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Top 15 Shortest Players to Make it to the NBA

It’s not the size – it’s what you do with it. You know what they say, the best things come in the smallest packages. Ok, enough of the clichés. We know size matters and nowhere is that more true than the NBA. But every now and then a pocket rocket will emerge from nowhere to take everyone by surprise.

Players small of stature have graced the court for decades. From the 5ft 6 Mel Hirsch to the 5ft 7 Watary Misaka in the 1947-48 New York Knicks side. These point guards couldn’t sustain a career worthy enough of truly making it in the league though. What separates the best from the rest is longevity in the world’s toughest basketball competition.

Talk to any coach in the sport and they’ll tell you straight up that a balanced squad is a winning squad. For every forward or center that can dominate with and without the ball, it’s the impact guys coming off the bench to contribute on the scoreboard that are just as valuable over the course of a season.

The San Antonio Spurs need Tim Duncan and Kawhi Leonard to go above and beyond, but if the likes of Patty Mills can’t make plays once he’s subbed on, they don’t win nearly as many games. At a flat 6ft 0 Mills is easily the smallest of that squad, quite a sobering thought for the rest of these shorties who stayed in the game.

These athletes have defied normal conventions and stereotypes about the sport of basketball. Where scouts and coaches have looked to unearth the best rebounders and dunking merchants, the smallest NBA legends literally go under the radar to set their own standard on the court. Here are the top 15 shortest players to make it in the NBA.

15 T13. Slater Martin – 5'10" 

via en.wikipedia.org

14 T13. Avery Johnson – 5'10" 

via depassejones.com

13 T13. Brevin Knight – 5'10" 

via espn.go.com

12 T8. Isaiah Thomas – 5'9" 

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

11 T8. Nate Robinson – 5'9"

Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

10 T8. Ralph O’Brien – 5'9" 

via hoopshall.com

9 T8. Angelo Musi – 5'9" 

via hoopshype.com

8 T8. Calvin Murphy – 5'9" 

via toptenz.net

7 T6. Dino Martin – 5'8" 

via en.wikipedia.org

6 T6. Charlie Criss – 5'8" 

via complex.com

5 T3. Keith Jennings – 5'7" 

via tricitiessports.com

4 T3. Greg Grant – 5'7" 

via nba.com

3 T3. Spud Webb – 5'7" 

via pinterest.com

2 Earl Boykins – 5'5"

via en.wikipedia.org

1 Muggsy Bogues – 5'3"

via nba.com

The smallest of the small and arguably the best of the lot. Space Jam actor and miniature point guard Muggsy Bogues transcended the sport and flew in the face of logic to star for the Bullets, Hornets, Warriors and Raptors from 1987 to 2001 with all of his 5ft and 3 inches. Muggsy isn’t even small by basketball standards. He would struggle to stand out in a room full of nuns. With 889 games to look back on over a glittering career, his speed and agility on the court gave him a center of gravity and ease of movement that couldn’t be matched. A true giant among the small NBA community.

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Top 15 Shortest Players to Make it to the NBA