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In a sport where towering giants often rule, there have been a number of smaller players who defied the odds and made a major impact on the basketball court. These pint-sized ballers have shown that heart, skill and determination can make you an NBA legend, no matter how vertically challenged you may be.

Imagine facing off against basketball players who could practically dribble circles around skyscraper-sized defenders. Picture lightning-fast crossovers, gravity-defying layups and pinpoint passes that leave you in awe. These shorter players have shown the world that when it comes to basketball, being small can be a secret weapon.

In this article from Bovada Sportsbook, we take a look back at the 10 shortest players to ever lace up their sneakers and step onto the floor in an NBA game. These players may have been short in stature but they stood tall on the court, proving that size doesn’t always matter when it comes to the sport of basketball.

#10. Charlie Criss (5’8”)

Former NBA player Charlie Criss was a true force to be reckoned with in the late 70’s and early 80s. Despite standing just 5’8″, Criss played 418 career games for the Hawks, Clippers and Bucks. Known for his lightning-quick speed and deadly shooting accuracy, he defied expectations at every turn. Criss’s passion for the game made him a fan favorite during his career. He showed us all that greatness can come in small packages, leaving an indelible mark on the basketball world.


#9. Keith Jennings (5’7”)

Suiting up for the Golden State Warrior’s in the mid-90’s, Keith Jennings displayed remarkable skills on the basketball court despite being the shortest player on the team. Although he was only 5’7”, Jennings possessed an enormous amount of talent. Deft at creating scoring opportunities out of thin air, Jennings’ tenacity and never-back-down attitude made him a fan favorite in the Bay Area. Following his NBA career, the tiny point guard went on to play in Europe before becoming a coach at the collegiate level.


#8. Monte Towe (5’7”)

Monte Towe may have been small in stature, but proved that height was no match for his incredible determination. Known for his impressive speed and impeccable court vision, Towe mesmerized fans with his ability to navigate through towering defenders. He played just one season for the NBA’s Denver Nuggets, but his fearless style of play and unwavering passion for the game inspired many smaller athletes. Towe proved that when it comes to basketball, the size of a player’s heart is what truly matters most.


#7. Wataru Misaka (5’7”)

Playing for the New York Knicks during the 1947-48 season, Wataru Misaka became the first Asian-American to ever take part in the NBA. In fact, he was the first non-Caucasian to ever play on an NBA team. Listed at just 5’7”, the American-born Misaka faced prejudice for both his height and his Japanese ancestry. In spite of all those challenges, the undersized point guard made his mark on the NBA and serves as a timeless reminder that determination and heart are the true measures of a player’s worth.


#6. Red Klotz (5’7”)

Former Baltimore Bullet, Red Klotz, may not have been the tallest player on the court at just 5’7″, but he certainly made an impact on the game of basketball. Klotz is the shortest player to ever win an NBA title, but he only played 11 career games for the Bullets. He’s best known for putting together the Washington Generals squad that tours with the Harlem Globetrotters, delighting basketball fans around the world for decades.


#5. Greg Grant (5’7”)

He may have been just 5’7”, but Greg Grant put together a solid career that lasted 274 games with six different NBA teams. Respected for his quick handles and excellent court vision, Grant’s relentless drive and unwavering determination endeared him to basketball fans everywhere. He exemplified the idea that greatness transcends physical stature and his story serves as an inspiration to all who dare to dream big, no matter their size.


#4. Spud Webb (5’7”)

Former NBA player Spud Webb soared above the competition, both figuratively and literally. Standing at just 5’7″, Webb defied gravity and captivated fans with his awe-inspiring leaping ability. His most notable achievement came in the 1986 NBA Slam Dunk Contest, where he defied all odds to claim the championship as the shortest competitor against much taller opponents. Webb’s explosive athleticism and fearless approach to the game made him a fan favorite in his time with four separate NBA franchises during the 80’s and 90’s.


#3. Melvin Hirsch (5’6”)

It’s understandable if you’ve never heard of Mel Hirsch, since this former Boston Celtic played just 13 career games back in the 1946-47 season. His basketball career may have been short-lived, but the 5’6” Hirsh held the title of shortest basketball player of all-time for over 40 years. You won’t see his number retired up in the rafters above the Celtics home floor, but there’s no doubt that Hirsch made his mark on the game of basketball.


#2. Earl Boykins (5’5”)

As the most recently active name featured on this list of the shortest NBA players, the 5’5” Boykins played for 10 different NBA teams between 1999 and 2012. Boykins’ fearless drives to the basket and ability to score against much taller opponents earned him the respect of his peers and fans alike. His determination, grit, and unwavering passion for the game made him a true underdog hero. The elusive guard developed into a reliable veteran leader and averaged 8.9 PPG with 652 games played over the course of his NBA career.


#1. Muggsy Bogues (5’3”)

The top spot on our list of the shortest NBA players of all-time goes to 5’3” Muggsy Bogues. Playing for the NBA’s Bullets, Hornets, Warriors and Raptors between 1987 and 2001, Bogues proved that he would not be limited by his height, as he dazzled fans with his lightning-quick speed and defensive prowess. He fearlessly challenged giants, using his low center of gravity and quick reflexes to disrupt opponents’ plays. Bogues’ impact on the game transcends his stature, serving as a testament to the power of perseverance and a reminder to never let obstacles stand in the way of achieving your dreams!