 lbs.

Hand span: 11.75”

Hand length: 9.25”

Embry is now a retired basketball player and later became a professional basketball operator. He has earned different NBA titles both as a former player and as an executive in the league.

Embry played in the NBA for 11 seasons and later became the first African American general manager and team president in the league.. He is in the Basketball Hall of Fame and the College Basketball Hall of Fame. Known for his mastery of the pick and roll, the NBA all-star was also recognized for his hand size.

Elgin Baylor

Position: Center/Power Forward

Height: 6’5”

Weight: 225 lbs.

Hand span: 11”

Hand length: 9.75”

Although there are no exact measurements for Elgin’s hand size, it’s easy to figure out that his hands are larger than average. It’s also clear that his hands are a bit similar in size to Michael Jordan’s, which is what birthed the assumed measurements of his hands.

Elgin Baylor is considered one of the greatest NBA players of all-time. He is an 11-time all-star, the No. 1 pick in the 1958 draft and was rookie of the year. Baylor was known for his hanging jump shot, shooting, rebounding and passing. After he retired Baylor, he was the general manager of the Los Angeles Clippers for 22 years. Baylor’s hand size was not actually measured but guesstimated based on a hand comparison with Michael Jordan.

Jahlil Okafor

Position: Center

Height: 6’10”

Weight: 270 lbs.

Hand span: 11.25”

Hand length: 9.5”

One feat that people were amazed by and only emphasized his ridiculously large hands was when Jahlil managed to hold 13 tennis balls using only one hand, with the average person being only able to do 6. But, despite his impressive physical advantage, Jahlil’s career in the NBA league has not been successful.

Okafor is another outstanding college player that did not enjoy a successful career in the NBA and now plays in Mexico. Okafor demonstrated how large his hands were when he managed to hold 13 tennis balls in one hand. The average person can only hold six. Okafor’s hand size probably was a contributing factor to his early success.

Rajon Rondo

Position: Point Guard

Height: 6’1”

Weight: 180 lbs.

Hand span: 10”

Hand length: 9.5”

Rajon Rondo has been known to be an absolute monster on the court, earning himself the reputation of being one of the NBA’s greatest point guards. His crosses to height ratio are also one of the craziest in all of the NBA’s recorded history.

Rajon Rondo is an absolute monster on the court, earning himself the reputation of being one of the NBA’s greatest point guards. One of the reasons for his outstanding play is his hand size, which was the largest in the NBA for a point card.

Final Words

There’s no denying there is an advantage to having big hands in the NBA. But, as shown in the list of players with the most significant hand size, that physical advantage isn’t enough to guarantee a successful career in the NBA. There are many  other variables that can affect the players and make the games even more exciting to watch.


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