Throughout his career, Kevin Durant has been listed as anywhere from 6-foot-9 to 6-foot-11. But many people who see him standing next to seven-footers notice how close he is to them in height. Even when Durant sets the record straight, however, there is a reason to believe he’s cutting himself short.
This Golden State Warrior isn’t the only player listed at the wrong height. Throughout history, players have either shaved off or added an inch or two to their recorded height.
Former NBA superstar Kevin Garnett, who was believed to be 7-foot-1, famously liked to tell people that he was 6-foot-13 when discussing height. But he was always listed at 6-foot-11 so he wasn’t mislabeled as a center. On the other end of the spectrum, Chris Paul is listed at 6-foot-1 despite many people believing he’s closer to 5-foot-11.
One answer is simple: A player’s listed height in the NBA is supposed to be their height in shoes. This gives an accurate portrayal of what they are out on the court. In theory, it is the most accurate portrayal. Still, the measurements seem arbitrary. After all, as the Wall Street Journal explains, Dallas Maverick JJ Barea was listed at 5-foot-10 and three-quarters in shoes at the draft combine and mysteriously grew an inch in the NBA.
For a player to add a few inches in a league where height is king makes sense. But why these players continue to lie remains a mystery. Perhaps it is the stigma that tall players are less skilled than shorter ones, or the added label of being a seven-footer. For Durant, however, the reasons vary from time to time, just like his height.
The 6-foot-9 small forward
In 2016, when discussing Chris Paul’s height, the Wall Street Journal reported that Durant let his true height slip, stating Paul was 6-feet-tall exactly when he was actually 6-foot-11. It wasn’t a surprise, as many saw him towering over players listed as his height. But this began a trend of Durant’s fluctuating height that fascinated fans and media alike. People began to question his motives, and he has never had a definitive answer.
Before the draft, Durant was listed at 6-foot-10. However, photos taken of Durant beside No. 1 pick Greg Oden show — if there is a two-inch height difference as listed — that it didn’t show in the pictures. People who saw him next to 6-foot-11 DeMarcus Cousins may see the discrepancies right away.
Durant appears to have some fun in fudging numbers, however. He seems to have some self-awareness of his height. KD told KNBR’s Bob Fitzgerald he measures 6-foot-10 and three-quarters without shoes and seven-feet in them. He humorously added that his height is situational. “For me, when I’m talking to women, I’m 7′,” Durant said. “In basketball circles, I’m 6’9″.”
How tall is he?
Kevin Durant has given at least three heights. While the 7-foot figure he’s thrown out is likely the most accurate, the story has changed so much it’s hard to know. Whatever the case, Durant proves the stigma for seven-footers’ lack of skill may be unfounded, even if he doesn’t want to admit he’s actively breaking that stigma in the process.