“Wondered if You’d Ever Get There”: Isiah Thomas Credits Chris Paul for Making it as A Small Man

Published 07/11/2021, 12:30 PM EDT
May 23, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul (left) drives to the basket against Los Angeles Lakers guard Dennis Schroder in the second half during game one in the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs at Phoenix Suns Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports


When we hear about the NBA, huge, tall men is what comes to mind. Notable names like Shaq, or Yao Ming are one of the tallest men to step on the NBA floor. However, the scope for smaller men is extremely limited. Despite of that, players like Chris Paul and Isiah Thomas have prevailed.

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Chris Paul led the Phoenix Suns to their first ever NBA championship since 1993, and is now just 2 games away from winning his first ever championship. He has been the leader of a young, youthful Suns roster and taught them the way of winning.

Jul 6, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul (3) moves the ball against Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) during the first half in game one of the 2021NBA Finals at Phoenix Suns Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Even in his 16th year, Paul has dominated the game and played efficient basketball. Regarded as one of the greatest leaders in basketball, him along with Devin Booker have transformed Phoenix from a losing team to NBA finalists. However, Chris Paul is not the biggest guy in the NBA, he is probably the smallest guy in the room in the NBA. Still, Paul has been on top of his game.

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Isiah Thomas compliments Chris Paul

Post game 2 of the NBA finals, NBA legend Isiah Thomas spoke with Chris about the difficulty of making it to the league as a small man. Isiah and Chris are both barely 6ft tall and in the NBA, size does play a huge role. Regarding this, Isiah said:

“I know how difficult this journey is for us as small men trying to here. There have been a lot nights where I’m sure you wondered if you’d ever get there, just like I wondered if I would ever get there.”

There is truth to what Isiah Thomas said. When he played the game, big men dominated the league. This is evident as Centers have won the most MVP awards in the NBA with 26. Only recently has the game been more guard-based.

Like Chris Paul, Isiah Thomas led the Detroit Pistons to back-to-back championships. He holds the record for being the shortest player to be inducted in All-NBA teams, play in multiple all-star games and record a triple double. He also holds the Pistons record for most points, assists and steals.

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Coming to smaller men, there have been only 25 players who have played in the NBA with height under 5’9″. The shortest player to win a MVP in the league is Allen Iverson at 6ft tall. In addition, a stat proves that an American man between 6’6-6’8 has a 0.007% chance to make it to the NBA, while anyone over 7ft has a 17% chance.

May 30, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul (3) controls the ball against the Los Angeles Lakers during the first half in game four of the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs. at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

It is definitely difficult being small in the NBA. Isiah Thomas and Chris Paul are only two of few players two with their size who have excelled. It is exceptional what these two did, despite being shorter than most of the NA players.

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Anuj Talwalkar

142 articles

Anuj Talwalkar is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. He is a student studying at NM College in Mumbai, aspiring to pursue sports management to follow his love for sports. Anuj started following the NBA last year, and he loves to combine his passion for writing with his understanding of basketball.

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