For years and years, the NBA, and all professional basketball leagues for that matter, have tried relentlessly to find tall and athletic players. But through the years, there have been numerous players that do not fit that description.
Players standing 5 feet and several inches are rarity in the NBA, but there have been several short men that left a mark in the professional league.
Here’s my post on some of my favorite short basketball players
Short Basketball Players – Short men leaving a stamp in the NBA
Tyrone “Muggsy” Bogues (5’3″)
The epitome of a small guy playing in a big man world, Bogues spent one of his seasons in the NBA playing alongside the tallest player in the NBA history, Manute Bol.
Muggsy stands at 5 feet 3 inches, while Bol was 7 feet and 7 inches tall. The difference in height between the two was 28 inches. They spent the 1987-1988 season together, playing for the Washington Bullets.
Through his career, Tyrone has also played for the Charlotte Hornets, Golden State Warriors and the Toronto Raptors. Muggsy was also one of the players featured in the iconic “Space Jam” movie, as aliens took over his talents to face Michael Jordan. Muggsy is also the shortest basketball player in history.
Earl Antoine Boykins (5’5″)
Next in my short basketball players is Boykins. Boykins is a true example of how short men can lift higher weight. Despite his size of just 5 feet and 5 inches, Boykins was able to bench press 315 pounds, more than many of the bigger players in the league at the time. Boykins was not drafted by an NBA team, probably due to his size. At the time, short men were not appreciated in the NBA.
However, he signed with the New Jersey Nets. Earl spent most of his days playing for the Denver Nuggets. In a game against the Detroit Pistons in 2004, Boykins scored 32 points, which made him the shortest player at the time to score 30 or more points during an NBA regular season game. Boykins will be remembered as the player who constantly switched teams (by trade or signing). During his 14 years in the NBA, Boykins played for 12 teams.
Spud Webb (5′7″)
Jerome “Spud” Webb was the first player under 6 feet to win an NBA dunk contest. He is one of the shortest players in NBA history, but that didn’t stop him from winning the slam dunk contest during the
All Star weekend in 1986. Today, Webb is often called to be a judge during slam dunk contests. His creativity and viciousness were remarkable for his size.
Nate Robinson (5’9″)
There is rarely a fan of the NBA game who doesn’t remember that Nate Robinson dunked over Dwight Howard during a slam dunk contest. Or that Nate Robinson once blocked Shaquille O’Neal. For a short guy, standing at just 5 feet 9 inches, Robinson is quite the force in the NBA. He won the slam dunk contest three times, in 2006, 2009 and 2010. He is the first player in the league history to win the dunk contest three times.
Isaiah Thomas (5’9″)
Thomas is one of the most electrifying players in the NBA. Even though he is often seen as a selfish player, he is quite the organizer as well. Thomas stands at 5 feet 9 inches, and is currently the best “short” player in the league. Last season he played for the Boston Celtics, where he was one of the best players, showing that short men can really flourish in the NBA, despite their size.
Those were five of my favorite short basketball players in the NBA. Who do you have in your list?