We all lie about our height. 99% of us add to it because being tall is a good thing. If we're being honest, most of the time it's because women like tall men. The same thing happens in basketball. Most players add to their height a bit. But there is that 1% that lies the other way. They say they are shorter than they truly are. Why would they do that?
The prime example of this is Kevin Durant. If you look at KD standing next to other players, he is a legit 7-foot guy. In the cover photo, you can see KD, listed at 6'9, standing next to Boogie, listed at 6'11. Someone here is lying (maybe it's both of them).
The reason behind this is positional. As KD explained it, 6'9 is you're prototypical small forward, the position he wanted to play. He believed if he is listed taller than that, coaches will start pushing him towards power forward, so to avoid that, he lied. But when it comes to seduction, KD is the same as the rest of us. (via WSJ):
“For me, when I’m talking to women, I’m 7 feet,” he said. “In basketball circles, I’m 6-9.”
KD isn't the first player to do so. Flip Saunders often talked about Kevin Garnet as “6-foot-13." Similar to Durant, Garnet felt that if he were listed over seven feet, he would be viewed as a center, and he wanted to be a power forward. To this day, he is listed as 6'11.
How is this possible? Well, in a game of height, there is no standardized way of tracking player height. So one player may be listed in sneakers, one without them, etc. This gives players room to, as Rob Pelinka would say, tell a story.