While it’s true that height is might in professional basketball, hoopers not blessed with a lot of length still have advantages. They can quickly take their opponents off the dribble, and be a pesky defender on the other end of the floor. This is true in the National Basketball Association (NBA), as we have seen short NBA players make their mark.
Continue reading below to see the shortest NBA players in basketball history.
Chris Paul – 6’0
Arguably one of the best point guards to play in the NBA, Chris Paul is a 12-time All-Star and indeed a future Hall of Famer. The 6-foot-0 star led the Suns to an NBA Finals stint in the 2021 season.
The All Star Paul has also played as a star player for the New Orleans Hornets, Los Angeles Clippers, Houston Rockets, and Oklahoma City Thunder. He almost played for the Los Angeles Lakers, but the NBA vetoed his potential trade there. Paul is still looking for his first NBA title.
Jose Alvarado – 6’0
Jose Alvarado is the youngest NBA player on this list. Just in his second season with the New Orleans Pelicans, Alvarado is already establishing his name as a unique energizer, especially on defense.
Carsen Edwards – 5’11
Since being selected in the 2019 NBA Draft, Carsen Edwards hasn’t met his expectations. The point guard has been in the NBA for three seasons, suiting up for the Boston Celtics and the Detroit Pistons. Edwards is one of the shortest NBA players in history.
Isaiah Thomas – 5’9
Isaiah Thomas is the true definition of a scoring point guard. Despite the height disparity he’s giving up, Isaiah Thomas displayed a unique knack for scoring, averaging 28.9 points for the Celtics during the 2016-17 NBA season.
However, Thomas’s career has been derailed by injuries and the notion that he’s a defensive liability. Still, he’s one of the shortest NBA players to be really good at getting buckets.
Nate Robinson – 5’9
The 5-foot-9 Nate Robinson is a former Slam Dunk Contest champion. He played for numerous teams, including the Boston Celtics and the Denver Nuggets. Robinson is the shortest NBA player to win the Dunk Contest three times.
Calvin Murphy – 5’9
Calvin Murphy is not only one of the shortest NBA players ever, but he also earned a distinction as one of the best scoring point guards in NBA history. He has averaged at least 20 points in five seasons, including norming 25.6 points during the 1977-78 season.
Murphy was named Mr. Basketball USA in 1966 and enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The 5-foot-9 point guard played for the Houston Rockets organization throughout his NBA career. It’s just a shame that Murphy did not win an NBA championship.
Chris Clemons – 5’9
Chris Clemons is listed at 5-foot-9, but he is recognized as a shooting guard. He was undrafted in 2019 but the Rockets picked him up and let him play during the 2019-20 season.
Clemons is now trying his luck in the NBA G League. He has suited up for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, Maine Celtics, and now with the Windy City Bulls.
Charlie Criss – 5’8
At 5-foot-8, Charlie Criss is one of the shortest players in NBA history. Criss played eight years in the NBA, putting up career averages of 8.5 points, 1.4 rebounds, and 3.2 assists.
Criss played college ball for New Mexico State and then suited up for the Scranton Apollos in the ABL.
Keith Jennings – 5’7
Keith Jennings only played for three years with the Golden State Warriors in the NBA. But the 5-foot-7 cager has made name for himself in the French League, when he became its Foreign MVP and Best Scorer in 1999.
After his playing career, Jennings moved on to the coaching world. He is currently the head coach of Lees-McRae’s women’s basketball team.
Greg Grant – 5’7
After being drafted 52nd overall in 1989, the 5-foot-7 Greg Grant had a six-year career in the NBA. He accumulated career averages of 2.8 points and 2.7 assists.
Grant was a journeyman in his short stint, playing for the Phoenix Suns, New York Knicks, Charlotte Hornets, Philadelphia 76ers, Denver Nuggets, and Washington Bullets.
Monte Towe – 5’7
Monte Towe was selected 57th overall in the 1975 Draft. However, his NBA career only lasted two seasons, both with the Denver Nuggets franchise.
Towe is also a former television basketball analyst and is now serving as head coach at Oak Hall School.
Wat Misaka – 5’7
Along with making the list of short players in the league, Wat Misaka was also the first player with Asian descent to play in the NBA. Misaka only logged three games and tallied 2.3 points.
Misaka, the first Asian player in the NBA, also had the opportunity to suit up for the Harlem Globetrotters, but he rejected the team’s offer.
Red Klotz – 5’7
The 5-foot-7 Red Klotz played briefly for the Baltimore Bullets in 1947. He logged 11 games for the Bullets, averaging 1.4 points and 0.6 assists.
Klotz is also known as a player and coach for the Philadelphia Sphas. He was also inducted into the Legends Ring, the Hall of Fame iteration of the Harlem Globetrotters.
Spud Webb – 5’6
Spud Webb is certainly the most explosive shortest player in the NBA. The 5-foot-6 Webb had a productive 12-year stint in the league, suiting up for the Atlanta Hawks, Sacramento Kings, Minnesota Timberwolves, and Orlando Magic.
Spud Webb is also the shortest player in the NBA to win the Slam Dunk Contest. The former Atlanta Hawks guard now serves as president of basketball operations of the Texas Legends, the affiliate team of the Dallas Mavericks.
Mel Hirsch – 5’6
The name of Mel Hirsch isn’t very popular around the NBA, as he only played one season in the league. Hirsch suited up for the Boston Celtics during the 1946-47 season.
Hirsch also served in the US Army Air Corps, and has the distinction of being the third shortest player in NBA history.
Earl Boykins – 5’5
Earl Boykins is the second shortest player in NBA history. The 5-foot-5 guard played 13 seasons in the league, and suited up for tons of teams.
One of the shortest players in the NBA, Boykins played for the Denver Nuggets, Milwaukee Bucks, Washington Wizards, and Cleveland Cavaliers among many others. Boykins had career averages of 8.9 points and 3.2 assists.
Boykins also ventured into the coaching world, as he is now an assistant coach for the UTEP Miners.
Muggsy Bogues – 5’3
Muggsy Bogues leads the list of the shortest NBA players in history. Still, there’s no doubt that he had a lot of impact when he’s on the court.
Bogues finished his career with the Toronto Raptors, but he also built a reputation as a solid playmaker for the Charlotte Hornets and Golden State Warriors. Bogues has career averages of 7.7 points and 7.6 assists.
At 5-foot-3, Bogues is the shortest NBA player ever. He was also a star off the court, as he appeared in the popular basketball movie Space Jam.