Famous Romanians: Gheorghe (Ghita) Muresan

Gheorghe Muresan is a famous Romanian basketball player who, at 7 foot 7 inches (2.31 m), is the tallest man who ever played in the National Basketball Association in the US. He spent six seasons there – four with the Washington Bullets and two with the New Jersey Nets. In 1995 he was named NBA’s Most Improved Player.

By Alexandra Fodor

Gheorghe Muresan was born in 1971 in Tritenii, a small town in the Romanian province of Transylvania. He began playing basketball at age 14 when he went to the dentist, who was also a basketball referee and was recruited to play.

After playing for the Cluj University team, he moved to France to play for Pau-Orthez. Between 1992 and 1993, he played his first professional season in the France Basketball League. After the 1993 NBA Draft he was picked by the Washington Bullets (called Wizards today).

He also played for the Romania national team where his highlights included scoring 42 points in a win over Sweden in 1992 and averaging 23.4 points and 11.4 rebounds during the 1991 Junior World Championships in Edmonton, Canada.

In 1995, he was named the NBA’s Most Improved Player for the 1995-1996 season after averaging 14.5 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 2.26 blocks per game making a career-high 58.4 percent of his field goals.

In 1998, he joined the New Jersey Nets where he played the finals two years of his NBA career. The same year he co-starred with Billy Crystal in the movie “My Giant”. He also played a ventriloquist in Eminem’s video-clip “My Name Is”. He has done TV spots for Snickers candy bars, Nike and ESPN, the cable sports network.

Overall, he holds career averages of 9.8 points, 6.4 rebounds, 0.5 assists, 1.48 blocks per game and a .573 field goal percentage.

He won awards and recognition such as NBA’s Most Improved Player Award (1995-1996), NBA’s highest field goal percentage (1996-1997), French Championships with Pau-Orthez (2001), and French Cup with Pau-Orthez (2003).

In 2000, after retiring from the NBA, Muresan returned to the French league for three more years.  In 2001, he was appointed manager of the Romanian basketball team.  He is also part of the Washington Wizards marketing and public relations team.

In 2004, he inaugurated Giant Basketball Academy (GBA), a program dedicated to teaching the proper fundamentals of basketball to boys and girls of all ages. In 2007, he played a game for the Maryland Nighthawks as part of the tallest lineup in the history of basketball.  In 2008, he was co-author of the book “The Boy Fitness Guide” that provides various training programs, specific exercises and nutritional advice.

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