Basketball is a sport that is largely dominated by height, with the majority of players standing over 6 feet tall. However, throughout the history of the NBA, there have been a select few players who have defied the odds and succeeded despite their diminutive stature.
Many players have been lauded for how tall and giant they are. This list is dedicated to the players on the opposite end of that spectrum. This list is all about the small guys, the “little” guys. This list is about players who overcame their genetics to play professionally at a game made for giants.
The list includes a dunk champion, a movie star, and several other players famous in pop culture.
Without further ado, we will rank the top 10 shortest players in NBA history, from 10 to 1.
Shortest NBA Players of All Time
Keith Jennings – 5’7″
Keith Jennings stood just 5’7″. He played in the NBA for three seasons, averaging 4.4 points and 3.4 assists per game. Although his NBA career was short-lived, Jennings had a successful career overseas, playing in Europe for over a decade, as many second-tier NBA players often do. There, he is known as a legend of sorts.
Wataru Misaka – 5’7″
Wataru Misaka was the first person of Asian decent to play in the NBA. Standing at just 5’7″, Misaka played in the NBA for one season way back in 1947, at a time many Americans didn’t even know basketball existed, averaging 2.5 points per game. Despite his short career, Misaka’s impact on the game was significant, as he helped pave the way for other Asian players to enter the NBA.
Monte Towe – 5’7″
Monte Towe is tied for the seventh shortest player in NBA history, standing at just 5’7″. Towe played in the NBA for one season in 1976, averaging 1.8 points per game. Towe did also have a successful career as a college coach, leading the Florida Gators to the Final Four in 2000. Many modern fans will recognize him from his successful run as that coach.
Greg Grant – 5’7″
Greg Grant is tied for the seventh shortest player in NBA history, standing at just 5’7″. Grant played in the NBA for six seasons, averaging 6.6 points and 4.4 assists per game. Grant was known for his quickness and agility, and his ability to run the fast break.
Willie Somerset – 5’7″
Willie Somerset is tied for the seventh shortest player in NBA history, standing at just 5’7″. Like many players on this list, Somerset played in the NBA for two seasons in the 1960s, making him unknown to casual fans. He averaged 5.9 points per game.
Spud Webb – 5’7″
Spud Webb is perhaps the most well-known short player in NBA history. Standing at 5’7″, Webb shock the sports world when he won the NBA Slam Dunk Contest in 1986, beating out players who were much taller than him. Many of his fellow players didn’t even know he could dunk prior to the event. Webb played in the NBA for 12 seasons, averaging 9.9 points and 5.3 assists per game.
Mel Hirsch – 5’6″
Mel Hirsch played in the NBA for one season in 1946, averaging 1.4 points per game. At just 5’6″, Hirsch is tied for the seventh shortest player in NBA history.
Earl Boykins – 5’5″
At 5’5″, Earl Boykins is the tenth shortest player in NBA history. Despite his small size, Boykins played for 13 seasons in the NBA, averaging 8.9 points and 3.2 assists per game. Boykins was known for his quickness and agility, and his ability to score in the paint despite his size. He was also known as a beloved teammate and one of the most popular players of his era among his peers
Who is the Shortest Player in NBA History?
Muggsy Bogues – 5’3″
Muggsy Bogues is the shortest player in NBA history, standing at just 5’3″. Despite his size, Bogues played in the NBA for 14 seasons, averaging 7.7 points and 7.6 assists per game. Bogues was known for his speed and agility, as well as his ability to steal the ball from much taller players. He was also known as one of the most well liked players of his era and may be best known for his role alongside Michael Jordan in “space jam.”
- Calvin Murphy – 5 feet 9 inches
- Isaiah Thomas – 5 feet 9 inches
- Nate Robinson – 5 feet 9 inches
- Damon Stoudamire – 5 feet 10 inches
- Michael Adams – 5 feet 10 inches
- Terrell Brandon – 5 feet 11 inches
These players all achieved success in the NBA despite being shorter than the average player, and some even became stars in the league.
Their success is a testament to the fact that height is not the only factor in determining a player’s ability to succeed in the NBA.