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Slam Small! The 10 Shortest Players Ever to Have Graced the NBA

Celebs June 30, 2016 By Hugo

Basketball is one of America's favourite sporting pastimes. Millions tune in each week to catch a glimpse of their favourite stars. And whether it's watching Stephen Curry shoot another 3-point wonder or seeing Lebron James break another record, the NBA has fast become one of the most lucrative leagues in the world. 

But basketball isn't a sport for everyone. It's a game built around athleticism and agility- skills which are more likely to be found in taller players.


However, like many things in life, there are always exceptions to the rule. Just take these 10 players. For the average person walking down the street, most wouldn't bat an eyelid at their height. But on a professional basketball court, they are dwarfed by 7ft giants in a sport where being 6ft 3 is regarded as 'small.'

Here are the 10 smallest players ever to have graced the NBA. 

10. Charlie Criss- 5'8"

Standing at a mere 5'8", the New York native Charlie Criss was one baller who certainly punched above his weight. 



The standout guard- who averaged 8.5 points and 3.2 assists per game- enjoyed a decent career in the league, which included successful spells at the Atlanta Hawks, San Diego Clippers and Milwaukee Bucks before seeing out his career with a return spell at the Hawks. 

9. Spud Webb- 5' 7"

It's hard to believe the much-loved Spud Webb won the NBA Slam Dunk Contest during his rookie year with the Atlanta Hawks. But make no mistake- Webb was a naturally gifted player. The talented point guard enjoyed years of success, first with the Hawks and then with the Sacramento Kings, Minnesota Timberwolves and Orlando Magic before retiring in 1998.


The legendary jumper averaged an impressive points average of 10 points a game.

8. Monte Towe- 5’ 7”

Another who started their career with the Atlanta Hawks was Monte Towe. Unlike the others, however, Towe's career was relatively short-lived and spent only two seasons with the Nuggets after an ill-fated season at the Hawks before turning his attention to coaching.

monte tow


7. Wataru Misaka- 5’ 7”

As the first Asian player to join the NBA, the 5'7" Japanese baller Wataru Misaka became a pioneer for foreign hopefuls hoping to plough their skills in the league. While only netting 7 points in his short career, the former New York Knicks player featured only three times before returning to Japan to become an engineer. 


6. Red Klotz- 5’ 7”

After the end of World War Two, the NBA were desperate for players to fill their team's rosters, which may have partly explained why the 5'7" Red Klotz got a call from the Baltimore Bullets asking him to be their point guard


. But Red repaid their faith by playing a significant role in their championship winning season of 1948, scoring a respectable 15 points in 11 games before playing for many non-NBA teams until he eventually retired at the age of 68!

5. Keith Jennings- 5’ 7”

Averaging 6.6 points and 3.7 assists per game, Jennings' career saw him play for both the Denver Nuggets and the Golden State Warriors before moving overseas to play for teams in Spain, Turkey, Russia and France.


Another 5'7" player on this list, Keith Jennings played in the NBA for some years.

4. Greg Grant- 5'7"

Starting his career with the Phoneix Suns, Grant would only last a season with the Arizona outfit before moving to the New York Knicks. What followed was a plethora of moves for the New Jersey native, which included stints with the Charlotte Hornets and Philadelphia 76ers before leaving the NBA for the Continental Basketball Association in 1993.

greg grant

He would return, however, and finished his playing career with a brief stint at the Denver Nuggets before hanging up his shoes.

3. Mel Hirsch- 5'6"

Mel Hirsch played 13 times for the NBA's most successful team, The Boston Celtics, scoring 19 points and 10 assists before retiring only a season later to take care of his family.



 Sadly, Mel would die aged just 47  in 1968 after losing a long battle with leukemia. 

2. Earl Boykins- 5'5"

 Making his NBA debut in 1999 with the New Jersey Nets, the Eastern Michigan Univeristy graduate would appear for a string of top-tier teams, including the Cleveland Cavaliers, Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Clippers and the Milwaukee Bucks.



One important season for the Ohio native came in 2006, where Boykins averaged 15 points per game. The 5'5" star would end his 14-year-career in 2012 at the Houston Rockets. By the end of his career, he'd amassed an impressive 8.9 points, 3.2 assists and 1.3 rebounds per game. 

1. Muggsy Bogues- 5' 3"

At a meager 5'3", Tyrone 'Muggsy' Bogues is by far the shortest player to appear in the NBA. But Muggsy was also one of the best on the list too, and in a professional career spanning 14 years, the first round pick achieved his best years at the Charlotte Hornets, where he would spend the best part of a decade playing point guard. ​



A legend in his native Baltimore, Muggsy ended his career at the Golden State Warriors in 2001. In total, he averaged 7.7 points, 7.6 assists and 1.5 steals per game before shifting his attention to coaching. Recently, the NBA legend Michael Jordan hired Bogues as a team ambassador for the Charlotte Hornets. 

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