Top 5 Shortest NBA Players in History

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The National Basketball Association is a league often dominated by giants, with 7-footers commonplace. But there, among these titans, a smaller breed has quietly thrived. These are the players who are not 7 feet tall. They’re not even 6-foot-6. In fact, they are not even an average 5-foot-9. They are the NBA’s mightiest of mites, the shortest players in league history. And as several of them showed, heart — and a little leaping ability — sometimes means as much as height when it comes to NBA success.

5 Keith Jennings (5-foot-7)

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Keith “Mister” Jennings was another 5-foot-7 NBA point guard who carved out a short, but respectable career in the league. Jennings lasted only three years in the league, spending 1992 through 1995 with the Golden State Warriors, but he went out “on top,” with his last season also his best. In 1994-95, Jennings started 24 games and averaged 7.4 points and 4.7 assists per game, all single-season highs in a career that saw him play just 164 games.

4 Greg Grant (5-foot-7)

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Among the handful of NBA players who stood 5-foot-7, Greg Grant is probably the smallest, listed at a mere 140-pound playing weight. He also faced some of the longest odds of success, rising from NCAA Division III Trenton State to the pros. Grant may have “towered” over Bogues and the others, but he was not in their league as a player, lasting only six seasons from 1989 to 1996 and bouncing from team to team on his way to six different franchises in the process. He finished his career averaging less than 3 points per game, but he played 274 more NBA games than many taller men.

3 Spud Webb (5-foot-6)

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Despite standing only 5-foot-6, Anthony “Spud” Webb earned lasting fame by jamming his way to victory in the the NBA’s Slam Dunk Contest in 1986. His sudden impact helped make him the first of these sub-6-footers to thrive in the league: When he debuted, he was the shortest player in NBA history, and he paving the way for other less-than-tall stars like Bogues. Webb spent six years as the starting point guard for the Atlanta Hawks and Sacramento Kings, part of a 12-season NBA run from 1985 to 1998 that saw him average just a shade under 10 points per game.

2 Earl Boykins (5-foot-5)

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At 5-foot-5, Earl Boykins is the second-shortest player in NBA history, and the lightest, at a playing weight of 135 pounds. Although he did not quite experience Muggsy Bogues’ success, he also managed to carve out a long playing career among the trees, lasting parts of 13 seasons in the league. He bounced around, playing for 10 teams from 1998 to 2012, while only starting 34 games, but he always bounced back and found a new home. Boykins didn’t have a fancy nickname like Bogues, Spud Webb or Keith “Mister” Jennings, but he did average 8.9 points per game for his career.

1 Muggsy Bogues (5-foot-3)

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Tyrone “Muggsy” Bogues has the distinction of thriving in the NBA despite not only being shorter than the average American man, but shorter than the average American woman. Muggsy checked in at an underwhelming 5-foot-3, but played parts of 14 seasons in the NBA from 1987 to 2001, most of them as a starting point guard for the expansion Charlotte Hornets in the early 1990s. Muggsy gained fame for his photos alongside 7-foot-7 teammate Manute Bol during his rookie year, but he was far more than a sideshow. His 7.6 assists per game attest to that.

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