The shortest NBA players have one thing in common: heart. Even though they aren’t gifted with size, they impacted the game in their own way.
Shortest NBA players
It goes without saying that height is an advantage in basketball. After all, the average height of players in the NBA is 6’6″. However, it didn’t stop these players under 6 feet to carve an impactful career in the league.
Here are the five shortest NBA players in history…
5. Nate Robinson
When it comes to athleticism, Nate Robinson was a beast even at 5’9″. Whether if it’s a real game or a slam dunk contest, he has the hops to jump all over the place. His highlights include blocking Yao Ming and LeBron James.
While his blocks were impressive, it was his dunks that made him stand out. Robinson was a three-time Slam Dunk champion in 2006, 2009, and 2010. His most notable dunk is his “Kryptonite Dunk” where he jumped over Dwight Howard.
Robinson also had a decent career in the NBA. He averaged 11 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 3 assists on 42% shooting in his 11 seasons in the league. Arguably, his best season was with the New York Knicks in 2008 wherein he posted up 17.2 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 4.1 assists per game.
4. Calvin Murphy
Listed at 5’9″, Calvin Murphy was one of the best scorers in Rockets history. He averaged 17.9 points and 4.4 assists in his 13 seasons in the NBA. That alone is simply insane because he was putting up buckets against players a foot taller than him.
Murphy was also exceptional at the free throw line where he averaged 90% in his career. He had a season where he was almost perfect at the line at 96%—the second-highest free throw percentage in NBA history.
Since he put up these kind of numbers and broke records, Murphy was inducted into the Hall of Fame. He was the shortest NBA player to do so.
3. Spud Webb
Spud Webb was one of the most effective short NBA players at 5’7″. He averaged a respectable 9.9 points and 5.3 assists on 45% shooting. Webb was also efficient at the line (85%). Apart from being efficient, he was a crazy athlete as well.
In 1986, Webb joined the Slam Dunk contest together with his teammate Dominique Wilkins. Who could’ve thought that a mere 5’7″ guy can dunk, or even touch the rim? Moreover, he was against Wilkins who is considered one of the best dunkers in NBA history.
Still, Webb overcame the odds and beat Wilkins at his game. He was one of the shortest NBA players to dunk and win the Slam Dunk contest.
2. Earl Boykins
Being a journeyman has its perks. Earl Boykins proved to be valuable for a lot of teams due to his quickness and wit. At 5’5″, he was one of the shortest NBA players of all time. He averaged 8.2 points and 3.2 assists per game in his entire career, good enough for a backup guard.
Boykins even dropped a career-high 32 points against Detroit–the shortest player in NBA history to drop 30+ points. Despite his height disadvantage, he proved that he’s reliable enough to carve a role in the NBA.
1. Muggsy Bogues
At 5’3″, Muggsy Bogues is the shortest NBA player of all time. His short stature didn’t hinder him to have an impactful career.
In fact, he used his short size to his advantage offensively and defensively. Bogues was a great passer (7.6 assists per game) and stealer (1.5 steals per game). As a result, he was the all-time assists and steals leader in Hornets history.
Despite his size, Bogues was a great player who managed to become a regular starter for a long time. He proved that even the little guys can compete against the giants. All you need is guts.