It is clear to the rather uninformed that basketball is a sport in which height is one of the most important preconditions for success, although high growth alone is by no means sufficient without other qualities. Basketball is known as a sport of tall people because height obviously gives advantages and significantly facilitates the game under the hoops. However, in a sport dominated by two-meter throws, players who are low not only by the standards of this game but also when compared to average people, sometimes make an important contribution.
The player must be able to deal with opponents in both attack and defense, and if those opponents are much taller, this task is much more difficult. That is why there are very few players under 175 cm who manage to play at the highest level. Such exceptions do exist. Although below average height, these players were still impressive athletes, and they compensated for the lack of centimeters with speed and great jumping. This is a story about the shortest players in the NBA league.
Top 10 shortest players in NBA
Charlie Chriss – 173 cm
In addition to Chriss, there are two other players with the same height. Willie Somerset, who played eight games in the 1965/1966 season. and Dino Martin, whose career lasted longer and he even played as a power forward for a short period. It is interesting to note that this happened in the era of George Mikan’s domination. Chriss has left a solid mark in the Bucks, Clippers, and Hawks. It wasn’t until he was 28 that he came to the NBA from the CBA League where he was twice MVP. When he came to the league he was the oldest rookie and the lowest player in the league. He played a total of 418 games averaging 8.5 points and 3.2 assists.
Keith “Mister” Jennings- 170 cm
A top university player who has earned many individual awards during his “college” career. But he was not selected in the 1991 draft, but the following year he was signed by the Golden State Warriors where he played three solid seasons. In the extension draft, he was re-elected in 1995 by the Raptors but never played for them. He went to Europe where he played a solid eight seasons, until his retirement in 2004. Today she works as a coach in a women’s university program.
Monte Towe – 170 cm
He played one season in the Denver Nuggets jersey in the 1976/1977 season, while he played another in the ABA League. He played 81 games in total. Just like Jennings, he was an outstanding player at the university winning even an NCAA title. Together with his teammate, the legendary David Thompson, one of the “inventors” of the alley-oop.
Wataru Wat Misaka- 170 cm
The first Asian basketball player in NBA league history. He played for the New York Knicks in the 1947/1948 season, scoring a total of seven points in three games. In the post-World War II era, it played a key role in making life easier for Asians, especially the Japanese, after all the war events of the beginning of that decade. It is interesting to note that Wataru served in the US Army during the war, and after storing his rifle he enrolled in college with a basketball. With the University of Utah he won two NCAA titles which attracted the interest of the Knicks. He even received an invitation to join the Harlem Globetrotters, which he turned down, and he soon ended his basketball career and decided on a “career as an engineer”.
Louis “Red” Klotz – 170 cm
He also left no deeper mark. He scored a total of 15 points in 11 games played. He played for the Baltimore Bullets in the 1947/1948 season. He is remembered in history as the lowest player to win an NBA title. Known for forming the Washington Generals, a rival team to the Harlem Globetrotters in the 1950s. By the way, this is a partner team that lost forever to the team from Harlem.
Greg Grant- 170 cm
Through nine seasons he played for six different teams in the NBA League. He recorded 2.2 points and 2.0 assists per game in his career. Interestingly, in 2009 he published an autobiography. Of course, we haven’t read it, but it could be useful if you are shorter than 180 cm, and you plan to play in the NBA league…
Anthony Spud Webb- 170 cm
Through 13 years in the league, he left a pretty deep mark. Fans mostly remember him in the Atlanta Hawks jersey. In 1986, he made history at the All-Star Slam Dunk Contest by winning a competition, even against Dominique Wilkins, who is considered one of the five best dunkers in history. He concluded his career with averages of 9.9 points and 5.3 assists.
Melvin Hirsch – 167 cm
He fought for a contract with the Boston Celtics in the 1946/1947 season. He played only 13 games and scored 19 points in total. Like the others, he was adorned with exceptional speed, but he failed to leave a deeper mark in basketball.
Earl Boykins -165 cm
Top college player and icon of East Michigan University is the second shortest player in NBA history. In the 1998 NBA Draft, he was not selected but won short-term contracts with several teams. He got his first serious contract with the Warriors, and he provided the best games in the Denver Nuggets jersey, wherein in 2003 he scored a solid 12 points per game. He retired in 2012.
Tyrone “Mugsy” Bogues
An absolute record holder and probably one of those record categories that will not be broken. Interestingly, in addition to being the lowest, he is probably the best player on the list. In 1986, he was a member of the American national team that won gold at the World Cup. 1987 as the 12th pick selected by the Bullets. Due to dissatisfaction, he moved to the Hornets, where he established himself as one of the better players in the franchise. Even today, he holds records such as the total number of assists (+5000) and stolen balls (+1000). He has appeared in several films, and the most famous is certainly Space Jam. After retiring in 2001, he became a coach and led a high school team in Charlotte.
Shortest NBA player to dunk
Height of 170 centimeters in the world of professional basketball is a real rarity nowadays. It has been through the history of diminutive players, but only one has won the dunk competition at the All-Star night. Anthony “Spud” Webb was not a top player, in 13 years spent in the NBA he scored 8072 points, an average of 10, had 1742 rebounds, two per game, and 4342 assists, five per game.
However, he entered the history of NBA basketball because in 1986 he won first place in the dunk competition. In two ways, this competition was more interesting than the previous ones, as well as some that followed.
The first was that Webb was extremely low, the second was that he beat Dominique Wilkins in the final, who was twice the best, but he had Michael Jordan as his competitor in 1985, then Shawn Kemp in 1990.
That competition caused a lot of attention from the media, but also Wilkins himself, because, as Webb said, “he has never seen me knock before.” He received two maximum marks of 50. At the time, Webb and Wilkins were playing for the same club, the Atlanta Hawks. Their coach at the time, Mike Fratello, explained why Webb won that day.
– He entered Dominic’s head, assuring him that he had no plan and that he was not prepared at all. He managed to make Wilkins relax too much and believes that he will easily overcome him. However, it was just the opposite and Webb went down in history as the shortest basketball player to win a prestigious competition. He succeeded in one more thing, 20 years later he was preparing New York player Nate Robinson, 175 centimeters tall, for the same competition. Robinson won and so the two of them are the only champions under six feet.
Who is the shortest NBA player now?
Markus Howard is currently the lowest active player in the NBA. He was not selected in the NBA Draft 2020. He plays for the Denver Nuggets and is only 178 cm tall. He predominantly plays in the NBA G League for Grand Rapids Gold. His best career so far came in May last year when Denver beat Minnesota and he scored 15 pts. Another very low player is playing with him in Denver, Facundo Campazzo, but also one of the highest players in the league, Bol Bol, the son of the legendary Manute Bol.