When we think of basketball players, tall, fit, and well-built players come into our minds. Basketball is a game that is associated with height as height helps you in a variety of ways while you are on a basketball court.
Not only will your defense improve since height paves way for blocked shots and increased steals, but your offense improves as well. Moreover, your rebounds will increase as well with a better ability to reach missed shots easily.
Along with this, height helps to improve the ability to dunk the basketball. Dunking is basically what makes basketball exciting for us viewers. Whenever we think of the NBA, an image of big, strong, tall players dunking the ball, overpowering their competitors, and going in for the win comes to mind.
Shortest Players to Dunk in the NBA
What if we tell you that even short height people can play basketball exceptionally well? It is not only us saying that, but rather history has seen amazingly talented basketball players with short height.
1. Spud Webb – 5 ft. 6 in.
Hailing from Dallas, Texas, Spud Webb is listed as being 5 ft. 6 in. tall. He could dunk even when he was only 5 ft. 3 in. in high school. He started playing professionally for the Atlanta Hawks and played 6 seasons with them.
The years he spent with Sacramento Kings was his best years career-wise and statistically. He also played for Minnesota Timberwolves, and Orlando Magic, before retiring in 1997. When he made his NBA debut, there were only two players shorter than him in the NBA history – Earl Boykins and Muggsy Bogues – one of whom didn’t even dunk!
He was the shortest person to compete and win the NBA Slam Dunk Contest in Dallas (1986), making him a national favorite. He defeated Dominique Wilkins, a high-level dunker & fellow teammate.
He motivated a lot of youngsters and showed that you can be below 6 ft. and still dunk like a pro!
2. Nate Robinson – 5 ft. 7 in.
Nate Robinson is another famous NBA player hailing from Seattle who is 5 ft. 7 in, tall. He started his NBA career when he was drafted to Phoenix Suns in 2005. He has played for 8 different NBA teams, helping them in several victories.
In 2010, he became the first 3-time slam dunk champion in the NBA. With over 600 NBA games under his belt, he was an athletic, powerful player. He is most famous for his win over Dwight Howard – 6 ft. 10 in. – in the 2009 Dunk Contest.
3. Isaiah Thomas – 5 ft. 9 in.
Isaiah Thomas was named after the Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas (Detroit Pistons) and he definitely lived up to his name and potential. Playing basketball since high school, his NBA career started in 2011, when he started playing for Sacramento Kings.
Even though he was picked last in the 2011 NBA draft, his amazing skills caused him to be named the NBA Rookie of the month in March 2012. Having played for 7 NBA teams, he was recently signed on by the New Orleans Pelicans.
The most striking & definitive footage of Isaiah Thomas dunking is when he participated in the inter-team dunking contest at the University of Washington (sophomore year). He certainly brought the house down when he won the contest!
4. JJ Barea – 5 ft. 10 in.
Born in Puerto Rico, JJ Barea had started playing basketball even before his family moved to Florida. He had a remarkable career in both high school and college and even played for the Puerto Rican National Team.
His NBA career officially began when joined the Dallas Mavericks in 2006 and stayed on till 2011. He was awarded the NBA Champion award in 2011. Famous for his fast pace, strength, and stellar three-point shooting, JJ Barea can certainly dunk even though it has been mostly during warmups and practice sessions.
5. Ty Lawson – 5 ft. 11 in.
Born in 197, the 5 ft. 11 in. basketball player Tywon Lawson started his professional career when he was drafted to Minnesota Timberwolves in 2009. Later, he was traded to another NBA team, the Denver Nuggets. After playing 6 seasons with them, he played for Houston Rockets, Sacramento Kings, Indiana Pacers, and Washington Wizards.
Even though his NBA career isn’t full of individual successes and accolades, he was a fantastic player who was dangerous from beyond the arc. He was highly respected as a point guard and undersized, yet an amazing dunker.
Over the years, he became one of the top NBA players and helped Denver Nuggets to a record 57-25 in the season of 2012-2013. Being a foot-dunker is relatively rare when it comes to short players, but Ty Lawson has managed this amazing feat.
It wasn’t his physique, but rather his behaviour that made his professional career take a backwards leap. One of the most famous dunks of Ty Lawson was against the Los Angeles Lakers’ center DJ Mbenga – who was 7 ft’ tall – in the 4th Qtr. of the match while playing for the Denver Nuggets.
6. Allen Iverson – 6 ft. 0 in.
Allen Iverson, known by his nicknames “Al” and “the Answer” was born in 1975 and started his professional career in 1996 when he was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers. Though he didn’t play a professional game after 2011, he officially retired in 2013.
His professional career is full of awards and accolades. He was the NBA MVP in 2001, NBA All-Star 11 times, as well as winning the All-Star Game MVP award 2 times to name just a few. In 2016, he was listed in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame which shows what an exceptional player he was.
Ever since college, Iverson has had a standout reputation. If you watch the highlights of this Hall of Famer, you will see for yourself how fearlessly he played despite his short height. The most famous dunk by Iverson was the putback dunk he made against the Toronto Raptors in a 1998 game.
7. Will Bynum – 6 ft. 0 in.
Born in 1983, Will Bynum has had a great NBA career, despite the few hiccups (we all remember the Tel Aviv incident). He played for the Boston Celtics in 2015 for the NBA summer league before being officially signed by them later that year.
He has played for Detroit Pistons, where he recorded his career-high of 20 assists when he led the team to victory over the Washington Wizards. Nicknamed as “Bynumite” due to his explosive, powerful playing ability, he was definitely worth his mettle.
He has also played internationally in Chinese teams & a Turkish club as well. One of the most famous dunks of Will Bynum is the thunderous slam dunk over Tyson Chandler (Charlotte Hornets) on November 11, 20029 while playing for Detroit Pistons.
8. Jonny Flynn – 6 ft. 0 in.
Even though Flynn had a short NBA career, it was an alluring one. He was drafted by Minnesota Timberwolves in 2009 and expectations were high for him since he had a stellar high school and college basketball career.
Despite his short height, his body is strong and sturdy. He is naturally charismatic and plays basketball beautifully. He can quickly change speeds and has amazing lateral quickness. With plenty of accolades under his belt, his NBA career ended in 2013 when he joined the Chinese Basketball Association.
On Jan 11, 2009, in the match against Rutgers, the leaping ability of Flynn was on display. With Syracuse barely clinging on to a 52-48 lead over Rutgers, Flynn threw a powerful, monstrous dunk over Michael Rosario, the Rutgers guard.
Even though it is a common perception that for playing basketball, you need good height, this article is proof that this isn’t always the case. When pursuing a basketball career, size takes second place to talent, motivation, and determination.
Shorter athletes have to work much harder than tall players since they can’t rely on their height to get through the game. Despite the fact that the odds were stacked against them, the shortest players in the history of the NBA who could dunk made it to the other side.
Their stories and successes are a source of motivation for those people who let anything come in the way of achieving their goals. Go out and watch the highlights of the amazing dunks these 8 players have made throughout their professional careers and get the motivation you need to win the day.