Comparing U.S. swimmer Caeleb Dressel’s vertical leap to NBA stars
31st July 2021

Caeleb Dressel has become well known for his exploits in the pool, but could the five-time Olympic gold medalist have made it in the NBA?

Well, if his vertical jump is any indication, he’s got more than enough athleticism to compete in the league. According to Golf Digest, Dressel has a registered 43-inch vertical leap; and in this video, it’s stunning to see just how high he can get himself up off the ground.

No doubt that ability to hurl his 6-3 frame nearly 4 feet in the air has helped him get off to a fast start on the blocks when he dives in for a swim, but how much would it help him in the NBA?

According to Top End Sports, the average vertical jump of an NBA player is 28 inches, meaning Dressel would have about a foot-and-a-half in jumping ability over an average player.

The guys in the same conversation as Dressel — and even some that aren’t — are impressive. According to EPOK Performance, LeBron James can reach 44 inches, Andrew Wiggins can hit 44, Shannon Brown is at 44.5, Zion Williamson can reach 45, Spud Webb hit 46, Darrell Griffith hit 48 and Michael Jordan hit 48.

That same report lists some of the NBA stars under Dressel’s 43-inch jump: Dwyane Wade (36), Russell Westbrook (36.5) and Kobe Bryant (38) all check in below Dressel’s 43-inch leap.

Star swimmer Nathan Adrian told The Athletic that Dressel’s ability to jump is a “God-given gift,” and that “if someone figured out a way to instill a 40-inch vertical in athletes, they’d become a billionaire.”

With the success he’s having in the pool — already having racked up three Olympic gold medals before Saturday’s last day of racing — don’t expect to see the 24-year-old Dressel on an NBA court anytime soon.

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