Who is the shortest NBA player in history? Here's the top 10 list

Who is the shortest NBA player in history? Here's the top 10 list

There are myths that one has to be 6 feet and above to play in the National Basketball League. Well, that is certainly not true. Although height is a factor, especially when taking shots, it takes skill and talent to have a successful career in the league like many basketball stars under 6 feet. So, who is the shortest NBA player?

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Shortest NBA
Basketball stars Muggsy Bogues, Earl Boykins, and Markus Howard. Photo: Sonia Recchia, Fernando Medina, Bart Young (modified by author)
Source: Getty Images

The average height of NBA players is 6 feet and 7 inches. However, players on the opposite end of the size spectrum have piqued our curiosity. Most fans can relate to the smaller-statured, inspiring people worldwide to believe that they, too, can succeed in a game of giants.

Who is the shortest NBA player?

Among the shortest players in the NBA have shown what they lack in height, they cover for it with talent. They are responsible for some of the most significant achievements for their teams in the league. They include:

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1. Muggsy Bogues

Shortest NBA player
Muggsy Bogues dribbles the ball during NBA Cares Special Olympics Unified Game as part of 2020 NBA All-Star Weekend on February 14, 2020, at Wintrust Arena in Chicago, Illinois. Photo: Jeff Haynes
Source: Getty Images

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Tyrone Curtis "Muggsy" Bogues, born on January 9, 1965, is an American former basketball star. Bogues played point guard for four teams during his 14-season career and is the shortest NBA player ever.

So, how tall is the shortest NBA player? Standing at 5 feet and 3 inches, Bogues was in the Washington Bullets, Golden State Warriors, Toronto Raptors, and the Charlotte Hornets for ten seasons. After his NBA career, he became the head coach of the now-defunct Charlotte Sting of the WNBA.

2. Earl Boykins

Shortest NBA player
Earl Boykins #11 of the Milwaukee Bucks shoots a free throw during a game against the Cleveland Cavaliers at The Quicken Loans Arena on January 21, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio. Photo: David Liam Kyle
Source: Getty Images

Earl Antoine Boykins is a former American professional basketball player and the second shortest player in the NBA. He stands at 5 feet, 5 inches and weighs 60 kilograms.

He was the head coach for the Douglas County High School boys varsity basketball team. He is now serving as an assistant coach for the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) Miners.

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3. Mel Hirsch

Shortest NBA player
Mel was an American professional basketball star. Photo: @BkCollegeAlumni
Source: Twitter

Melvin M. Hirsch was an American professional basketball player. He was in the Boston Celtics of the Basketball Association of America, which would later become the National Basketball Association, for 13 games in the 1946–47 season. His height was 5 ft 6 in or 1.68 metres.

4. Spud Webb

Shortest NBA player
Spud Webb attends the Rick's Basketball Association press conference at Rick's Cabaret on November 29, 2011 in New York City. Photo: Paul Zimmerman
Source: Getty Images

Michael Anthony Jerome "Spud" Webb is an American former professional NBA player. Webb is known for winning a Slam Dunk Contest despite being one of the shortest players in NBA history, is listed at 5 ft 6 in tall.

Most scouts predicted that Webb would end up joining either a Europe team or Harlem Globetrotters because of his height. However, Webb was drafted in the 4th round of the 1985 NBA draft by the Detroit Pistons. After the guard-loaded Pistons released Spud, his agent, Bill Blakeley arranged for a tryout with the Atlanta Hawks where Spud beat out several seasoned guards to make the opening roster.

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5. Greg Grant

shortest NBA player
Gregory Alan Grant is a retired American professional basketball player. Photo: @Ballislife
Source: Twitter

Gregory Alan Grant is a retired American professional basketball star. Growing up in a broken home, Grant worked in a fish market while in high school. After being discovered at the local playground, the 5'7" point guard enrolled at Trenton State College in 1986 and led Division III in scoring in 1989.

6. Keith Jennings

Shortest NBA player
Keith Jennings warms up before the game against the Chicago Bulls on February 2, 1994 at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Arena in Oakland, California. Photo: Andrew D. Bernstein
Source: Getty Images

Keith Russell "Mister" Jennings is an American basketball coach who was formerly in the National Basketball Association. Jennings, a 5'7" (1.70 m) tall point guard, attended East Tennessee State University for four academic years (1987–91). Jennings won the 1991 Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award, given to the outstanding collegiate senior six feet tall and under, and was a second-team consensus All-American.

7. Red Klotz

shortest NBA player
Red Klotz was an American professional basketball player. Photo: @MarkDayNews
Source: Twitter

Louis Herman "Red" Klotz also makes it to the list of short basketball players. He was a National Basketball Association point guard with the original Baltimore Bullets. He was best known for forming the teams that play against and tour with the Harlem Globetrotters: the Washington Generals and the New York Nationals. He stood at 5 feet and 7 inches. Unfortunately, he passed away on July 12 2014, in Margate City, New Jersey, United States.

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8. Wat Misaka

Shortest NBA player
Basketball player Wat Misaka. Photo: @angryasianman
Source: Twitter

Wataru Misaka was an American professional basketball star. A 5-foot-7-inch point guard of Japanese descent, he broke a colour barrier in professional basketball by being the first non-white and the first player of Asian descent to participate in the National Basketball Association.

9. Monte Towe

Shortest NBA player
Monte Towe of the New Orleans Privateers questions a call during action against the Kansas Jawhawks at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kansas, on December 29, 2005. Photo by G. N. Lowrance
Source: Getty Images

Monte Corwin Towe is an American basketball coach and retired player. He was the starting point guard on North Carolina State's 1974 NCAA championship team. In addition, he played varsity baseball for NC State, earning All-ACC recognition in basketball and playing on conference championship teams in both sports. In 1975, the 5'7" (1.7 m) Towe received the Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award as the year's best college player under 6 feet (1.8 m) tall.

10. Charlie Criss

Shortest NBA player
Charlie Criss of the Atlanta Hawks looks on against the Washington Bullets during an NBA basketball game circa 1978 at the Capital Centre in Landover, Maryland. Photo by Focus on Sport
Source: Getty Images

Charles Washington Criss, Jr. is an American former professional basketball player born in Valhalla, New York. A 5'8" guard from New Mexico State University, Criss began his professional career in the Continental Basketball Association, earning league Most Valuable Player honours with the Scranton Apollos in 1976, next playing for the Washington Generals.

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He joined the Atlanta Hawks of the National Basketball Association the following year and participated for eight seasons in league with the Hawks, San Diego Clippers and Milwaukee Bucks. Criss was the league's shortest active player when he entered the NBA.

Who is the shortest NBA player today?

Shortest NBA player
Markus Howard #00 of the Denver Nuggets poses for a portrait during NBA media day on September 27, 2021 at Ball Arena in Denver, Colorado. Photo: Bart Young
Source: Getty Images

Markus Howard, the shortest NBA player now stands at 5 feet and 10 inches, weighing 175 pounds. He plays for the Denver Nuggets of the National Basketball Association on a two-way contract with the Grand Rapids Gold of the NBA G League.

Facundo Campazzo is also the shortest active NBA player. At the height of 5 ft 10 in tall, he plays at the point guard position. He is also a member of the senior Argentina national basketball team. He, however, weighs 195 pounds.

The shortest NBA player, Bogues, has proven that it takes more than height to have a successful career in basketball. He is an inspiration to all the upcoming basketball payers below 6 feet.

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