The Tiniest People in Sports

Amber LeeSports Lists Lead WriterOctober 21, 2013

The Tiniest People in Sports

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    Jerry Markland/Getty Images

    In sports, the modus operandi for athletes is to be bigger, stronger and faster than the other guy or girl. And, when you're bigger, you're usually—pound for pound—stronger than someone smaller. If the emphasis isn't necessarily on strength, then it's about being closer to the hoop or capable of seeing over all the other big people.

    It's as simple as physics.

    However, it would be shame to take for granted all awesome men and women who don't follow the status quo, or by virtue of their sport, are bigger by being smaller. I'm talking about your Muggsy Bogues as well as your Ron Turcottes.

    And, what better way to celebrate their minute grandeur than by measuring it by how many times they can fit into the antithesis of their stature: former NBA tower/center Yao Ming?

    Sure, we could all curl up and take a nap, somewhat comfortably, in a life-size hollowed-out chocolate Yao Ming, but these diminutive athletes could use chocolate-Yao Ming like a micro-hotel.

    These are the tiniest people in sports. 

     

20. Nate Robinson

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    Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images

    Team: Denver Nuggets

    Height: 5'9

    1.387 Nate Robinson's = 1 Yao Ming

    Weight: 180

    1.73 Nate Robinson's = 1 Yao Ming 

    Nate Robinson is the smallest guy in the NBA, but the biggest athlete on the list. He measures up pretty well, comparatively. 

19. Nickell Robey

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    Patrick Smith/Getty Images

    Team: Buffalo Bills 

    Height: 5'8

    1.389 Nickell Robey's = 1 Yao Ming

    Weight: 165 

    1.90 Nickell Robey's = 1 Yao Ming 

    Nickell Robey is the second smallest player in the NFL and an epic 22 inches shorter than Yao Ming.  

18. Dustin Pedroia

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    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Team: Boston Red Sox

    Height: 5'8

    1.389 Dustin Pedroia's = 1 Yao Ming

    Weight: 165 

    1.90 Dustin Pedroia's = 1 Yao Ming 

    As one of the smallest players in MLB, it would take nearly two full Dustin Pedroia's to balance a seesaw with one Yao Ming. 

17. Steven Whitney

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    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Team: Anaheim Ducks 

    Height: 5'7

    1.392 Steven Whitney's = 1 Yao Ming

    Weight: 167

    1.86 Steven Whitney's = 1 Yao Ming 

    As the second smallest person in the NHL, Steven Whitney would need a pair of 23 inch high heels to get eye-to-eye with Yao Ming. 

16. Alexi Amarista

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    Denis Poroy/Getty Images

    Team: San Diego Padres 

    Height: 5'8

    1.389 Alexi Amarista's = 1 Yao Ming 

    Weight: 150

    2.07 Alexi Amarista's = 1 Yao Ming 

    As the second smallest player in MLB, you'd need over one full Alexi Amarista to fill out just one of Yao Ming's pant legs. 

15. Nathan Gerbe

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    Gregg Forwerck/Getty Images

    Team: Carolina Hurricanes

    Height: 5'5

    1.398 Nathan Gerbe's = 1 Yao Ming

    Weight: 173

    1.80 Nathan Gerbe's = 1 Yao Ming 

    NHL player Nathan Gerbe is the smallest player in the NHL—he may be short, but he's a brick house. A brick house that would stand just a shade under Yao Ming's nipples. 

14. Trindon Holliday

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Team: Denver Broncos

    Height: 5'5 

    1.398 Trindon Holliday's = 1 Yao Ming

    Weight: 170 

    1.82 Trindon Holliday's = 1 Yao Ming

    Built much the same as Nathan Gerbe, teeny Trindon Holliday can join the neighborhood of brick houses in the neighborhood of Yao Ming's nipples.

13. Jose Altuve

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    Scott Halleran/Getty Images

    Team: Houston Astros 

    Height: 5'5

    1.398 Jose Altuve's = 1 Yao Ming

    Weight: 168

    1.85 Jose Altuve's = 1 Yao Ming

    Per the MLB's official rules, a bat's length can't exceed 42 inches; in other words, the opposing manager should notify the umpire if Altuve steps up to the plate with a bat that can't divide Yao Ming by at least two bats.

12. Maximiliano Nicolás Moralez

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    Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images Europe
    Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images Europe

    Team: Atalanta B.C. 

    Height: 5'3 

    1.404 Maximiliano Nicolás Moralez' = 1 Yao Ming

    Weight: 126 

    2.47 Maximiliano Nicolás Moralez' = 1 Yao Ming

    I'm willing to bet the average person—if waiting to meet a man named Maximiliano—would expect a large, mustached industrial tycoon to make a boisterous entrance. However, this version gives life to the name by his moves on the pitch, rather than by his stature.

    But, I would certainly encourage Mr. Moralez to enter a room on Ming's shoulders; wearing a giant trench coat.

     

11. Élton Jose Xavier Gomes

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    Photo Courtesy of Sean Foley @foleyse
    Photo Courtesy of Sean Foley @foleyse

    Team: Al-Fateh 

    Height: 5'2 

    1.406 Élton Jose Xavier Gomes' = 1 Yao Ming

    Weight: 120 

    2.59 Élton Jose Xavier Gomes' = 1 Yao Ming

    Just a hair over 5' and weighing a solid buck-twenty, there is no natural or physical limitation stopping Yao Ming from twirling Gomes like a baton—even if the two of them could offer a laundry list of their own reasons why it's a terrible idea.

     

10. Joe Bravo

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    Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    Sport: Jockey 

    Height: 5'2

    1.406 Joe Bravo's = 1 Yao Ming

    Weight: 112 

    2.77 Joe Bravo's = 1 Yao Ming

    If I ever found myself in a room with Ming and the appropriately diminutive Joe Bravo, I may find the temptation to ask Bravo to throw on an Elmo 'onesie' and Ming to bounce him on his knee like a toddler too irresistible a photo opportunity to not at least ask.

9. Danica Patrick

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    John Harrelson/Getty Images

    Sport: NASCAR

    Height: 5'2

    1.406 Danica Patrick's = 1 Yao Ming

    Weight: 110

    2.83 Danica Patrick's = 1 Yao Ming

    I could think of no two sports stars whose lives would make a more awesome version of Freaky Friday—Ming would inevitably reach for things and miss by a mile, while Patrick would turn Ming into a human hamster-ball. 

8. Javier Castellano

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    Harry How/Getty Images

    Sport: Jockey 

    Height: 5'1

    1.409 Javier Castellano's = 1 Yao Ming

    Weight: 110 

    2.83 Javier Castellano's = 1 Yao Ming

    You know how mankind has an innate curiosity about whether man can ride various animals? If you don't know...YouTube offers plenty of hilarious (or horrifying) examples. Ming is certainly no animal, but based on the incredible size disparity, aren't you a little curious to see if Ming can ride jockey Javier Castellano. 

    Wait, did I get that right? I think did.

7. Tuau Lapua Lapua

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    Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

    Sport: Olympic Weightlifter 

    Height: 4'7

    1.735 Tuau Lapua Lapua's = 1 Yao Ming

    Weight: 137

    2.27 Tuau Lapua Lapua's = 1 Yao Ming

    If Lapua Lapua and Yao Ming walked into a bar, kicked over the jukebox and announced they're ready to kick some ass; and any taker must choose his opponent—I bet you'd smirk and point your drunken finger at teeny tiny Lapua Lapua.

    Makes sense on the surface; but despite Ming nearly doubling up the weightlifter in height and weighing more than twice Lupua Lupua, the choice is fools gold. He lifted over 535 pounds in the snatch event at the 2012 Summer Games.

     

6. Gabby Douglas

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Sport: Olympic Gymnast 

    Height: 4'11

    1.717 Gabby Douglas' = 1 Yao Ming

    Weight: 90 

    3.46 Gabby Douglas' = 1 Yao Ming

    Here's a pairing where the optics shift from amusing to unsettling—take a photo of a smiling Ming and Douglas standing next to each other, apply an olde-timey filter to it, and it would look like a fitting entry in one of those Ripley's Believe or Not books on human oddities. 

5. Hu Yadan

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    Adam Pretty/Getty Images

    Sport: Olympic Diver

    Height: 4'10

    1.721 Hu Yadan's = 1 Yao Ming

    Weight: 79

    3.94 Hu Yadan's = 1 Yao Ming

    Olympic diver Hu Yadon takes up such a fraction of the space Ming does, that while it would be exceptionally easy to solve...a handful of Yadons could be the pieces of a Yao Ming puzzle. BTW—how awesome would it be to see Ming—in a speedo—go off a high dive platform? 

4. Mayelis Yesenia Caripa Castillo

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    Lars Baron/Getty Images

    Sport: Olympic Wrestler 

    Height: 4'7

    1.734 Mayelis Yesenia Caripa Castillo's = 1 Yao Ming

    Weight: 106 

    2.93 Mayelis Yesenia Caripa Castillo's = 1 Yao Ming

    I might be stretching it a bit here, but doesn't a wrestling match between Venezuelan Caripa Castillo and Ming sound like the kind of public event a post-apocalyptic war lord would stage in a campy sci-fi flick?

3. Schillonie Calvert

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    Andrew Wong/Getty Images

    Sport: Olympic Sprinter

    Height: 4'5

    1.743 Schillonie Calvert's = 1 Yao Ming

    Weight: 119 

    2.61 Schillonie Calvert's = 1 Yao Ming

    Undoubtedly, gravity plays much different roles in lives of Calvert and Ming. Gravity is hardly a factor for the Jamaican sprinter and it's a virtual witch doctor pushing its thumb into the knees of Ming, every second he's not recumbent. 

2. Deng Linlin

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    Michael Regan/Getty Images

    Sport: Olympic Gymnast 

    Height: 4'9

    1.726 Deng Linlin's = 1 Yao Ming

    Weight: 68 

    4.57 Deng Linlin's = 1 Yao Ming

    As inappropriate as the get-up might be, from a physical standpoint, Ming could absolutely hold a couple of aluminum pipes and let Linlin and make him her apparatus for the uneven bars.

     

1. Asuka Teramoto

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    Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

    Sport: Olympic Gymnast

    Height: 4'6

    1.739 Asuka Teramoto's = 1 Yao Ming

    Weight: 66 

    4.71 Asuka Teramoto's = 1 Yao Ming 

    Here's the deal: you and I are Teramoto's Yao Ming and Yao Ming is Teramoto's terrifying mythical giant that towers over her land of shrubs-as-trees.