As Lord Varys told Tyrion Lannister, “A very small man can cast a very large shadow.”
The adage applied in Westeros, and it has also wrung true in the NBA. Going up against some of the tallest people on the planet, short players have cemented a legacy in the league.
Calvin Murphy is the shortest player in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame at 5-foot-9. Allen Iverson, who is 6-foot even, is the shortest player to be named league MVP. Isiah Thomas led the Detroit Pistons to back-to-back NBA titles at 6-foot-1, while the 5-foot-9 Isaiah Thomas took the league by storm in 2016-17 with the Boston Celtics, earning his “King in the Fourth” moniker and placing fifth in the MVP race.
A few small players have become some of the NBA’s most famous high-flyers. Nate Robinson won three NBA Dunk Contests -- and jumped over Dwight Howard -- at 5-foot-9. Spud Webb is remembered as one of the game’s shortest players and most electrifying dunkers. He took home the 1986 Slam Dunk Contest title at 5-foot-6 and played 12 NBA seasons. Only two players in NBA history have measured shorter than Webb.
Here’s a look at the shortest players in the league all-time and in the present day.
Who is the shortest NBA player ever?
There have been nine players in NBA history who stood at 5-foot-7 or shorter, led by the 5-foot-3 Muggsy Bogues.
- Muggsy Bogues, 1987-2001: 5-foot-3
- Earl Boykins, 1998-2012: 5-foot-5
T-3. Spud Webb, 1985-1996, 1997-1998: 5-foot-6
T-3: Mel Hirsh, 1946: 5-foot-6
T-5. Greg Grant, 1989-1996: 5-foot-7
T-5: Keith Jennings, 1992-1995: 5-foot-7
T-5: Herm “Red” Klotz, 1948: 5-foot-7
T-5: Wat Misaka, 1948: 5-foot-7
T-5: Monte Towe, 1975-77: 5-foot-7
Bogues’ height was put into a mind-blowing perspective in a famous photo with teammate Manute Bol, who shares the title of tallest player in league history with Gheorghe Muresan at 7-foot-7.
Hirsh played just 13 games for the Celtics early in the 1946-47 season and held the title of shortest NBA player ever for almost 40 years until Bogues was drafted by the Washington Bullets with the 12th overall pick in 1987.
Wisaka made history in 1948 by breaking basketball’s color barrier, becoming the first non-white player in the NBA (then known as the Basketball Association of America). He played three BAA games and scored seven career points.
Who is the shortest player in the NBA right now?
Isaiah Thomas, who last played for the Charlotte Hornets and is currently a free agent, holds the title for the shortest player in the NBA right now at 5-foot-9.
Facundo Campazzo, who is a free agent and formerly played for the Denver Nuggets, comes in at second place at 5-foot-10.
There are four current players who measure in at 5-foot-11: the Nets’ Chris Chiozza, Mavericks’ McKinley Wright IV, free agent D.J. Augustin and Timberwolves’ Jordan McLaughlin.
Who is the shortest player on each NBA team?
There are team leaders across the league who also stand the shortest on their squads. Chris Paul and Kyle Lowry are among the marquee players with the smallest heights on their teams.
Here is a list of each team’s shortest player:
Aaron Holiday: 6-foot
Payton Pritchard: 6-foot-1
Chris Chiozza: 5-foot-11
Terry Rozier: 6-foot-1
Goran Dragic, Matt Thomas: 6-foot-3
Brandon Goodwin: 6-foot
McKinley Wright IV: 5-foot-11
Ish Smith: 6-foot
Saben Lee: 6-foot-2
Golden State Warriors
Mac McClung, Stephen Curry: 6-foot-2
Trey Burke: 6-foot
T.J. McConnell: 6-foot-1
Los Angeles Clippers
Reggie Jackson, Xavier Moon: 6-foot-2
Los Angeles Lakers
Dennis Schroder, Patrick Beverley: 6-foot-1
Tyus Jones: 6-foot
Kyle Lowry: 6-foot
Lindell Wigginton, Jevon Carter: 6-foot-1
Jordan McLaughlin: 5-foot-11
New Orleans Pelicans
Jared Harper, Jose Alvarado: 6-foot
New York Knicks
Miles McBride, Jalen Brunson: 6-foot-1
Oklahoma City Thunder
Luguentz Dort: 6-foot-3
Devin Cannady: 6-foot-1
Myles Powell, Tyrese Maxey, De’Anthony Melton: 6-foot-2
Chris Paul: 6-foot
Portland Trail Blazers
Damian Lillard, Brandon Williams: 6-foot-2
Davion Mitchell: 6-foot
San Antonio Spurs
Tre Jones: 6-foot-1
Malachi Flynn, Fred VanVleet: 6-foot-1
Mike Conley, Collin Sexton: 6-foot-1
Monte Morris: 6-foot-2