Taylor Swift is 5’10,” so the question really is, what players NBA players are 5’10” or shorter? Plenty. That’s the short answer. And while the question is a hot button issue because Taylor Swift is a celebrity, it is also slightly sexist. No one is interested in comparing NBA players who are as tall as Tom Cruise who stands around 5’6.” They’re interested in Taylor Swift because being shorter than a women is notable, or to some, something to look down upon.
That being said, there are many stars who are around her height or shorter. The thing is, it is rather difficult to pinpoint exact heights. NBA players who are over 7 feet sometimes like to minimize their career listing. Kevin Garnett referred tom himself as 6’12”, most likely as to not get pigeon holed into being labeled a Center.
Shorter players often list their height much higher, or at least list their height when wearing basketball shoes. That can give players a couple inches on their height. In this article we’ll explore players who are around 5’10” or below, using Ms. Swift as a benchmark for that height cutoff.
15 Muggsy Bogues
Muggsy Bogues is, of course, the shortest NBA player to ever play the game. He was 5’3,” half a foot shorter than the average height for a man. He had an incredibly long career for a man so short. 15 years (plus another 3 games in his final year).
Drafted by the Washington Bullets, Bogues came from Wake Forest University. He grew up in Baltimore Maryland—making for a popular pick in the NBA draft to the former Baltimore ballclub.
Over his career Bogues averaged 7.7 points per game. He dished out 7.6 assists, and 1.5 steals a game. He constantly surprised NBA fans by being able to play amongst the trees.
Bogues played most of his career with the Charlotte Hornets—before they moved to New Orleans, and then returned to Charlotte in name when the Bobcats overturned ownership to Michael Jordan. In addition to the Bullets and Hornets, Bogues played with the Warriors and Raptors. His best season was with the Hornets in the 1993-94 season, averaging 10.8 points and 10.1 assists.
14 D.J. Augustin
Listed at 6-foot, DJ Augustin probably sits around 5’10.” Drafted from the University of Texas, at Austin, Augustin was born in New Orleans, but raised in Texas. He was the number nine pick in the 2008 draft.
The real question with Augustin is why he chose D.J.? His full name is Darryl Gerard Augustin Jr. Perhaps the Jr instead of the G?
Augustin has been a career NBA journeyman. He’s played with eight clubs over the nine seasons: Charlotte Bobcats, Indiana Pacers, Chicago Bulls, Oklahoma City Thunder, Detroit Pistons, Denver Nuggets and the Toronto Raptors.
He’s been a good player for teams, though he has a tendancy to get better stats on non-contending teams. For his career he’s averaged 9.5 points, 3.8 assists and is an 86% FT shooter. At one point it seemed that Augustin was finally going to be the backup PG OKC always needed, but not so. He only scored 4.2 points that year.
13 Earl Boykins
Today Earl Boykins would probably have been listed at 5’9” (more on that later). But during his time in the NBA he was listed at 5’5.” His career spanned 13 years. Boykins wasn undrafted free agent . He went to school in Eastern Michigan University. He played for 10 teams over his career: Denver, Milwaukee, the Clippers, the Warriors, Washington, Cleveland, Charlotte, Houston, the Nets, and Orlando.
Boykins' career didn’t really get going until his fifth season with the Warriors where he averaged 8.8 points per game. He moved onto Denver for the next four seasons where he became a fan favorite. He averaged 12.1 points per game in the Mile High City.
Unfortunately, like many of the players on this list, Boykins never tasted a championship. And he never really got close, but he was certainly an inspiration for those of shorter stature.
12 Spud Webb
Spud Webb was drafted during the time when the NBA draft went passed two rounds. He was taken in the fourth round (87th overall) in 1985 by the Detroit Pistons out of North Carolina State University, but he was traded to the Atlanta Hawks. Webb was listed at 5’6”.
He had a fine career, averaging 9.9 points over 12 years in the NBA. He became a fan favorite in Atlanta of course, when he won the Dunk Contest in his rookie season. He faced off against his teammate and reigning Dunk Champ, Dominique Wilkins in the final, but came out on top.
Webb played most of his career with Atlanta. He did move around to Sacramento, Minnesota and Orlando, but he’s most remembered for his Hawks days. His greatest season came in 91-92 when he averaged 16.0 points per game.
11 Kemba Walker
Many current NBA fans will look wildly at Kemba Walker being listed in this article. Walker’s NBA page has him at 6’1” but this is a generous—shoe assisted—measurement. It seems Walker is right around that 5’10” benchmark of Pop-Star Taylor Swift.
Walker is the current star of Michael Jordan’s franchise, the Charlotte Hornets. Drafted by the then Bobcats out of the University of Connecticut, Walker was the ninth pick in the 2011 NBA draft.
He made his first All-Star team this year, averaging 23.2 points, 5.5 assists, while shooting nearly 40% from three (.399). But Walker’s considerable talents seem wasted on a team that has only seen playoff action twice during Walker’s career—and both times as low seeds. Walker may yet find that his team improves, especially if Jordan can convince some All-Stars to join his franchise.
10 Avery Johnson
Former Nets coach, and NBA Champion with the San Antion Spurs, Avery Johnson is another player who stands at the height of Ms. Swift (5’10” if you haven’t been keeping up).
With 17 years in the NBA, Johnson has one of the longest and most productive careers of our sub-six footers. He was an undrafted free agent whom the Seattle SuperSonics signed for 43 games in the 88-89 season. He was mainly low minutes player until he rejoined the Spurs for the first time in the 92-93 season. His best season came with the Spurs in 95-96 when he averaged 13.1 points and 9.6 assists per game.
Over his entire career Johnson averaged 8.4 points and 5.5 assists. He played for six teams in total: The Spurs, Warriors, SuperSonics, Nuggets, Mavericks, and Rockets, though the majority of his career (10 seasons) were spent with the Spurs.
9 Damon Stoudamire
Damon Stoudamire comes in as another 5’10” player. Drafted by the Toronto Raptors as the seventh ick in the 1995 draft, Stoudamire would provide an excellent offensive game for the Canadian Franchise. He averaged 19.6 points and 8.8 assists for the 3 seasons he played in Toronto. His best season was his second season in Toronto where he averaged 20.2 points and 8.8 assists. He looked like budding superstar.
But Stoudamire was traded to the Portland Trailblazers where he played eight seasons. He never provided the same offensive spark, averaging 12.8 points and 5.7 assists.
He played for four franchises: Toronto, Portland, the Memphis Grizzles, and the San Antonio Spurs; averaging 13.4 points and 6.1 assists over 13 years in the NBA. His final season he was traded from Memphis to the Spurs, in hope of winning a ring with the reigning champs. The Lakers, not the Spurs, went the the NBA finals that year though—losing to the Boston Celtics in 6 games.
8 J.J. Barea
It’s become something a running joke that J.J. Barea is listed at 6 foot. He might be six inches shorter than that.
Barea played college at Northeastern University—having grown up in Miami, Florida—and was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Dallas Mavericks. It seemed in his first season that he wouldn’t amount to much though. He only averaged 2.4 points and 0.7 assists. But five seasons later he was averaging 9.5 points and 3.9 assists for the Mavericks, helping the Mavericks to beat the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals.
He was signed by the Minnesota Timberwolves for several seasons before returning to Dallas. He’s averaged 8.8 points and 3.6 assists for his career, and has mainly been a bench guy during that span.
7 Calvin Murphy
Calvin Murphy stood at 5’9,” and at the time players were sticking to their actual height.
Drafted out of Niagara University, Murphy was selected 18th overall by the San Diego Rockets. There’s a name most NBA fans will look twice at. Yes! The Rockets were in San Diego before they moved to Houston the year after they drafted Murphy.
Murphy had a great career, especially for a small guy. He averaged 15.8 points for this rookie season. He was an All-Star in the 1978-79 season where he averaged 20.2 points per game—though his best season came the year before when he averaged a gcareer high 25.6 points per game.
Murphy is a rare breed, playing his entire career for one team, but in two different cities. He made the playoffs several times, but an NBA championship eluded him.
6 Aaron Brooks
Another player listed at six foot, Aaron Brooks probably stands more around 5’9”/5’10.” Brooks was drafted out of the University of Oregon, after growing up in Seattle. The Houston Rockets selected Brooks 26th overall in the 2007 draft.
In his third season he proved to be an excellent player. He averaged 19.6 points per game for the Rockets, with 5.3 assists. Though the next season he averaged only 11.6 before being traded to Pheonix. He missed the entire lockout season when he chose to play in China, and came back a much lesser player. This past season he played for the Indiana Pacers, averaging 5 points and 1.9 assists over 13.8 minutes per game.
He’s made the playoffs five times, three seasons with the Rockets, once with the Bulls and once with the Pacers this season. Over his whole career he’s played for six franchises and has averaged 10.1 points and 3.1 assists for his career.
5 Jameer Nelson
Like Brooks, Jameer Nelson is listed at 6’0” but he’s definetly not. He’s again more around 5’10,” though probably 6-foot in sneakers.
Nelson was drafted 20th overall by the Denver Nuggets in the 2004 draft, coming out of Saint Joseph’s University, after growin up in Chester, Pennsylvania. He was traded immediately to the Orlando Magic, where he played 10 seasons and made the Finals with the Magic (who won one game in the Finals, losing to the Lakers in five).
Nelson has been incredibly productive starter and bench player, while never being a Super Star. He’s a consummate NBA veteran. His best season came during the Finals championship run season in 08-09 when he was named an NBA All-Star. He averaged 16.7 points per game and 5.4 assists, though only played 42 games that season, as he dealt with an injury.
4 Nate Robinson
Listed at 5’9”, Nate Robinson is among the numerous players that add a little height to their listing. He probably sits around 5’6”, 5’7.”
Robinson was drafted by the Phoenix Suns out of the University of Washington (where he grew up), though immediately traded to the New York Knickerbockers. He was selected 21st overall, and probably would have gone higher if he had been taller.
His rookie season he averaged 9.3 points per game over 21.4 minutes. His best season came in his fourth season, still playing for the Knicks, where he averaged 17.2 points and 4.1 assists. He was traded to Boston in 2010, where he became part of a bench duo with Glen “Big Baby” Davis, nicknamed “Shrek and Donkey.” He made the Finals with Boston that year, but the Celtics lost to the Lakers in 7 games.
Robinson is most known for winning the Dunk Contest multiple times—dressing once as “KryptoNate” to Dwight Howard’s “Superman.” He dunked over Howard during that Contest, though he used his arm to propel himself over Dwight.
3 Isaiah Thomas
Isaiah Thomas has the ability to overtake everyone as the best short man of all time. He’s listed at 5’9” like Nate Robinson, but is really around that 5’6” 5’7” mark.
Growing up in the Seattle area, Thomas went to the University of Washington, like Robinson, and was selected dead last in the 2011 draft by the Sacramento Kings.
He played with DeMarcus and the Kings for a couple seasons, scoring 20.3 points per game before being traded to Phoenix. It was rumored that Cousins didn’t like playing with him. Phoenix, overloaded with talented point guards, traded him to Boston, where at first it looked like he’d be a spark plug bench player. Traded at the deadline, Thomas scored 19 points per game for Boston in the last 21 games of the season.
Of course, Thomas’ best season has come this season, where he averaged 28.9 points per game, and earned the moniker “King of the Fourth” because of the crazy amount of wins he earned for Boston by taking over offensively in the fourth.
2 Allen Iverson
Allen Iverson is usually referred to as one of the greats—and not just for being little. Listed at six feet, Iverson stands around 5-10. He’s a Hall of Famer, an 11-time All Star, seven-time All-NBA, two-time All Star MVP, 2000-01 MVP, and was the 1996-97 Rookie of the Year. He single handedly brought one of the worst teams to ever make the Finals, to the NBA Finals, where they managed to win one game against the Lakers, before losing to Shaq and Kobe in five.
Iverson led the league in scoring four times in his career. He averaged 26.7 and 6.2 assists for his career. He also led the league in minutes per game seven seasons. Iverson is infamous for his “Practice” comments while with the 76ers. Though he is immortalized in Philly nevertheless. It’s arguable if he or our next selection is the better “small guy.”
1 Steve Nash (Questionable Height)
Steve Nash is probably taller than Taylor Swift, but he’s definitely not 6-3 and is sure one of the All-Time smaller players in the NBA.
Nash was drafted 15th overall by the Phoenix Suns in the 1996 NBA draft. He went to Santa Clara University, after growing up in Victoria, Canada. Judging by his rookie season, it never looked like Nash would be much of anything. He managed 10.5 minutes per game and averaged 2.1 assists and 3.3 points. He was traded to Dallas after just two seasons, but it took a little while before his career really took off. Of course, Nash is most famous for when he played in Mike D’Antoni’s system in Phoenix, alongside Amar’e Stoudamire. He led the league in assists five times, and was a two-time MVP.
Nash never made it to the Finals, losing to the Lakers, Spurs, Mavericks—who all got titles during his time in the NBA. He finished third the all time assists board, with 10,335 assists during his career.
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