Can anybody really hate a player that is under 6’0″ tall in the NBA? Small guys are fun to watch, and all odds are against them. They’re very rare, and over the years we’ve been very blessed to have some of the most entertaining players in league history stand under 6’0″. Today, we’ll be examining the top 5 “small guys” in NBA history.
5. Nate Robinson
Nathaniel Cornelius Robinson, standing at 5’9″, was lightning in a bottle. He created many great moments throughout his career, but is best known for doing things like blocking the giant Yao Ming or dunking on Shaq during practice. Robinson played in 618 games during his NBA career, starting in 107 of them. His best years were from 2006 to 2010, where he averaged 12.6 pgg during that stretch. His career high for points in a game stands at 45, which is absolutely incredible for a guy of his size. Even with his size, nobody underestimated Nate Robinson, because everybody from The Bay Area to The Big Apple to the Vice City knew this kid was a straight baller.
4. Muggsy Bogues
Be sure not to be looking at only eye level and above, because you might just miss Muggsy Bogues as you scan the floor. Bogues stood at a towering 5’3″ and is the shortest player to ever play in the NBA. Bogues played in a whopping 15 seasons in the league. His prime years came with the Charlotte Hornets from 1992 to 1995 where he averaged a combined 10.6 ppg to go along with 9.2 apg. His career was often riddled with injuries, which affected his play on the court and how much he got to play when it’s all said and done. However, nobody will forget the legend of Muggsy Bogues.
3. Isaiah Thomas
Not to be confused with the great Isiah Thomas, Isaiah Thomas is one of the most improbable success stories in NBA history. Thomas was drafted by the Sacramento Kings in 2011 with the 60th pick in the second round, the very last pick of the draft. He was quickly an impact player for the Kings as he averaged 11.5 ppg as a rookie. After breaking the full-time starting lineup the next year, he averaged 13.9 ppg, then averaged 20.3 ppg. His best years have been with the Celtics so far from 2014 to 2017. In those seasons, he averaged a combined 23.4 ppg. In the 2016-2017 season, Thomas had himself one of the best seasons of any player in Celtics history, averaging 28.9 ppg to go along with 6 apg. He sustained a hip injury at the end of that season, and things haven’t went his way ever since. Chances are that we’ve seen the best of the sweet stroking lefty. Thomas is a 2-time all-star and has made two all-league teams.
2. Spud Webb
Not to far above Muggsy Bogues, stands Spud Webb. Webb stood at 5’6″, but don’t let that fool you. This guy used to embarrass big guys under the rim for a living, who also won a dunk contest in 1986. Webb played his best years spanning from 1990 to 1995, where he averaged a combined 13.7 ppg. The North Carolina State product led the league in Free Throw percentage in the 1994-1995 regular season with 93%. Webb also finished four seasons in which he was top-20 in total assists and assists per game. When it comes to the small guys of NBA history, Spud Webb will never not be brought up.
1. Calvin Murphy
The best small guy in NBA history has to go to THE Calvin Murphy, who played 13 seasons in the league, all with the Houston Rockets. For his career, Murphy averaged 17.9 ppg. With that being said, all of his prime years were played before the 3-point line was introduced, making that feat more impressive than it seems. Murphy stood at a solid 5’9″ and his teammates loved to call him “Pocket Rocket”, which is quite possibly the best nickname in sports history. In Murphy’s best season, he averaged just under 26 ppg without a 3-point line. Cal is now in the Hall of Fame, and was an all-star once in his career. When the dust has settled, nobody under 6’0″ tall has been better than the Pocket Rocket, Calvin Murphy.