Gheorghe of the jungle: Muresean carved out decent career on hardwood

12/12/14 by Andrea Arden

At 7'7, Gheorghe Muresan still remains the tallest player to ever play in the NBA. (Manute Bol was also listed at 7'7, but is listed at 7'6 and 3/4 inches in the Guinness Book Of World Records). Born in Romania, Muresan weighed in at 315 pounds to go with his towering height. He played college basketball at Cluj University in Romania in 1991 and 1992 and also for the Romanian national team before joining the professional ranks in France. Muresan was a spectacle and was wildly popular because of his size. That forced NBA scouts to take notice, and after just one season playing for Pau Orthez, the big man was drafted by the then Washington Bullets in the 2nd round of the 1993 NBA draft.
Muresan played 5 seasons in the NBA from 1993 through 2000. He played from 1993 through 1997 with Washington, but played only 1 game in the next two seasons due to injury. He finished in the 1999/2000 season with New Jersey. The back injury, which plagued Muresan for most of his career and kept him from playing in 1997 and 1998, led to his retirement from the NBA in 2000. Muresan played one more season for Pau-Orthez in France before retiring for good from the sport. For his career, Muresan averaged 9.8 points and 6.4 rebounds per game. He was named the NBA's "Most Improved Player" after the 1995/1996 season where he averaged a career best 14.5 points per game and 9.6 rebounds per game.
His best known venture after basketball is for his starring role in the 1998 film "My Giant". Muresan co starred alongside Billy Crystal in the movie. He also appeared in Eminem's music video for the song "My Name Is" and has appeared in commercials for ESPN and Snickers as well.

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Muresan now lives with his wife and two teenage sons near Washington D.C. He still does some promotional work with the now Washington Wizards. He also founded the Giant Basketball Academy which conducts basketball camps and leagues year round in the Washington D.C. area. The GBA as it's called, is devoted to teaching the proper fundamentals of basketball to boys and girls of all ages. Muresan has also co-authored two books about health and fitness for young adults.

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