Basketball was always considered to be a game for big guys, but there were plenty of shorties that made a considerable impact and lead their teams to glory (well, not always) in the history of the NBA. Being an undersized player in the L is never easy and the notable small men lived their dreams defying concerns and gravity too!
At 5’9” Calvyn Murphy became the shortest player ever to be inducted in the Naismith Hall of Fame. He got his Rockets, a team where he spent all 13 years of his NBA carreer, to the Finals in 1980. At that time Calvyn held a few NBA records that were broken afterwards (highest free throw percentage and number of concequtive free throws). Stats do not say a lot about NBA legend of the seventies – he symbolised human will and was a crowd favorite during his playing days.
Tyrone “Muggsy” Bogues
Apparently the most famous shorty in the League’s history. At 5’3” (160cm) Muggsy was not the one who would be scared to play with the big guys and could go out blocking people that would definitely not expect this at all (hello Patrick Ewing!). He was a part of a big (well, big, yes) trio in Charlotte in mid-90s and also a member of that Space Jam gig with Michael Jordan and fellow NBA compatriots. At the moment he still represents Hornets as team’s ambassador. He will definitely be remembered for a long time.
The 5’10” Mighty Mouse became the Rookie of the Year in Raptors uniform and was a notable player on the court, but probably was better remembered as a man who tried to carry foil wrapped marijuana through the metal detector. He played some solid seasons for Portland Trail Blazers averaging respectable 13,4 ppg and 6,1 apg. After retiring in 2008 he moved to coaching and is a member of Arizona Wildcats basketball team coaching staff at the moment.
5’11” Avery Johnson was one of the key members of that dynasty Spurs team that won their first championship in 1999. The pinnacle of his carreer was game 5 of those Finals, when his 3 point shot reached the target to bring Tim Duncan his first ring. He was a figher on court, played for quite a few teams and had got a great start as a coach, receiving coach of the year honours in 2006 with Dallas Mavericks.
Slater “Dugie” Martin
Slater Martin was not supposed to make it to the NBA at all in the first place. Then Lakers coach seriously doubted 5’10” player’s ability and tried to use his speed in team tactics, while George Mikan simply told Martin to get the ball to him and get away. Nevertheless he became a Hall of Fame member in 1982 and won 5 rings together with impressive 7 All Star game appearences. Sadly, he passed away in 2012.
At 5’10” Adams never made a big deal of his height. This was not something that could stop him from having a 54 point night once, a mind blowing 26,5 ppg, 10,5 apg season for Denver Nuggets and lead the League for 4 consecutive seasons in 3 point attempts. A pity he only played in one Allstar Game in 1992.
Sacramento Kings point guard is still new to NBA, but has already set a unique record. He became the shortest NBA player to record a triple double against Washington Wizards with 24 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds. And yes, he is only 5’9”.
5’7” Anthony Stud Webb spent over 10 years in the NBA and made history as the shortest guy to compete and win a Slam Dunk Contest. That magic night in 1986 Stud surprised everyone, including his teammate Dominick Wilkins, who claimed that he had never seen him dunk before. The rest is history.
Earl is so small (5’5”) he went undrafted that did not stop him from getting into the League 1999 and spending wonderful 13 seasons averaging 8,9 points and 3,2 assists. He is probably better remembered for his stint with Denver Nuggets. He also played in Europe in 2008-09 with Italian side Virtus Bologna.
The last, but not the least, 5’9” Nate Robinson is close to become an NBA legend even though he changed 6 clubs during his remarkable carreer. 3-time Slam Dunk champion played his best years with NY Knicks and will definitely go down in history as an amazing personality small player that reached big heights.