Size Doesn’t Matter: Meet The 10 Shortest NBA Players

The shortest NBA player of all time is Muggsy Bogues, standing at just 5’3” tall. While the NBA is the land of giants, Bogues isn’t the only player under six foot – far from it! This in-depth guide will introduce you to all of the shortest players in NBA history, and the shortest NBA players right now.

Who Is The Shortest NBA Player Right Now?

Guard Luwane and  Jacob Gilyard
Image of Jacob Gilyard (right): Daily Collegian/Wikipedia Commons, CC BY-SA 2.0

The shortest current NBA player is Jacob Gilyard. The Brooklyn Nets guard is 5’8” tall.

Considering that you have some of the tallest players of all time in the league right now, like 7’4” Victor Wembanyama, it’s impressive that Gilyard has been able to carve out a career for himself despite being just 5’8” tall.

Gilyard went undrafted in the 2022 NBA Draft after playing four years of college basketball for the University of Richmond Spiders. He signed for the Memphis Grizzlies in September 2022, but was quickly moved to their G-League team, the Memphis Hustle.

The Grizzlies re-signed him to a two-way contract in April 2023. He became a regular player for the Griz, leading them in three-point shooting percentage after 20 games. That wasn’t enough to convince Memphis to keep him around, though. The Grizzlies waived Gilyard in February 2024.

The Brooklyn Nets signed Gilyard to a two-way contract in March 2024. In his short time with the Nets so far, he has made four appearances and averaged 11 minutes per game. However, he didn’t score a single point in those minutes.

Gilyard did dish out 1.5 assists per game, though, so it wasn’t all bad for the shortest player in the NBA.

Who Are The Shortest Current NBA Players?

Isaiah Thomas with Jordan McRae
Image of Isaiah Thomas (left): All-Pro Reels/Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0

There are just two players in the NBA right now who are shorter than six feet tall. As mentioned, Jacob Gilyard is the shortest current NBA player standing at 5’8″, followed by Isaiah Thomas who is 5’9″.

After Thomas and Gilyard, there is a 8-way tie for the next shortest active players. See the full list of the top 10 shortest NBA players below:

  1. Jacob Gilyard: 5’8“ (Brooklyn Nets)
  2. Isaiah Thomas: 5’9“ (Phoenix Suns)
  3. Jose Alvarado: 6’0” (New Orleans Pelicans)
  4. Mike Conley: 6’0” (Minnesota Timberwolves)
  5. Aaron Holiday: 6’0” (Houston Rockets)
  6. Kyle Lowry: 6’0” (Philadelphia 76ers)
  7. Jordan McLaughlin: 6’0” (Minnesota Timberwolves)
  8. Davion Mitchell: 6’0” (Sacramento Kings)
  9. Chris Paul: 6’0” (Golden State Warriors)
  10. Fred VanVleet: 6’0” (Houston Rockets)

Who Was The Shortest NBA Player Ever?

The shortest ever NBA player Muggsy Bogues with Larry Johnson and Alonzo Mourning
Image of Muggsy Bogues (center): James Robert Smith/Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Muggsy Bogues holds the title of being the shortest NBA player of all time.

The 5’3” point guard played nearly 900 games in his 14-year NBA career. Unlike Gilyard, the current shortest NBA player, Bogues was a highly-rated college prospect. He tore up the NCAA with Wake Forest and was drafted 12th overall by the Washington Bullets in the 1987 NBA Draft.

Bogues was so good in college that Wake Forest retired his No. 14 jersey. He wasn’t as impressive in his first NBA season, though.

Bogues started his time with the Bullets strong, alongside 7’7” teammate Manute Bol, but tailed off as the season went on. Washington left Bogues unprotected in the 1988 NBA expansion draft. He was then drafted by the Charlotte Hornets.

After joining the Hornets, Bogues became a genuine star. During his nine seasons with Charlotte, he was one of the league’s best assistmen, averaging more than seven assists a game in all but one season.

Bogues was also surprisingly solid defensively despite his height. He was consistently one of the league’s leaders in steals and would occasionally even block a shot. Bogues blocked 39 shots in his career, including a legendary swat on 7-foot-tall Patrick Ewing in 1993.

Top 10 Shortest Players In NBA History

Bogues tops the list of shortest players in NBA history, and is probably the most famous short NBA player, but he’s far from the only shorter man to have had a solid career in the NBA.

Here are the 10 other shortest NBA players in history:

  1. Muggsy Bogues: 5’3” (1987-2001)
  2. Earl Boykins: 5’5” (1999-2012)
  3. Spud Webb: 5’6” (1985-1998)
  4. Mel Hirsch: 5’6” (1946-1947)
  5. Greg Grant: 5’7” (1989-1996)
  6. Kieth Jennings: 5’7” (1992-1995)
  7. Red Klotz: 5’7” (1947-1948)
  8. Wat Misaka: 5’7” (1947-1948)
  9. Markquis Nowell: 5’7” (2023-2024)
  10. Monte Towe: 5’7” (1976-1977)

Insights About The Shortest NBA Players

We’re not ones to make blanket statements, but after looking at the list of the shortest NBA players in history, we’ve noticed some trends. Here are some of the things we’ve spotted related to the odds of making it in the NBA.

1. Short players average less points per game

Of the 25 shortest players in NBA history, just three have averaged more than 10 points per game in their NBA careers.

Calvin Murphy and Isaiah Thomas are the only players 5’9” or shorter to average 20+ points per game in a season. Murphy did it five times. Thomas has averaged more than 20 a night three times, including the 2016-17 season, where he scored 28.9 points per game.

The reason why short players in the NBA struggle to score is pretty obvious. It’s harder for them to shoot over players. This is even more clear when you look at their shooting percentages.

Bogues, Boykins, Thomas, Murphy, and Spud Webb, the five most famous short NBA players, played in the NBA for a combined 65 seasons. Between them, there are just two seasons where they shot more than 50% from the field.

2. But short men can dunk

When you think of the greatest dunkers in NBA history, not many short players come to mind. Maybe they should, though. Despite their size, plenty of the shortest NBA players in history have been surprisingly good dunkers.

Spud Webb stunned the competition at the 1986 Dunk Contest, beating out seven other players who were all 6’5” or taller, including the legendary Dominique Wilkins. 5’9” Nate Robinson is the only player in NBA history to win three dunk contests.

Allen Iverson, Isaiah Thomas, Ty Lawson, Will Bynum, Chris Paul, and JJ Barea have all been known to throw it down occasionally. Even Muggsy Bogues claimed he could dunk.

FAQs About Short NBA Players

What is considered short in the NBA?

In today’s NBA, anyone under 6’2” tall is considered short. For comparison, the average height for US males is 5’9”. If an average man played in the NBA today, he would be just one inch taller than the shortest current NBA player (and four inches shorter than the average WNBA player).

Who is the best NBA player under 6 feet?

Former Houston Rockets legend Calvin Murphy is the best NBA player under 6 feet tall in history. The Hall of Famer scored over 17,000 points while being just 5’9”. The current NBA players under 6 feet tall are not the greatest players of all time. Neither Jacob Gilyard nor Isaiah Thomas played more than 6 games in 2024.

Do NBA players get shorter?

Not really. The average NBA player height was 6’4” in the 1952-53 season, and is now 6’6.5″, so there has been an increase in height. That said, the NBAs’ tallest decade was actually in the 80s (average height of 6’7.2″) and has gone up and down since.

But with players like 7′4″ Victor Wembanyama and 7′1″ Chet Holmgren leading the next generation, it’s unlikely that the average is going to continue to go down.

How many 5’11” players are in the NBA?

There are currently no players in the NBA who are 5’11” tall. However, there are seven players listed at 6 feet tall. It’s possible that some of these players are rounding up their height to avoid being labeled as ‘small’ by scouts, general managers, and coaches. Chris Paul famously appears to be much shorter than his 6’0” listed height.

How many 6 foot players are in the NBA?

There are eight 6 foot players in the NBA: Jose Alvarado, Mike Conley, Aaron Holiday, Kyle Lowry, Jordan McLaughlin, Davion Mitchell, Chris Paul, and Fred VanVleet.

Can Muggsy dunk?

If you ask Muggsy Bogues whether he could dunk, the answer is 100% yes. The shortest player in NBA history has repeatedly said he can dunk and that he did it in high school and college. However, there’s no footage of Bogues ever dunking. He never dunked in the NBA.