If there is one requirement that anyone one needs to fulfill to become a successful NBA player, it’s that he needs to be tall…really tall. There is no denying that having a tall height indeed enhances your chances of having a successful career in the NBA. However, there are always certain exceptions. Some short players have not only been selected to NBA teams but have also gone onto having highly successful careers, cashing in big points and assist totals.
The thing is, a tall person is closer to the basketball goal owing to his height. Thus, the chances of his shot being accurate are more. Furthermore, he would also require less force for propelling the basketball into the basket. The basketball goal is usually at 10 feet, and therefore the average height in NPA is in accordance with that. A shorter player is likely to have some difficulties since there is always a risk that the ball would be swatted away when you attempt to shoot it.
However, shorter players have certain benefits, as well. They have the edge over other players in terms of speed and agility. Shorter players also have better coordination. All in all, shorter players have to put up a really strong case with their talent to be selected in the game. Let us take a look at some of the shortest players in NBA who defied the rules and went on to become successful basketball players despite their short height.
7 Shortest Players in the NBA
- Muggsy Bogues
- Earl Boykins
- Mel Hirsch
- Red Klotz
- Spud Webb
- Calvin Murphy
- Isaiah Thomas
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7. Isaiah Thomas
Height: 5ft 9 in
He has played with the Sacramento Kings and Boston Celtics
Isaiah was quite a successful scorer in college. Despite this, team managements were wary of taking the player in the 2011 draft. He was drafted with the 60th pick by Sacramento Kings. However, once drafted, the rest is history. He continued his upward journey since then. He is now a part of Boston Celtics. His average is 26 points per game. He has also been an All-star in a season. At merely 27 years of age, Thomas is regarded as being among the best scoring guards that the NBA has seen and is the current shortest NBA player.
6. Calvin Murphy
Height: 5ft 9 in
He has played with the Houston Rockets
Drafted at the eighteenth number in 1970 drafter, Calvin Murphy was a part of Houston Rockets in his entire career. Murphy was an impressive shooting guard despite his stature. He had the best season in 1977-78 wherein he shot 49.1% from the field and had an average of 25.6 points per game. He bid adieu to his career at 34 years of age with an average of 4.4 assists and 17.9 points per game. It is safe to say; his height did not come in his way of having a successful career.
5. Spud Webb
Height: 5ft 6 in
He has played with Atlanta Hawks, Sacramento Kings, and Orlando Magic
Spud Webb is remembered to date for his highly impressive dunking ability, not unlike Nate Robinson. He was drafted in 1985 in the fourth round by Atlanta Hawks. His average was 7.8 points within 15.6 minutes per game. Then joined Sacramento Kings later wherein he enjoyed the most successful year in his career in 1991-92. He averaged 16.0 points with 7.1 assists per game during the same. Furthermore, he was the winner of the dunk contest in 1986. He played four games for Orlando Magic in 1997.98 and retired from the game at the age of 34 years.
4. Red Klotz
Height: 5ft 7 in
He has played with Baltimore Bullets
Red Klotz was an American basketball player who played as a point guard with Baltimore Bullets. He is quite well known for forming teams Washington Generals and New York Nationals that play against and tour with the Harlem Globetrotters. He has been a part of more than 14000 games, as a player or a coach. In his NBA career, he played in 11 games with an average of 15 points. He also played in six playoff games wherein he scored six points.
3. Mel Hirsch
Height: 5 ft. 6 in
He was a part of the Squadron’s officer’s team.
Being 5 feet 6 inches tall, Mel Hirsch was the shortest NBA player for a long time till Muggsy Bogues joined the league nearly 40 years later. He played 13 games and had 8 assists per game to his credit with an average of 1.5 points per game. His field goal percentage was 200% while his free throw percentage was around 500%. Height was not a barrier for him.
2. Earl Boykins
Height: 5ft 5 in
He played with New Jersey Nets, Denver Nuggets, and Milwaukee Bucks
Most probably due to his height, Earl Boykins was not drafted in 1999. Made his debut in NBA with New Jerseys Nets that year and remained a part of the league as a back-pick and third-string point guard. He worked hard on his skills and improved to become quite a decent player.
Earl Boykins had his best season at 30 years of age in 2006-07 wherein he averaged with 14.6 points for Milwaukee Bucks and Denver Nuggets. He continued to play till 35 years of age before retiring with an average of 8.9 points with 19.9 minutes per game.
1. Muggsy Bogues
Height: 5ft 3 in
He played with Washington Bullets, Charlotte Hornets, Golden State Warriors, and Toronto Raptors
Muggsy Bogues is the shortest player to have been a part of NBA till date. Drafted at 12th by Washington Bullets in the year 1987, he was a part of the team for a single season before he was taken by Charlotte Hornets in the expansion draft. The rest is history. He became a household name with an average of 8.8 points and 8.8 assists in the ten seasons that he stayed with the Hornets. He then played with Golden State Warriors and Toronto Raptors and retired after the 2000-01 season.
Fun fact, not only was he the shortest NBA player, but he also was an actor. Muggsy Bogues also had a cameo in a hit movie – Space Jam.
It is safe to say that if one has the determination and talent, nothing can stop them. Do not let the common misconceptions and rules thwart you. Everything is within your reach as long as you set your heart to it. One look at the shortest players in the NBA is enough to tell you that.
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