NEW YORK—The National Basketball Association (NBA) has ended its longstanding discriminatory policy on height after many allegations of teams excluding people who identify as much taller than they are biologically.
The average height of NBA players is 6 feet 7 inches compared to 5 feet 9 inches for American men, demonstrating clear disparity and complete lack of stature diversity among NBA players. But that will be a thing of the past after the NBA implements its ban on height discrimination. Teams will be required to pay people who are biologically under 5’5″ but who identify as a foot or more taller. Teams will also be required to play these trans-height players at least 50 percent of the team’s minutes.
Professional sports is the most recent industry to be accused of benefiting tall people, but it is not the first. For years, disadvantage has infected the ranks of financial services, where corporate boards are frequently comprised of men exceeding six feet in height and fashion, where the typical female model is at least 5 feet 9 inches tall.
The game of basketball is unique however, in that some believe it is systemically rigged for the benefit of taller people and was deliberately and maliciously designed to discriminate against shorter men and especially drarves.
Basketball hoops are set at 10 feet above the ground, but critics believe that the hoop should be equally accessible by people of all heights. Tall athletes are considered superior due to their relative ease in getting the ball into the highly placed hoop. Critics point out that a lower hoop would allow more “equitable” competition among people of all heights. Some suggest that the hoops should be replaced with holes at each end of the court, so that height would be completely irrelevant to success in the game.
Jason Rowel, a former fan who was boycotting the league until they ended the discrimination asked, “What kind of ‘sport’ benefits people with different physical attributes?” He also pointed out the inherent unfairness of sports not only for athletes but for spectators because the blind are unable to observe the competition.