Top 10 Shortest NBA Players Ever

Why Trust Techopedia
Why Trust Techopedia

To make the list of the shortest NBA players, a small guy must be good enough to make the world’s best basketball league.

That feat requires a serious source of motivation. Unlike their taller counterparts, those players 6 feet and under almost unanimously carry a bad case of “short-man syndrome,” an unofficial but undeniable personality disorder, er, trait.

The affliction, rooted in a perceived disrespect, manifests in extra effort and a dose of arrogance: “You think I’m too short? Just watch me!”

There are hundreds of very short, very talented players who have played in NBA. Here we give you those guys of both past and present.

Muggsy Bogues (left) and Patrick Ewing
Image: Twitter/Mental Floss

Shortest Current NBA Players

The list of the shortest current NBA players changes from month to month as players are signed or cut from NBA teams.

With that caveat, we have an updated list for spring 2024 now that 5ft7 Markquis Nowell was cut by the Toronto Raptors and 5ft9 Isaiah Thomas — as of now the shortest player in the NBA — was signed by the Phoenix Suns.

(It should be noted that Xavier Moon is no relation to Will Ferrell’s Jackie Moon.)

Player Height Team
1. Isaiah Thomas 5ft9 Phoenix Suns
2. Chris Paul 6ft Golden State Warriors
3. Mike Conley 6ft Minnesota Timberwolves
4. Kyle Lowry 6ft Philadelphia 76ers
5. Fred VanVleet 6ft Houston Rockets
6. Aaron Holiday 6ft Houston Rockets
7. Davion Mitchell 6ft Sacramento Kings
8. Jordan McLaughlin 6ft Minnesota Timberwolves
9. Xavier Moon 6ft Los Angeles Clippers
10. Trae Young 6ft1 Atlanta Hawks

The Shortest Player in the NBA Right Now

As mentioned, the shortest current NBA player was 5ft7 Markquis Nowell until very recently. Isaiah Thomas (5ft9) is now the current shortest NBA player.

Isaiah Thomas
Image: Twitter/Legion Hoops

Signed to a 10-day contract March 16, 2024, Isaiah Thomas, 35, was set to make his 2024 debut March 20, resuming a long NBA career that last saw him on the court in April 2022 with the Charlotte Hornets.

Thomas, a prime example of what could be “short-man syndrome,” had more fuel added to his fire when he was drafted last in 2011.

The NBA version of the NFL’s “Mr. Irrelevant” (49ers Super Bowl quarterback Brock Purdy, also drafted last, also showed the moniker to be flawed), Thomas showed resilience in putting together a career that has spanned 550 games and carries a 17.7 points-per-game average.

A two-time All-Star, Thomas scored 28.9 points per game in the 2016-17 season for the Boston Celtics and now rules the kingdom of short basketball players.

Shortest Players in NBA History

These players simply defied their vertical challenges, stepping over, around and through their obstacles to make the NBA.

The two most famous, Muggsy Bogues and Spud Webb (who actually won the NBA Dunk Contest), left an indelible mark on the league and, no doubt, inspired young players all over the world who weren’t blessed with exceptional height.

Player Height Team
1. Tyrone “Muggsy” Bogues 5ft3 Charlotte Hornets
2. Earl Boykins 5ft5 Denver Nuggets
3. Mel Hirsch 5ft6 Boston Celtics
4. Spud Webb 5ft7 Atlanta Hawks
5. Keith Jennings 5ft7 Golden State Warriors
6. Greg Grant 5ft7 Philadelphia 76ers
7. Red Klotz 5ft7 Baltimore Bullets
8. Monte Towe 5ft7 Denver Nuggets
9. Wat Misaka 5ft7 New York Knicks
10. Markquis Nowell 5ft7 Toronto Raptors

Who is the Shortest NBA Player Ever?

At 5ft3, Tyrone “Muggsy” Bogues is the shortest NBA player of all time.

Tyrone "Muggsy" Bogues
Image: Twitter/kinglebron

The long-shot nature of Bogues’ life began at birth.

He arrived on Earth in the Lafayette projects of Baltimore, Md., and fought hard to make himself a success.

Always a winner, Bogues’ high school team won 59 consecutive games.

His leadership and skill carried him to Wake Forest University and, surprisingly, all the way to the NBA as a first-round draft pick.

Bogues took care of his responsibilities on and off the court.

As a pro, he led the NBA in taking care of the ball – over a seven-year span he was first in assists-to-turnovers ratio, a primary indicator of point-guard success.

Bogues reached his career high point total for a game, 24, three times (the last of which came in March 2000).

He also recorded 19 assists in a game three times, and had 15 assists in a 1993 playoff game.

He averaged a double-double (10.8 points, 10.1 assists per game) in the 1993-94 season with Charlotte, during which he played more than 35 minutes per game.

Bogues remains a full two inches shorter than any of the thousands of players to make it to basketball’s highest level.

Today, he’s active in charitable pursuits and has an autobiography.

Jay Dieffenbach
Sports Betting Expert
Jay Dieffenbach
Sports Betting Expert

Jay is a Sports Betting Writer at Techopedia.com, and has been working in US sports for more than 20 years. He's worked for Daily Racing Form, the Arizona Republic, The Athletic and FanDuel among other sports and gambling positions.