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.
Team: Denver Nuggets
1.387 Nate Robinson's = 1 Yao Ming
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.
Team: Buffalo Bills
1.389 Nickell Robey's = 1 Yao Ming
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.
Team: Boston Red Sox
1.389 Dustin Pedroia's = 1 Yao Ming
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.
Team: Anaheim Ducks
1.392 Steven Whitney's = 1 Yao Ming
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.
Team: San Diego Padres
1.389 Alexi Amarista's = 1 Yao Ming
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.
Team: Carolina Hurricanes
1.398 Nathan Gerbe's = 1 Yao Ming
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.
Team: Denver Broncos
1.398 Trindon Holliday's = 1 Yao Ming
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.
Team: Houston Astros
1.398 Jose Altuve's = 1 Yao Ming
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.
Team: Atalanta B.C.
1.404 Maximiliano Nicolás Moralez' = 1 Yao Ming
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.
1.406 Élton Jose Xavier Gomes' = 1 Yao Ming
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.
1.406 Joe Bravo's = 1 Yao Ming
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.
1.406 Danica Patrick's = 1 Yao Ming
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.
1.409 Javier Castellano's = 1 Yao Ming
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.
Sport: Olympic Weightlifter
1.735 Tuau Lapua Lapua's = 1 Yao Ming
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.
Sport: Olympic Gymnast
1.717 Gabby Douglas' = 1 Yao Ming
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.
Sport: Olympic Diver
1.721 Hu Yadan's = 1 Yao Ming
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?
Sport: Olympic Wrestler
1.734 Mayelis Yesenia Caripa Castillo's = 1 Yao Ming
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?
Sport: Olympic Sprinter
1.743 Schillonie Calvert's = 1 Yao Ming
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.
Sport: Olympic Gymnast
1.726 Deng Linlin's = 1 Yao Ming
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.
Sport: Olympic Gymnast
1.739 Asuka Teramoto's = 1 Yao Ming
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.