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In most cases, height is the main prerequisite for making it to the NBA. However, not all NBA players are tall and some of them are even shorter than your average Joe.
With that in mind, we have decided to look at a few of the shortest NBA players currently in the league, as well as some of the shortest NBA players ever. Let’s check them out.
The Shortest NBA Players Still In the League
Before we check out the shortest NBA players in the history of the league, let’s take a closer look at the shortest players who are still playing in the league:
While Isaiah Thomas is currently without a club, he played in the NBA last season and he might yet make a roster with another NBA team before the new season begins. In addition to being named after the legendary playmaker, Thomas also plays the same position as his namesake – which is not surprising considering he’s only 5-foot-9 (175cm).
During his career, Isaiah Thomas played for many teams, including Sacramento Kings, Phoenix Suns, and Boston Celtics, where he had his most successful season in which he averaged 28.9 points per game and 5.9 assists per game. Unfortunately, Thomas suffered a serious hip injury and he failed to put up similar numbers in the league ever since. Still, Thomas is the shortest-ever player to appear in an All-Star game, along with Calvin Murphy.
At 5-foot-10 (177.8 cm), Tremont Waters is one of the shortest NBA players currently active in the league. The young point guard was drafted in 2019 as the 51st overall pick by the Boston Celtics and he is still with the same franchise.
Waters didn’t play much in his first two seasons in the NBA, spending some of his time with the Maine Red Claws in the NBA G League. So far, he appeared in 37 games for the Celtics and averaged 3.8 points per game and 2.1 assists per game in 9.6 minutes per game.
Drafted by the Charlotte Bobcats in 2008 as the 9th overall pick, D.J. Augustin showed a lot of promise despite his modest height at 5-foot-11 (180cm). The crafty playmaker is still in the league with the Houston Rockets, but his role has been diminished lately as he switched a few teams in the last few seasons.
His best seasons were with Orlando Magic, where he played from 2016 to 2020. Overall, D.J. Augustin averaged 9.7 PPG and 4.0 APG in his career that spanned 13 years so far.
The Shortest NBA Players in the History of the League
Now that we’ve seen a few of the shortest players that are still active in the NBA, let’s take a look at some of the shortest NBA players ever:
Tyrone Curtis “Muggsy” Bogues is the shortest player who ever played in the NBA at 5-foot-3 (160 cm) and he actually had a very good career in the league. In fact, he was so popular in his time that he even appeared in Space Jam as one of the players who got their talent stolen by the Monstars.
Bogues was drafted as the 12th overall pick in the 1987 NBA Draft. He was picked by the Washington Bullets and played his rookie season with them. However, the Bullets didn’t protect Bogues who was selected by the Charlotte Hornets in the 1988 expansion draft. He spent eight seasons with Charlotte before moving to Golden State and then Toronto, where he finished his career. Bogues averaged 7.7 PPG, 7.6 APG, and 1.5 SPG during his NBA career.
The second-shortest NBA player ever is Earl Boykins, at 5-foot-5 (165 cm). Boykins went undrafted in the 1998 NBA Draft, but he was signed by the New Jersey Nets soon after. The playmaker moved from one team to another in his first few years in the league before signing his first long-term contract with the Nuggets in 2003.
Boykins also spent some time in Italy after he couldn’t find a place in the NBA in 2007, but he returned to the league in 2009 when he signed for the Wizards. Overall, Boykins appeared in 652 NBA games and averaged 8.9 points per game and 3.2 assists per game.
We debated whether to include Hirsch on our list since he only played in 13 NBA games, but since he was the shortest NBA player for more than 40 years until Muggsy Bogues came onto the NBA scene, we decided that he earned his place on our list.
Hirsch was 5-foot-6 (168 cm) and he played for the Boston Celtics in the 1946-1947 season in the former edition of the NBA called the Basketball Association of America (BAA). During his short-lived professional career, Mel Hirsch notched 20 points and 10 assists.
Michael Anthony Jerome Webb, better known simply as Spud Webb, is one of the shortest NBA players ever at 5-foot-7 (170 cm). He started his NBA career with the Atlanta Hawks, where he played most of his games. He also spent a year in Italy as well, but he quickly found a place in the NBA again after that.
Overall, Webb played in 814 NBA games, averaging 9.9 points per game and 5.3 assists per game. But he is best known for being the shortest-ever player to compete and win the NBA Slam Dunk Contest in 1986. He also trained Nate Robinson (5-foot-9) for his appearance in the 2010 Slam Dunk Contest, which Robinson won and joined Webb as the only two players under 7 feet to win the contest.
While Murphy was 5-foot-9 (175 cm), he made our list as the shortest NBA player to be enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. He was also the shortest player to ever appear in an NBA All-Star game, until Isaiah Thomas tied him after he made the All-Star game in 2016 and 2017.
Murphy was the 18th overall pick in the 1970 NBA Draft and spent his entire career with the team that drafted him – San Diego/Houston Rockets. During his 13 seasons as the starting point guard for the Rockets, Murphy averaged 17.9 points per game and 4.4 assists per game. He was later an assistant coach with the same franchise as well.