In a sport dominated by giants, some players play with their hearts on their sleeves and are relentless in their approach. These players are often overlooked due to their short stature. Nonetheless, their passion and heart often outweigh the harsh realities of physical dominance. Short players in a sport like basketball are not a rarity as one might expect. Over the years, there have been numerous players of short stature who have graced the court with their presence and have made a significant impact in the league. Additionally, these players also remind us that anybody can succeed at everything if they are passionate enough about it. Here we take a look at the greatest top 10 short basketball players of all time.
Brevin Knight: Height: 5’10”
Brevin Knight was a solid point guard. Consistent performance and strong leadership qualities placed him in an integral spot within the team. He was known for his composed play style and was consistent enough to finish in the top 10 assists, and top 10 steals list in different seasons. A steady and composed leader of the court, Brevin Knight, kicks off our list of the greatest top 10 short basketball players of all time.
Avery Johnson: Height: 5’10”
Dubbed the “Little General”, Avery Johnson spent around 16 years in the NBA as a player. Being undrafted initially, he soon found his way within the NBA despite being 5’10”. Where people were busy assessing his short stature, Avery Johnson was playing a crucial role with the San Antonio Spurs. In 1999, he helped Spurs lift the trophy after hitting the series-winning shot. In honor of his contributions, San Antonio retired his jersey number in 2007. Avery Johnson is 9th on our list of the greatest short basketball players of all time.
Damon Stoudamire: Height: 5’10”
Rookie of the year 1995, Damon Stoudamire was an exceptional scorer and passer. Nicknamed the “Mighty Mouse” owing to his relentless style of play and an average of 19 PPG in his rookie campaign. He was an active player in the NBA for 13 years playing for teams like Toronto Raptors, Portland Trailblazers, Memphis Grizzlies, and San Antonio Spurs. Damon Stoudamire places 8th on our list of greatest short basketball players.
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Allen Iverson: Height: 5’11”
Allen Iverson is the embodiment of a superstar. A 2001 MVP, Iverson was a household name in the early 2000s. Allen Iverson made the All-Star team an impressive 11 times and was also able to guide the Philadelphia 76ers to the NBA finals. However, he did not manage to win the league after losing to LA Lakers. In 2021, he was honored as one of the league’s greatest players and was included in the NBA 75th Anniversary Team. He was also able to ply his trade in the Turkish Basketball Super League, playing for Besiktas. A career filled with honors and accolades places Allen Iverson 7th on our list of great short players in basketball.
Nate Robinson: Height: 5’9″
Standing at 5’9″, the sight of Nate Robinson dunking in a match will never cease to be amazing. Winning the Dunk Contest an impressive 3 times, a player of his stature really inspires the youth to not be shackled by physical shortcomings. A utility player for every team he has played for, Nate Robinson has surely earned his place among some of the great short basketball players. He places 6th on our list.
Earl Boykins: Height: 5’5″
A shooter in the purest form, Earl Boykins was initially not drafted by any teams. Nonetheless, he ended up with Denver Nuggets after signing a 5-year deal with them. His impact on the team was not overlooked due to his offensive contributions and ability to score from various positions. Being the 2nd shortest player in the history of the NBA, it never stopped Earl Boykins’s boisterous attempts to score for his team. His heart and determination place him 5th on our list of Greatest Top 10 Short Basketball Players of all time.
Isaiah Thomas: Height: 5’8″
Isaiah Thomas was drafted by the Sacramento Kings as a 60th overall draft pick. Even though he is billed at 5’9″ on the official NBA website, Isiah Thomas revealed via an essay on Players Tribune that he is actually 5’8″ tall. Boasting an impressive average of 17.8 PPG and currently playing for Charlotte Hornets, Isiah Thomas has certainly made a name for himself in the NBA. The impact Thomas had on NBA, being a player of his height, has certainly not been ignored. He is 4th on our list.
Calvin Murphy: Height: 5’9″
Drafted 18th overall by the Houston Rockets in 1970, standing in at 5’9″, Calvin Murphy is one of the great short stature players to have graced this game. Boasting an impressive 17.9 PPG and 4.4 APG, Murphy was an explicit shooting guard and an excellent free throw shooter. Given his height, it was easy to imagine him being a distributor. However, his playstyle turned heads at the time, and he was able to carve a distinctive career for himself. He remained a Rocket fr the entirety of his 17-year career. Coming in 3rd on our list is Calvin Murphy.
Spud Webb: Height: 5’6″
At just 5’6″ tall, Spud Webb still remains the shortest player ever to win the Slam Dunk Contest in 1986. Picked up by Atlanta Hawks, the legacy of Spud Webb still remains bright in the NBA due to his gravity-defying performance in the Dunk Contest. However, his best season as a player came with the Sacramento Kings when he averaged 14.7 PPG and 7.2 APG. A legend, to say the least, in the NBA, Spud Webb comes in at 2nd place on our list.
Tyrone Curtis ‘Muggsy’ Bogues: Height: 5’3″
While compiling this list, the first name that popped up in our head was that of Muggsy Bogues. At 5’3″, Bogues is as legendary as they come. We could not put anybody else at the pole position other than Muggsy Bogues. One of the greatest passers of the game at the time, Bogues started his career at Washington Bullets in 1987, being drafted as a 12th overall pick. He went on to have an illustrious career playing as a point guard for Charlotte Hornets, Golden State Warriors, and Toronto Raptors. Owing to this height, he became one of the greatest distributors of the game, being able to maneuver his body among the giants and gaining control of the game. Additionally, his stealing stats were impressive as well. There are numerous highlights of him using his speed and stature to steal and launch an explosive counterattack.
Muggsy Bogues, whose real name is Tyrone Curtis Bogues, got his nickname due to this impressive ability to “mug” the ball during the game. An inspiration to all aspiring short-height basketball players worldwide, Muggsy Bogues deservedly is the greatest short basketball player of all time.