It is generally accepted that only athletes under two meters in height get into the NBA. In fact, this is a delusion.
We are talking about the players, whose miniature size did not prevent them from making their way to the best basketball league in the world.
The 10 Smallest Basketball Players in NBA
Years of performance in the NBA
Lowest non-African American player in NBA history
Before the appearance in the NBA of Spud Webb (168 cm), Mugsy Bogs (160 cm), and Earl Boykins (165 cm), Mel Hirsch (168 cm) remained the lowest player in the history of the League for almost 40 years.
Hirsch’s basketball career was short-lived. In 1943, he graduated from Brooklyn College, where he established himself as an excellent basketball player. Mel joined the US Army Air Corps as a navigator on the C-47 and continued to play basketball with the squadron officers.
After the end of the war, Hersch joined the Celtics. In the 1946/47 season, which was the only one in Hirsch’s professional career, he played 13 games for Boston, scoring 19 points. Despite a brief performance, Mel Hirsch continues to go down in NBA history as the lowest non-African American player ever to hit the floor.
The list of the smallest basketball players in the history of the National Basketball Association contains only one player who is not a US citizen. This is the Japanese defender Utah Tabuse (175 cm). Tabuse was one of the most talented basketball players in his country and three times led his native college to the championship in Japan. Therefore, Utah decided to try his luck in the strongest world championship.
However, it was not possible to conquer the NBA outright. He first played six Summer League games for Dallas with an average of 4.5 points – 1.7 rebounds – 1 assist. Tabuse did not impress the Mavericks and moved to Bakersfield, playing the entire 2003/04 season in the Development League with Phoenix’s Long Beach Jam farm club. Here the Japanese finally managed to prove himself – he became the best in the team in terms of the number of assists (6.3 on average per game).
The following season, Utah joined the Sun’s main team. His NBA debut took place on November 3, 2004, in a match against Atlanta. In his debut game, Tabuse scored 7 points but spent the rest of the season at Jam again.7 points for the Suns were the only ones in Utah’s NBA career. Despite this, he became the first player in Japanese history to enter the site of the world’s strongest league.
In addition, he is still the only non-American on the list of the shortest basketball players in the history of the National Basketball Association. In 2006, Tabuse became one of four basketball players to make the cover of an NBA Live game. In addition to the Japanese, Dwyane Wade, Tony Parker, and Pau Gasol also became the “face” of the computer game.
Lowest NBA player in the Basketball Hall of Fame
The smallest player in the Basketball Hall of Fame is Calvin Murphy, who is 175 cm. Over a 13-year NBA career, Murphy has 17,949 points (17.9 per game), 2,103 rebounds, 4,402 assists, 1,165 steals, and 51 shots.
The San Diego Rockets club (in 1971 the team moved from San Diego to Houston), where Calvin spent all these years, retired the jersey with his game number – 23. More than 35 years have passed since Murphy retired, but he still remains the lowest NBA player in the Basketball Hall of Fame. Calvin Murphy is the lowest player to be retired, the lowest player to play 1,000 NBA games and the lowest player to score 10,000 points.
The title of the lowest champion of the National Basketball Association is shared by two players at once: Slater Martin (178 cm) and Avery Johnson (178 cm). Slater Martin played in the league from 1949 to 1960. During this time, he acquired not only the title of one of the most tenacious defenders of the League but also five championships as part of two different teams.
The first 4 wins were won in the Minneapolis Lakers (now Los Angeles), Martin won another title after moving to the St. Louis Hawks (now Atlanta). Slater’s productivity is phenomenal: in 11 seasons in the NBA, he took part in the All-Star Game 7 times, was included in the second All-Star Team 5 times, and became the champion 5 times.
In 1982, he became the second-lowest NBA player to be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. Avery Johnson won the only championship ring with San Antonio in 1999. In the fifth match of the final against the New York Knicks, it was his shot that brought the Spurs’ first championship title in history.
Lowest MVP in NBA history
MVP (Most Valuable Player) in English means “most valuable player”. This award is presented at the end of the NBA regular season to the basketball player who has had the greatest impact on the successful performance of his team. For a long time, the lowest player to win the MVP title was legendary Boston point guard Bob Cosey (185 cm).
The defender led the Celtics to their first-ever title in 1957 and was voted the League’s Most Valuable Player that same season. Subsequently, Cosey became the NBA champion 5 more times with the Celtics. Cosey lost the title of the lowest MVP in the history of the Association in 2001 when the no less legendary Allen Iverson (183 cm) fully revealed his talent. In the 2000/01 season,
The Answer, with the active help of Dikembe Mutombo (218 cm), led Philadelphia to the NBA Finals for the first time in a long time. In the decisive series, the Sixers faced off against the Lakers, which included Shaquille O’Neill and Kobe Bryant at the time.
After winning the opening game in overtime, Philadelphia lost the next four. The championship ring remained a pipe dream for Iverson, who collected every possible personal award (Rookie of the Year, All-Star Most Valuable Player), but never succeeded in team achievements.
Lowest NBA Slam Dunk Winner
In basketball, the hoop is set at a height of 3.05 meters from the floor. The vertical jump of a 168cm player must be huge to win the NBA Overhead Throwing Competition. It was such an unrealistic jump that Spud Webb possessed – he could push up 50 inches (127 cm). Considering that during the slam-dunk competition, throws are usually performed with a running start, you can safely add 30-40 cm to this indicator.
In 1986, Webb’s rival in the slam dunk competition was, among others, his Atlanta teammate Dominic Wilkins (201 cm), who had already won a similar competition. Recession and Dominic met in the final, in which luck favored the “kid”.Despite his modest size, Spud was a fairly useful player on the court. He finished his basketball career with an average of 9.9 points – 5.3 assists – 2.1 rebounds.
Webb’s successes opened the way to the Association for a number of short players (less than 170 cm). Nate Robinson followed in the footsteps of Spud Webb. According to various sources, Nate’s height is 172-175 cm.
Robinson went down in NBA history as the lowest three-time winner of a slam dunk competition. At 35, Nate has not yet retired. In August 2018, the basketball player signed a one-year contract with the Lebanese club Omenetmen from Beirut.
The lowest player in NBA history
The lowest player in NBA history is Mugsy Bogs (160 cm). The basketball player’s real name is Tyrone Curtis. Mugsy is a nickname that comes from the English word mugger – a robber, a thief. Bogz has long been one of the top 50 players in NBA history for steals.
This skill developed also due to the miniature size and secured the nickname “Mugsy” for Tyrone. Bogz was good not only at interceptions: in his 14-year career with the Association, he distributed 6,726 assists to his partners (7.6 on average per game), with 6,858 points scored.
With this figure, Mugsy is still in the top 25 of the best assistants in NBA history, ahead of such great players as Jerry West, Larry Bird, and Michael Jordan.In 1986, Mugsy won the FIBA World Cup in Spain as a member of the US national team.
In the final, the Americans beat the USSR national team in a bitter struggle (87:85), and Bogz was not in the last role in that match, having played well in defense against one of the best snipers of the opponents of Walters.
In 1996, Mugsy took part in the filming of the popular movie “Space Jam”.Earl Boykins (165 cm), the second-shortest player in NBA history, tried to emulate Bogs’ path in the National Basketball Association. Unlike Mugsy, Boykins’ career did not turn out to be so successful.
He was not drafted, not called up to the US national team, or invited to appear in films with other star players. He often moved from place to place, having played for 16 years in the 10 teams of the Association.
Boykins had a peak in the 2003/04 and 2004/05 seasons for Denver, appearing in each of 164 matches. In the Nuggets jersey, Boykins also became the smallest NBA player to score 30 points or more in a single game. It happened in November 2004 in a victorious meeting against the Detroit Pistons.
Lowest NBA player to date
The shortest acting basketball player in the NBA is Isaiah Thomas. Thomas’s card claims 175 cm, but in fact, on the court, he looks lower. During his career, Isaiah was repeatedly faced with the fact that the teams did not believe in his talent. In the 2011 draft, the “kid” was chosen by the Kings under the last 60th number in the second round.
In Sacramento and then in Phoenix, Thomas did not take root – the teams took turns getting rid of him, not yet knowing that they were parting with the future two-time NBA All-Star Game participant (the lowest in height and pick in the draft).In “Boston” Isaiah, albeit not immediately, but began to trust.
In addition to two calls to the All-Star Game, he was the lowest player to score 50 points in a single NBA game in Celtics uniform and the lowest player to score a triple-double.
In 2017, Thomas suffered a severe hip injury that still affects his performance. After the injury, Isaiah changed several clubs of the Association. In the new season, Thomas will once again try to revive his career in Washington.