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Meet 5 Short NBA Players Who Overcame Height Disadvantage to Play in the League

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Height is important in the National Basketball Association (NBA) but you don’t have to be tall to be successful in the league. Over the years, a lot of short players have had successful careers, which proves that you need a combination of factors. 

While NBA players tend to be over 6 feet, and even the short players breach that mark, some are under. In this article, we look at short NBA players.

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Anthony “Spud” Webb (5 foot 7 inches)

Anthony Webb highlights. Video Credit: Basketball Bios

Anthony Webb is another short NBA player who made a mark in the league. He played a total of 814 games and scored a total of 8,000 points. He began playing basketball in elementary school but was often told he couldn’t make it due to his stature. 

In his first game in school, Webb scored 22 points and in high school, averaged 26 points per game. College teams weren’t after him. He joined Midlands in Texas and later played for the North Carolina State University

In 1085, the Detroit Prisons drafted Webb but didn’t even make it into the team’s roster. He joined the Atlanta Hawks and played for:

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Earl Boykins (5 foot 5 inches)

spotcovery-Earl Boykins playing for the Milwaukee Bucks-short NBA players
Earl Boykins playing for the Milwaukee Bucks. Source: Wikimedia licensed by CC-BY-SA-2.0

Boykins joins the list of short NBA players. He had a relatively successful career in the league, considering he landed short-term contracts. He wasn’t drafted but signed with:

Boykins’ skills stood out during his college playing days. The player won the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Men’s Division I Basketball Championship. He was the Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award winner in 1998, an accolade given to short college basketballers. He scored a total of 5, 700 points and made over 2, 000 assists. 

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Greg Grant

Highlight the reel of Greg Grant. Video Credit: murasakisuzumebachi

Greg lacked in height but made up for it through his skills and energy. He was scouted in a local playground and ended up playing for Trenton State College. In 1989, he finished as the league’s top scorer and was drafted by the Phoenix Suns

The point guard spent a season there before he moved to the New York Knicks. Later, he played for: 

Grant runs a sports academy and wrote the book 94 Feet and Rising: The Journey of Greg Grant to the NBA and Beyond

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Markquis Nowell (5 foot 7 inches)

Markquis Nowell’s playing at the NCAA. Video Credit: March Madness

Nowell is one of the short NBA players in the league. He signed for the Toronto Raptors in 2023 after he went undrafted. He represented St. Anthony and later joined Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School due to lack of playing time. 

In his last year, he went to The Patrick School. In college, Nowell played for Little Rock and Kansas State. The point guard holds the single-game assist record in the NCAA tournament.

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Tyrone “Muggsy” Bogues (5 foot 3 inches)

Muggsy Bogues’ highlights. Video Credit: The NBA History

Standing at 5 feet and 3 inches, Muggsy Bogues is the shortest player in NBA history. The shooting guard spent 14 years in the league and played for:

Bogues said he was motivated by people’s dismissive comments of his stature. During his career, he scored over 6, 800 points, assisted over 6, 700 and made over 1, 300 steals in 889 games. After his career, he was featured in the film Space Jam together with the giants of the game: Michael Jordan and Bugs Bunny.

Short NBA players have demonstrated, that they, too, can be successful in the game. Though they lack in height, they have the skills and the determination, like the rest, to play. Unfortunately, they have a brief career in the NBA because most teams prefer taller players. 

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