Can Cristiano Ronaldo Jump Higher Than NBA Players?

The best athletes in the world, regardless of sport, are generally thought of as being superhuman in a lot of ways. They can play the game at a different level, and those skills they use for their sport could translate to other sports as well.

Cristiano Ronaldo is thought of as one of the most athletic players in soccer right now. Not only does he excel on the pitch, but he seems like someone athletic enough to compare favorably against other athletes. How does he stack up against athletes from the NBA?

Does Cristiano Ronaldo jump higher than NBA players? Since Cristiano Ronaldo is significantly shorter than even the average NBA player, he can’t reach the same height as them. However, his vertical leap, hovering around 30 inches, matches or beats the average NBA player, which helps him win headers and pull off other feats in soccer.

How Much Do Height & Jumping Ability Matter In Soccer?

Height and jumping ability makes a difference in a lot of different sports, and soccer is no different. Shorter players can still excel in soccer since a lot of play happens on the ground, but having athletic players who can get up in the air makes a difference.

The advantages for taller, athletic players come when the ball is in the air, or if it comes down to a physical battle. Players exploding off the pitch to catch a pass or redirect a shot on goal have the chance to win battles in key moments. In particular, set pieces or corner kicks are great opportunities for taller and athletic players to shine.

Most taller players are stronger than their smaller opponents, which gives them a bit of leverage fighting for balls. Even having longer legs opens up opportunities for some.

Smaller players have the edge at times because they are closer to the ground and have a lower center of gravity.

That means that they can knife through the defense and have a lot of success in that regard. Some of the best players in the world are much smaller than Cristiano Ronaldo, but they still have success because of their ability to play to their strengths.

Goalies and Jumping Ability

There are benefits to jumping high as a field player, but what about as a goalie? Jumping ability might matter the most at this position, because it helps them cover all corners of the goal. Goalies who can jump high also have plenty of explosiveness, which allows them to jump side to side at a moment’s notice.

It’s no surprise that some of the great modern goalies have a lot of the same qualities as NBA players. They are usually the tallest players on the field, and they have longer arms and legs to help them block whatever is coming their way.

They still don’t have the same leaping ability as some of the most athletic players in the NBA, but they usually have one of the highest vertical leaps on their soccer team.

Jumping on Different Surfaces

One thing there’s never going to work in the favor of soccer players when compared to basketball players is the surface they play on. It’s much easier to jump on a hardwood floor than softer surfaces like grass or turf.

Cleats are meant to dig into the ground and provide traction when making cuts. Soccer cleats not only initially sink into the ground when jumping, but a lack of midsole doesn’t boost a vertical leap either.

Ronaldo’s measured 30-inch vertical leap occurred inside of a gym. If the vertical leap happened on the soccer pitch, it would be much lower. However, it doesn’t make that much of a difference, since all of his competitors have the same hindrance.

What Athletes Have The Highest Vertical Jumps on Average?

Basketball players are outstanding jumpers, but they sometimes get surpassed by skilled position football players. That’s mainly because their focus is to be as athletic as possible.

They must be fast and agile to get open for passes on offense, or defend on defense. Basketball players still need to do creative things with the basketball, so their sole purpose isn’t to be as freakishly athletic as possible.

In reality, both of these types of players are going to be great at jumping. It’s just a matter of breaking it down and seeing who can jump the highest. Any vertical leap over 40 in either sport is thought of as amazing.

Who Are The Highest Jumpers In The History of the NBA?

A 30-inch vertical leap would put Cristiano Ronaldo in the upper half of the NBA as far as jumping ability is concerned. However, he is still quite a bit away from the best jumpers in NBA history.

These players not only have a significant height advantage over Ronaldo, but they can jump around a foot and a half higher.

1. Darrell Griffith (48 inches)

With the nickname Dr. Dunkentein, Darrell Griffith is considered by many to still be the greatest jumper in NBA history.

He reportedly had a 48-inch vertical leap at his peak, which led to some monstrous dunks at Louisville in college, and the Utah Jazz in the NBA.

2. Jason Richardson (46.5 inches)

A winner of back-to-back Slam Dunk Contests in the NBA, Richardson stood out as a 6‘6“ guard with a vertical leap of 46.5 inches.

This allowed him to pull off dunks few have ever seen before. As he started to age, he evolved into a player who could do much more than jump, but those who saw him in his prime know that there were few athletes better.

3. Zach LaVine (46 inches)

The current star for the Chicago Bulls is starting to slow down a bit with his jumping ability, but most remember what he was able to pull off in the 2015 and 2016 NBA Dunk Contests.

Not only can he jump from the free-throw line with ease, but he can pull off dunks that make it seem like he is gliding through the air.

A Final Look at Jumping and Soccer

Jumping without question plays a role in soccer, and every type of player can benefit from being a little more athletic.

The ground game is important as well, but an aerial attack can be a big difference-maker. Ronaldo is one of many players who have benefited from being a better jumper than his defender in key moments.

Connor Smith

I'm Connor, the guy behind SoccerPrime. I'm a former NCAA Div 1 college player that retired at the age of 21 due to injuries - which led me into a new career as a soccer coach.

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