# Do weight & strength matter in basketball?

## Main Question or Discussion Point

I am no basketball expert. I have never watched an entire basketball game in my life. However, several times in my life I have watched a few minutes of basketball games here and there enough so that I am familiar with the basics of the rules and objectives of each team in the sport of basketball.

I have a theory that a basketball player's weight and strength might help him in a basketball game, and, conversely, my theory is that a basketball player's very low body weight and/or weak physical strength would limit a basketball player's capabilities. I have listened to friends & acquaintenances of mine talk about basketball countless times in my life, but I have never heard or read anyone say or write that weight and/or physical strength helps in basketball or that a lack of weight/strength could hurt a basketball player's performance.

Here's what I base my theory on: When basketball players make a running jump to slam dunk a basketball, the bodies of the players on the defense frequently (inadvertently, I think) end up colliding with the ball carriers' bodies when the defensive players jump up to block the ball carriers' slam dunk. As a hypothetical example, let's say the ball carrier is 6'8" and weighs 275 pounds, and let's say the defensive player trying to block ball carrier's dunk is also 6'8" but he is very skinny and only weighs, say, 180 pounds. The ball carrier weighs 95 pounds more than the defensive player. The 275 pound ball carrier makes a running jump to slam dunk. When the 275 pound ball carrier's body inadvertently collides with the 180 pound defensive player's body in the air, isn't the superior momentum of the 275 pound ball carrier's body going to push the 180 pound defensive players' body backwards when they collide so that the 275 pound ball carrier's body will keep flying towards the basketball hoop? Conversely, if the 180 pound player was the ball carrier making a running jump to slam dunk and the 180 pound ball carrier's body collided with the 275 pound defensive players' body in mid-air, wouldn't the 275 pound defensive player's body likely inadvertently stop the 180 pound ball carrier's body from making it to the basketball hoop? I've never heard anyone mention weight being a factor in basketball. I just deduced it when I thought about how often basketball players collide in mid-air when a ball carrier makes a running jump to slam dunk.

I never hear people talk about weight and strength being a factor in basketball, but it's is a tiny bit analogous (to me at least) of how weight/strength determines which lineman pushes the other lineman back in football. Of course, weight/strength is far more important a factor in football than in basketball, but my theory is that weight/strength might matter in basketball. I don't think weight/strength would matter significantly in basketball except at levels such as college basketball or NBA basketball where slam dunks are a common occurrence and major factor in basketball games.

Am I basically correct here that weight would be a factor in basketball due to mid-air collisions when ball carriers make running jumps to slam dunk?

Can anyone give any interesting anecdotes about how weight alone has helped or hindered NBA players or college basketball players making running jumps to make slam dunks?

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BillTre
Gold Member
As in football, basketball players can play different positions and have different roles on a team.
Centers tend to be bigger (and heavier; consider Shaquille O'Neal, 330 lbs), guards the smallest (consider Stephen Currey, 190 lbs), and forwards (LeBron James, 250 lbs) in between.
All these guys are world class greats, have been MVPs and NBA champs, but they have different roles in how their team plays.
They have abilities other than just the brute force of using their weight.

BillTree, saying that basketball players play different positions and that each position has different roles does not address the topic of the OP at all. The topic of the OP is whether or not weight affects basketball players' performance when they try to make slam dunks or block slam dunks.

BillTre
Gold Member
This, to me, seems the crux of your post:
I have a theory that a basketball player's weight and strength might help him in a basketball game, and, conversely, my theory is that a basketball player's very low body weight and/or weak physical strength would limit a basketball player's capabilities. I have listened to friends & acquaintenances of mine talk about basketball countless times in my life, but I have never heard or read anyone say or write that weight and/or physical strength helps in basketball or that a lack of weight/strength could hurt a basketball player's performance.
There is more to a basketball player's performance then
mid-air collisions when ball carriers make running jumps to slam dunk?
This seems to me to be a specific sub-set of a basketball player's capabilities.

This seems to me to be a specific sub-set of a basketball player's capabilities.
If the weight of a basketball player affects mid-air collisions when ball carriers make running jumps to slam dunk, then mid-air collisions are definitely a specific sub-set of a basketball player's capabilities. However, I'm not 100% sure that it has been established that the weight of basketball player's affecting mid-air collisions is a factor in a basketball player's performance. THat's why I made this thread. You have yet to directly answer my question yourself, BillTre.

Everyone knows that there is more to a basketball player's performance than the outcome of mid-air collisions when ball carriers make running jumps to slam dunk. Why even bother mentioning that?

russ_watters
Mentor
I've never heard anyone mention weight being a factor in basketball....

I never hear people talk about weight and strength being a factor in basketball...
They do. A lot. A you say, you aren't that into basketball....