When fans think of elite NBA players, it’s normal to imagine a seven-foot giant. However, many star basketball stars are much shorter than this. There’s definitely a bias towards taller players, but that doesn’t define a player’s ability.
It’s a long road to the top of basketball. First of all, you have to make it through the draft and most players don’t. If you’re under six feet tall, then it’s even more difficult to get an opportunity and make an impact. But some athletes are just so good that their height doesn’t matter.
Today we’re going to take a look at 20 star basketball players under six feet tall via Sportscasting. All of them found success in the NBA despite being short by the standards of elite basketball. Check out the list below.
20. D.J. Augustin
Currently playing for the Orlando Magic, Augustin has played for a total of eight NBA teams. He spent four seasons with the Charlotte Bobcats before embarking on a nomadic tour of the league. That’s not to say he’s a bad player because obviously all of these teams saw something in him.
Pre-draft measurements show that Augustin stands at 5’10” without shoes. Even with sneakers on, he’s still under the six-feet mark the NBA listed him at. Now he seems to have found a home in Florida as he enters the twilight of a decent professional career.
Nelson comes in at just under six feet but has the frame to match his build. He had a nomadic career in the NBA but lasted 14 seasons. Recently retired, his career was long and fruitful. Sure, he wasn’t an iconic player, but he still enjoyed his time at the top of the sport.
Nelson spent almost 10 years with the Orlando Magic before traveling around the league. He played in a single All-Star game and even the NBA Finals. With his muscular physique, Nelson was a powerful opponent who made life difficult for everybody in his way.
‘Spud’ is a legendary figure for his 12-year NBA career despite standing at only 5’7″. The former Atlanta Hawks’ star is also the shortest ever player to win the Dunk Contest. However, he had to overcome adversity to get to the top of the game.
Webb was brilliant in high school but elite colleges were afraid to take a chance on him because of his height. ‘Spud’ took the long road through junior college until nobody could ignore him. North Carolina State gave him a scholarship and the rest is history.
Despite his height, Stoudamire had a long and successful NBA career. He also had a number of fascinating achievements. The Portland native was the first-ever player that the Toronto Raptors drafted in 1995. He repaid their faith by winning the Rookie of the Year award.
As well as becoming the first Raptor to bring that award home, he’s also the shortest player ever to win the honor. Stoudamire played for four teams, the majority of his career back in his hometown of Portland, Oregon. Finally, after retirement, the 5’10” point guard moved onto coaching.
Now in the twilight of his career, Brooks has been around the world and back as a professional basketball player. In fact, the path he followed is somewhat legendary because he has played for an incredible 10 teams at under six feet.
Despite his relatively short stature, Brook was an effective point guard throughout his career, most notably for the Houston Rockets. Furthermore, he won the Most Improved Player award during his time in Texas. He now plys his trade in Australia.
The NBA officially listed Barea as a six-footer but even the Puerto Rican laughed at that one. He admits openly that he stands about 5’10”. It doesn’t make much difference to his playing abilities on the court. To sum up, Barea has cultivated legendary star status in Dallas.
Barea is enjoying his second spell with the Mavericks, following a few seasons with the Timberwolves. He even won an NBA Championship with Dallas, so he’s always going to be popular there. It just goes to show that you don’t have to be a seven-footer to succeed in the NBA.
Boykins played so recently which is bizarre because he was so short. At 5’5″, he’s the second-shortest NBA player in the history of the league. Of course, this made him a star. Furthermore, he played for an incredible 10 teams during his career.
He only weighed 135 pounds. There are players who weigh literally 100 pounds more than him. Yet somehow he still managed to conjure up a successful career at basketball’s highest level. His longest spell was four seasons with the Denver Nuggets but he played for almost one-third of the league.
Thomas has enjoyed a long NBA career. Despite his short stature, the former Boston Celtic has been a very effective player at basketball’s highest level. At just 5’9″, Thomas was usually the smallest player on the court. After a stunning college career, the Sacramento Kings selected him in the second round of the draft.
Then he went on to play in two All-Star games. Taller players can physically dominate shorter opponents, but the latter are often more athletic and mobile. That was the case for Thomas, who was a pest for opposing defenses in his prime. He’s definitely a star short player.
Barros played for four different NBA teams, although most people associate him with the Boston Celtics. It took him a while to fire but when he did, he exploded into life. His final season with the Philadelphia 76ers was particularly good. He played in the All-Star game and won the Most Improved Player award.
The Boston native was less than six feet tall, but he was no less effective because of this. Indeed, he was deadly accurate and even achieved a hot streak of 89 games with three-pointers. That’s a legendary record.
A two-time All-Star, Brandon enjoyed a strong career in the NBA. He played for three teams, with his best years coming for the Cleveland Cavaliers. That’s when he was at his peak as one of the deadliest point guards in the league. However, he wasn’t even that tall.
It’s remarkable that he even played basketball at the high school level, nevermind the NBA. He had a terrible foot deformation as a child and there was a realistic chance that he might never walk. But he recovered and grew up to be an elite athlete.
Robinson spent the largest chunk of his career with the New York Knicks. He earned star status after he became the only three-time Slam Dunk champion in the competition’s history. To sum up, his relatively short stature enabled him to be more explosive than many of his opponents.
While he never really established himself as a starting point guard, Robinson did make valuable contributions when called upon him. He was able to overcome many taller opponents because of his leaping ability. In short, he was a great player.
Sometimes being shorter can be an advantage because you have a lower center of gravity. This means that you’re naturally more balanced and can change directions at speed. Former NCAA champion Lawson was excellent at this during his time with the Denver Nuggets.
Lawson spent six seasons in Colorado and played for four other NBA teams. Meanwhile, he also traveled around the world, starring in Europe and China. It’s been a nomadic few years but it doesn’t take anything away from the longevity of his career.
A one-time All-Star, Adams had an interesting career as an NBA point guard. First of all, the Sacramento Kings drafted him but he didn’t find much success until a couple of years after his rookie year. Then he moved to the Denver Nuggets, where he had some great moments.
Adams was a prolific scorer and even scored a three-pointer in 79 consecutive games. This was a record at the time but since then, the Warriors’ Stephen Curry eclipsed it. However, there’s no doubt that Adams was a star player and a valuable asset to his teams.
‘Muggsy’ is the shortest NBA player ever. At just 5’3″ tall, it’s a miracle that he even made it into the league. He is short by normal people’s standards, not just basketballers. Despite this, Bogues was still a very effective player and plied his trade in the NBA for 14 seasons.
He spent 10 of those with the Charlotte Hornets where he became a cult hero. Bogues was especially effective at stealing the ball from his opponents. It’s hard to imagine anybody breaking his record in the modern basketball era with teams favoring prime physical specimens like Zion Williamson and Ja Morant.
An NBA champion with the Toronto Raptors, Lowry is definitely one of the best players under six-feet tall. He also earned star status for his exploits in helping to bring the title north of the border. A six-time All-Star, his consistency has been remarkable over the past few seasons.
Lowry’s style is one of the most unique in the sport. In short, silky skills aren’t part of his game mentality. Instead, he relies upon his tenacity and endurance to overwhelm his opponents. But he is useful as an attacker too and even holds the franchise record for most triple doubles.
Hall of Famer Murphy is one of the best short players of all-time. With his glorious nickname, the ‘Pocket Rocket’ was always going to steal fans’ imaginations. Bizarrely, basketball wasn’t even his first sport. Murphy was a successful baton twirler, even winning three State Championships.
But his basketball career was a brilliant one. The Houston Rockets even retired his shirt after he left because he was so good for them. After 13 years in Texas, he retired as a legendary figure and one of the most loved players in the NBA. Finally, he moved into broadcasting and still works for the Rockets’ network.
One of those players the NBA likes to pretend is a six-footer, Walker comes in at less than that with his shoes off. But the Boston Celtics’ star is still a great player as he proved over and over again for the Hornets. An All-Star for four years in a row, there’s a reason the Celtics wanted him.
One of the highlights of his debut season in green-and-white was a scintillating display against LeBron James’s LA Lakers. He’s a point guard with a shoot-first mentality because of his smaller frame. When you’re short you have to turn your physical disadvantages into advantages, and that’s what he does.
At 5’10”, Johnson was short in stature. But this didn’t mean he wasn’t effective. A champion with the San Antonio Spurs, he had a brilliant NBA career. Furthermore, he guaranteed his legendary status in San Antonio by scoring the winning points over the New York Knicks that year.
Nicknamed the ‘Little General’ because of his height, Johnson was a very dynamic player. Meanwhile, Johnson moved into coaching after retiring from playing. He was also the NBA Coach of the Year in 2006 with the Dallas Mavericks. This man lives and breathes basketball.
The NBA Draft Combine listed Paul as standing at 5″11″. However, he managed to connive his official listings as a six-footer. It’s strange that players hide their shorter stature because the reality is that it would only enhance their legendary status, which Paul already has.
A 10-time All-Star, Paul currently plays for the Oklahoma City Thunder. However, he spent the majority of his career between the New Orleans Hornets and the LA Clippers. Furthermore, he is one of the best point guards in the history of the NBA. Not bad for somebody who can’t admit their real height.
Yes, official lists have Iverson down as six-foot tall. But let’s be real, that’s simply isn’t true. Measurements taken when Iverson wasn’t wearing shoes prove that he’s definitely shorter than this. However, that should take nothing away from his capabilities as a player. If anything it makes his achievements even more impressive.
A star in Philadelphia, Iverson spent 11 seasons in the “City of Brotherly Love” with the 76ers. He also became an 11-time All-Star during his time in the NBA. Furthermore, he was the 2001 league MVP and a two-time All-Star game MVP. The Answer is the definition of a star short player.