A tribute to the NBA "Little Giants"
It's obvious that basketball is usually played by tall folks. After all, the basket is a fixed height off the floor, so it's easier to make a basket or keep someone else from doing so if you're tall enough to reach above the basket rim. Taller players have some advantage shooting from the fixed-distance free-throw or three-point lines. So... the average height of NBA players has climbed steadily and is now six feet, seven inches.

There are, however, some striking exceptions to the "taller is better" idea, though, and here are 3 of them... the 3 SHORTEST players to have played in the National Basketball Association.

The very shortest - Tyrone "Mugsy" Bogues - 5 feet, 3 inches
As a point guard, Bogues enjoyed a 14-year NBA playing career, including nine-plus years in Charlotte as he was one of original members of the NBA in Charlotte in 1988 when the Hornets picked him in the Expansion Draft.

The top playing moments of his career came in Charlotte, as he averaged 10.8 points and 10.1 assists in 1993-94, a career-high 10.7 assists in 1989-90, a personal-best 11.1 points in 1994-95 and was regularly among the NBA leaders in assists, steals and assist-to-turnover ratio. He averaged 8.8 points, 8.8 assists and 1.7 steals during his nine-plus year tenure in Charlotte, up from his career averages of 7.7 points, 7.6 assists and 1.54 steals.

Aside from being the all-time shortest NBA player, Bogues was also the shortest to be able to DUNK the ball. Bogues is currently head coach of the Women's NBA team, the Charlotte Sting.
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The Leaping Anthony "Spud" Webb - 5 feet, 7 inches
Anthony "Spud" Webb, had a 12-year NBA basketball career. The 5-foot 7-inch phenom with an amazing 42 inch vertical jump, overcame the greatest of insurmountable odds and electrified crowds all over the world with his dunking ability and competitive spirit.

In college, Spud led the North Carolina State team to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament. Despite Spud's incredible college career, he was not selected in the NBA draft because of his size.

Spud's greatest achievement may be his stunning victory at the 1986 NBA Slam Dunk Championship where he defeated many high-flying artists that were more than a foot taller than him, including Atlanta Hawks teammate Dominique Wilkins.
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Current little giant Earl Boykins - 5 feet, 5 inches
Earl Boykins, in his 8th NBA season, is a point guard for the Denver Nuggets, and is the NBA leading scorer off the bench.

Boykins was an honorable mention All-American as a college senior, when he finished 2nd in the nation in scoring. . Earl entered the 1998-1999 NBA draft expecting to be a first round pick -- yet he wasn't even drafted.

On January 18, 2005, Earl Boykins set an NBA record for most points in overtime with 15 points. Boykins’ clutch performance came against the Northwest Division-leading Seattle Supersonics, when he hit on four of five shots from the field, including one three-pointer, and on six of seven from the free-throw line. That set an NBA record of 15 points in an overtime period, eclipsing the previous best of 14 by Indiana’s Butch Carter in 1984. On the other bucket the Nuggets scored in that overtime, Boykins had the assist. Denver won, 116-110.
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Earl & Shaquille O'Neil (7 feet 1 inch) Driving around Shawn Bradley (7 feet 6 inches)
Earl & 7'1" Shaquille O'Neil   Driving past 7'6" Shawn Bradley
These two photos are of Earl with Yao Ming, Houston Rocket big man at 7' 5". Shawn Bradley of Dallas is the NBA's tallest current player at 7'6".    

Another current little giant Nate Robinson - 5 feet, 9 inches
Nate recently made news (and controversy) with a win in the NBA slam-dunk contest over Andre Iguodala of the Philadelphia 76ers. Clearly, Nate's final slam was a sentimental and crowd favorite, when he leaped over Spud Webb (see above) to slam the ball home. Nate was recruited by the U. of Washington for football, played both sports for one year, then dropped football, was All-American in his junior year, then opted for the 2005 NBA draft. He was drafted #21 in the first round by Phoenix, and is now a rookie with the New York Knicks.