Shortest Basketball Players (in the NBA)
The shortest player in the NBA currently is Denverâ€™s 5â€™5â€ dynamo Earl Boykins. Boykins holds Eastern Michigan’s career record for assists with 624 and ranks second on the scoring list with 2,211 points, behind former NBA player Kennedy McIntosh’s 2,219. In his senior year, he averaged 25.7 ppg to place second in the nation in scoring. He averaged in double figures in scoring in each of his four seasons, starting all but one of his 122 games played and averaging 18.1 ppg for his career. He is one of the shortest most explosive player that I can remember. Would you believe he can benchpress 315 pounds! He led the U.S. 22-and-under team to the gold medal at the 1997 World University Games in Italy, leading the team with a 15.7 ppg average, and earning USA Basketballâ€™s Athlete of the Year recognition in the process.
The shortest ever to play on NBA courts is the 5-3 Tyrone “Mugsy” Bogues. Bogues holds the record as the shortest player to ever dunk a basketball. Boykins has won the biannual Robert T. Spaulding ‘High Dunk’ contest in 1990, 1992 and 1994 and is considered one of the most skilled, and certainly the shortest executor of dunks in the history of the the game. Bogues graduated from Dunbar High School, the same school that produced future NBA players Reggie Williams, Reggie Lewis and David Wingate. As a senior in college, he led the Wake Forest Demon Deacons in scoring (14.8 ppg) and finished second among Atlantic Coast Conference guards in rebounding (3.8 rpg). He left college as the ACC’s all-time leader in assists and steals (since surpassed by Chris Corchiani and Bobby Hurley). He has received the Francis Pomeroy Naismith Award in 1987, an award given to the nation’s top player under six feet tall.
Atlanta Hawksâ€™ legendary Spud Webb is the shortest man on record â€“ 5â€™7â€ â€“ who has won an NBA slam dunk contest. In 1986, Spud Webb bested teammate Dominique Wilkins to capture the crown. His dunks included the elevator two-handed double pump dunk, the one-handed off the backboard one-handed jam, a 360-degree helicopter one-handed dunk, a 180-degree reverse double-pump slam, and finally, the 180-degree reverse two-handed jam from a lob bounce off the floor. He beat Wilkins aka “The Human Highlight Film” with two perfect 50-point scores in the final round. Would you believe he learned how to dunk when he was only 4’11”! After graduating in high school, he was not recruited by most colleges, mainly due to his size. Finally he attended Midland Junior College (in Midland, Texas) where he led his team to the junior college national title in 1982. In two years at N.C. State, Spud averaged 10.4 points and 5.7 assists per game.He played most of his NBA career with the Atlanta Hawks, but also had stints with the Sacramento Kings, Minnesota Timberwolves and Orlando Magic. In 12 seasons, he averaged 9.9 points per game.
Last year, New York rookie Nathaniel “Nate” Robinson made it to the record books as the second shortest player to capture the NBA slam dunk championship. Using Spud Webb as part of the props, Robinson caught the Spud Webb pass and jammed it home to beat Philadelphia 76ers high-flying Andre Iguodala who stood a full nine inches over his 5-9 frame. Robinson was a two-sport star in college, having played football and basketball for Washington. He dunked for the first time in eighth grade. Robinson was the 21st selection by the Phoenix Suns (his rights were traded to the New York Knicks) in the NBA 2005 draft. Quoting New York Knicks head coach Isiah Thomas: â€œAt that size, to get to this level, you have to have incredible speed. He has that. You got to have incredible intelligence. It’s speed, basketball IQ and toughness to go inside and take a lick. Even though he’s small, he’s put together pretty tight. He can take a lick…”
Among the short players who donned an NBA jersey are Clippers’ 5-9 Yuta Tabuse, Chicago’s 5-10 Andre Barrett, Charlotte’s 5-10 Brevin Knight, Memphis’ 5-10 Damon Stoudamire, ex-Seattle and San Antonio guard 5-10 Mike Wilks, Memphis’ 5-11 Chucky Atkins, ex-New Jersey guard 5-11 Travis Best, Milwaukee’s 5-11 TJ Ford, Atlanta’s 5-11 Craig “Speedy” Claxton, and Dallas’ 5-11 Jose Juan Barea. Probably next time we’ll be able to see a 1 foot point guard catching a pass and dunking it home. hehehe.
Do you know other short basketball players?
To be continued… (tomorrow, we’ll feature the tallest Filipino basketball players of all time)