The best NBA rebounders are not always the tallest nor the strongest players, but they are generally the most determined. Other factors that contribute to success on the boards are intelligence, instinctiveness, quickness, and a willingness to box-out.
Late fourth quarter. Tight game. No, make it a tie game. Game 7 of the playoffs. An 18-foot jumper catches too much rim and heads in a new direction.
The battle under the basket decides the rebound. The rebound decides the game.
Who gets it?
Not the tallest. Not the strongest. Not even the best jumper.
The best rebounder.
"It's not about height; a lot of people think it is," says Wilt Chamberlain, the NBA's all-time rebounding leader. "People don't realize that most of the rebounds are taken below the rim, not above. Therefore, anybody who really wants to go for the board has just as much chance as anyone else. Rebounding is really a mental thing, and it has nothing to do with height. It's not about jumping. It's about being prepared to go up and get the ball. You have to be smart to rebound. You have to have the will to mix it up."