Shortest NBA Player Right Now and in the History of the Game

shortest nba player

12 minutes

Last Updated: May 25, 2024


In the NBA 2021/2022 season, the average basketball player was around 198.6 cm/6’6″ tall. This is around 8″ more than the average male in America.

It is also interesting to note that around 70% of all NBA players are under 205.7 cm/6’9″ tall. Only a small percentage belongs to the select group of the tallest players in the league.

And, if you want to know who is the shortest NBA player in the history of the game, you are in the right place.

Our list of the shortest NBA players includes Muggsy Bogues, Earl Boykins, Mel Hirsch, Spud Webb, Greg Grant, Chris Clemons, Isaiah Thomas, Jared Harper, Tremont Waters, and D. J. Augustin.

1. Muggsy Bogues – The Shortest NBA Player

If you are wondering who is the shortest NBA player in the history of the sport, that would be Tyrone Curtis Bogues also known as Muggsy Bogues.

Muggsy Bogues, being only 160.02 cm/5’3” tall, is the shortest NBA player to compete in the league.

He played for four teams, including Washington Bullets, Charlotte Hornets, Golden State Warriors, and Toronto Raptors. Muggsy Bogues worked as a coach for Charlotte Sting between 2005 and 2006. Between 2011 and 2014, he coached the United Faith Christian Academy team.

Muggsy Bogues was born in January of 1965 in Baltimore, the state of Maryland. Both his mother and father were below the average height in the USA.

Unfortunately, his childhood was far away from decent. When he was only five years old, he was accidentally shot while playing in his neighborhood.

When he was twelve years old, his father was imprisoned on armed robbery charges. This is when he decided to focus on playing sports.

During his high school years at Dunbar High School, he was on the school’s basketball team. After graduating high school, he enrolled at Wake Forest University where he also played basketball.

When it comes to his professional career, he was drafted by the Rhode Island Gulls in 1987.  However, that same year, he joined Washington Bullets where he stayed one season before transferring to Charlotte Hornets.

As previously mentioned, he also played for Golden State Warriors and Toronto Raptors.

2. Earl Boykins

Standing at 165.1 cm/5’3” in height, Earl Boykins was the shortest NBA player of his generation. His tremendous career lasted from 1999 until 2012 when he decided to retire.

Like many other professional basketball players, Earl Boykins struggled to find his spot in the NBA for several years. However, Boykins grew into an amazing player after joining the NBA.

During his best season, the 165.1 cm/5’3” tall Boykins scored on average 14.6 points.

Earl Antoine Boykins was born in June 1976 in Cleveland, Ohio. He remains the second shortest player in the NBA in the history of the game only behind Muggsy Bogues.

From 1998 when he was drafted by the Rockford Lightning team until 2012 when he retired, he competed for numerous teams, including Los Angeles Clippers, Golden State Warriors, Charlotte Bobcats, and Washington Wizards.

Earl Boykins had a great childhood and he was always interested in playing basketball. He attended Cleveland Central Catholic High School where he played basketball regularly.

After enrolling at Eastern Michigan University, he started playing college basketball.

He has helped his team win two Mid-American Conference tournament titles.

When it comes to his professional career, he joined Rockford Lightning in 1998. In the following years, he competed for New Jersey Nets, Cleveland Cavaliers, Orlando Magic, and Los Angeles Clippers.

In 2002, he joined Golden State Warriors, while in 2003 he transferred to Denver Nuggets. He finished his career in Houston Rockets. Today, Earl Boykins is an assistant coach for the UTEP Miners.

3. Mel Hirsch

Third on our list of the shortest players in the NBA, we have Mel Hirsch.

Standing at 167.6 cm/5’6″ in height, Mel Hirsch was the shortest NBA player of his generation.

Mel Hirsch’s career in the NBA lasted for only one season he spent playing for the Boston Celtics team. During the 1946/1947 season, the team was far away from its glory days that came in the 80s.

Melvin Hirsch was born in July of 1921. Unfortunately, there is not much information about his childhood. We also know nothing about his personal life after his retirement.

What we know is that Mel Hirsch was an avid college basketball player. He played basketball for the Brooklyn College team for several years. He received his college degree in 1943 and decided to join the US Army.

He served in the thirteenth Troop Carrier Squadron as an aircraft navigator. While in the army, he played basketball.

After being discharged from the army, Hirsch decided to pursue his dream of becoming a professional basketball player.

He was drafted by the Boston Celtics in 1946. He played thirteen games for the team during the 1946/1947 season. Aside from ten assists, he scored nineteen points. Mel Hirsch passed away in 1968 at the age of forty-seven from leukemia.

4. Spud Webb – Almost the Shortest NBA Player

Michael Anthony Jerome known as Spud Webb is one of the shortest players in the NBA in history who played for several NBA teams from 1986 until 1998.

167.6 cm/5’6″ in height, Spud Webb is also the shortest NBA player to compete in a Slam Dunk event.

What is even more impressive, Spud Webb won one of these events in 1986. He was born in July of 1963.

He grew up in a small, poverty-ridden household like many other professional athletes. From a very young age, he dreamt of becoming a professional basketball player.

Since he was not tall, he used his jumping skills and quickness to outplay the kids he played basketball with. During his early childhood years, he was told numerous times that he cannot play basketball professionally due to his height.

He proved everyone wrong when in his very first high school match, he scored twenty-two points. Even more impressive, he could easily dunk the ball.

As a senior, amazing Spud Webb averaged twenty-six points.

He played college baseball for Midland College and North Carolina State University. When it comes to his professional career, he was drafted by Detroit Pistons in the fourth round in 1985.

However, his agent at the time suggested he join Atlanta Hawks and this is where he spent six seasons. From 1991 until 1995, he played for Sacramento Kings, while in 1995 he returned to Atlanta Hawks.

Until his retirement in 1998, he played for Orlando Magic, Idaho Stampede, and Mash J. Verona.

5. Greg Grant

Greg Grant spent nine awesome years playing for different teams in the NBA, including Charlotte Hornets and Denver Nuggets. Greg Grant is the fifth shortest player in the NBA after Spud Webb, Mel Hirsch, Earl Boykins, and Muggsy Bogues.

Greg Grant, born in the city of Trenton, New Jersey, is one of the shortest NBA players, at 170.18 cm/5’7″.

Unfortunately, he grew up in a rather dysfunctional home. During his high school years, he worked at a local fish market to support his family financially.

When he was not in school or working, he enjoyed playing basketball with other teens in his neighborhood.

His tremendous talent was discovered one day while he was at a local playground doing what he loved to do the most, play basketball.

This is when his life finally turned around as he jumped on the opportunity to play basketball at Trenton State College.

He joined the NBA after being drafted by Phoenix Suns in 1989. Grant stayed on the team until 1990 when he was drafted by New York Knicks.

He played for the Knicks one season before joining Charlotte Hornets in 1991. Amazingly talented Greg Grant also spent two seasons playing for the Philadelphia 76ers.

Between 1993 and 1995, he played for teams outside of the NBA. In 1995, he was drafted by Denver Nuggets and this marked his return to the NBA.

He finished his career with Connecticut Pride in 1998. During his extremely fruitful career, Grant also played for Washington Bullets and Atlantic City Seagulls.

6. Chris Clemons

If you are wondering who is the shortest NBA player right now, that would be Chris Clemons.

Standing at 175.25cm/5’9″ in height, Chris Clemons is the shortest NBA player currently playing in the league.

Chris Clemens was born in July 1997 in Raleigh, the state of North Carolina. The twenty-four-year-old plays for the Maine Celtics team that competes in the NBA G League. Like all other professional basketball players that appear on this list, Chris Clemons played college basketball.

Before joining the NBA, he was one of the most successful Campbell Fighting Camels players. Back in high school, Clemons was also playing basketball.

Despite his below average height for a basketball player, he could easily dunk. Clemons was coached by Kevin McGeehan who has helped him a lot during his high school days.

In one of the state tournaments Clemons competed at, he broke his school’s record with forty-one points.

During his freshmen year at Campbell college, he scored on average 18.5 points per match. During his second season, he scored fifty points in one of the games.

After graduating college in 2019, he was not drafted by any NBA team. However, he joined Houston Rockets on a short contract.

Several months later, he extended his contract with Houston Rockets and remained on the team until 2021. He was drafted by Boston Celtics in October 2021 but was removed from the team soon thereafter.

Several days later, he signed a contract with his current team Maine Celtics. This season, he scored on average 16.3 points.

7. Isaiah Thomas – One of the Shortest NBA Players

If you are wondering who is the shortest NBA player in the NBA major league, that would be amazingly talented Isaiah Thomas.

At the moment, the 175.25cm/5’9″ is playing for Charlotte Hornets at the position of a point guard.

Isaiah Thomas was born in February 1989 in Tacoma, the state of Washington. Isaiah Thomas played basketball during his high school years. He earned his high school degree in 2008. As a junior player, he on average scored 32.1 points which is quite impressive.

He played for the Washington Huskies team while attending the University of Washington. As a freshman on the team, Thomas scored on average 15.5 points.

During his second season on the college team, he averaged around 16.9 points. His dream of playing in the NBA finally came true in 2011, when he was drafted in the second round by Sacramento Kings.

In a match against Cleveland Cavaliers in 2012, Isaiah Thomas scored twenty-three points and had eleven assists.

That same year, he was named the NBA Rookie of the Month. In January 2014, Isaiah Thomas scored thirty-eight points in a match against Oklahoma City Thunder and this was his record back then.

Several days later, he tied his record in a match against Indiana Pacers. Isaiah Thomas remained on the team until 2014 when he joined Phoenix Suns. He played on the team for one season before transferring to Boston Celtics.

Between 2017 and 2022, Thomas played for Cleveland Cavaliers, Los Angeles Lakers, Denver Nuggets, Washington Wizards, New Orleans Pelicans, Grand Rapids Gold, and Dallas Mavericks. In 2022, he joined Charlotte Hornets.

8. Jared Harper

Jared Harper is the shortest player in the NBA G League, alongside Chris Clemons and Tremont Waters. At the moment, Jared Harper competed for Birmingham Squadron which he joined in 2021 after his departure from New Orleans Pelicans.

Jared Harper was born in September 1997 in Atlanta, Georgia. He was interested in playing basketball when he was just five years old.

Besides his love for basketball, Harper is also a very talented musician. While dreaming of playing in the NBA one day, Harper played basketball with his friends and his older brother.

Jared Harper attended Pebblebrook High School where he played basketball. After graduating high school, he played college basketball for the Auburn Tigers team.

He stayed on the team for four years, between 2016 and 2019.

Considering his impressive records during his college years, he joined the Phoenix Suns of the NBA in 2019 even though he was undrafted during the NBA 2019 draft.

In his debut game in the NBA, his team played against Sacramento Kings.

After being waived by the team in March of 2020, Harper signed a contract with New York Knicks that same year in June.

Harper played four matches with the Knicks. On the 25th of October, he signed a contract with Birmingham Squadron as the team’s affiliate player.

Before returning to Birmingham Squadron in January of 2022, he briefly played for New Orleans Pelicans.

9. Tremont Waters

Standing at 177.8cm/5’10” height, Tremont Waters is one of the shortest players in the NBA G League. Waters joined South Bay Lakers in 2022. Tremont Waters was born in January of 1998 in New Haven, the state of Connecticut.

He attended South Kent School in Connecticut. After three years in South Kent School, Waters transferred to Notre Dame High School and this is where he got his high school diploma.

He played for the LSU Tigers team for two years and was coached by Will Wade.

During his freshmen year at the college, he on average scored 15.9 points per match. His first season high was thirty-nine points he scored in a match against Marquette Golden Eagles.

Thanks to his impeccable performance, Tremont Waters was named the Freshman of the Year. During his sophomore year of college, he remained on the team.

When it comes to his NBA career, 177.8cm/5’10” tall Waters was drafted by Boston Celtics during the NBA 2019 draft.

He played for the team during the summer season. His team was eliminated from the NBA Summer League after losing to Memphis Grizzlies.

On the 25th of July, Boston Celtics announced that Tremont Waters will also play for Maine Red Claws. In two games he played for Maine Red Claws, he scored twenty-four points.

In September 2021, Waters joined Milwaukee Bucks but was waived shortly after. A couple of days later, he signed for Wisconsin Herd. Before joining South Bay Lakers in February of 2022, Waters briefly competed for Washington Wizards and Toronto Raptors.

10. D. J. Augustin

Last on our list of the shortest NBA players we have Darryl Gerard Augustin Jr. known as D. J. Augustin.

180.3cm/5’11” tall, D. J. Augustin currently plays for Los Angeles Lakers.

He was born in November 1987 in New Orleans, the state of Louisiana. He joined the NBA in 2008 after being drafted by Charlotte Bobcats. He was born and raised in New Orleans.

Unfortunately, his family was forced to move in 2005 due to Hurricane Katrina.

After moving to Missouri City in Texas, he enrolled at Hightower High School. During his senior year, he played basketball for the school’s team. In his debut match with the high school team, he scored twenty-nine.

That season, his team advanced to the playoffs before being eliminated at the at of the season. In 2006, D. J. Augustin joined the respectable Longhorn program for young athletes. He played all thirty-five basketball games for Texas Longhorns.

In 2008, D. J. Augustin officially announces his eligibility for the NBA 2008 draft. He was crafted by Charlotte Bobcats and the team offered him a rookie scale contract which he accepted.

He debuted in the NBA on the 30th of October in a match against Cleveland Cavaliers. In twenty-five minutes on the basketball court, he scored twelve points and had two assists.

He remained on the theme until 2012 when he signed with Indiana Pacers. He debuted for the Pacers in a match against Toronto Raptors.

Between 2013 and 2022, he competed for Toronto Raptors, Detroit Pistons, Chicago Bulls, , Denver Nuggets, Oklahoma City Thunder, Milwaukee Bucks, Orlando Magic, and Houston Rockets. In 2022, was signed by Los Angeles Lakers.

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