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Best 6’1″ NBA Players of ALL TIME

Some of the best guards in NBA history have been 6’1″ tall (approximately 1.85m).

6’1 is is considered short by NBA standards (average height is around 6’6″), but the players on this list made up for their lack of height with tremendous skill, IQ, and effort.

The list includes some former MVPs (regular season or Finals); scoring leaders, assists leaders; All-Defensive Team players; and plenty of NBA champions.

In order by seasons played, the eight best 6 foot 1 inch NBA players of ALL TIME are:

Read on for a detailed description of each, top current 6’1 players, and a list of some other notable 6’1 players. Let’s get started!

Bob Cousy, PG

Bob Cousy was one of the early stars in NBA history, and considered by many as the first true great point guard.

He is best remembered as a terrific passer/playmaker, and for leading the Celtics to six championships.

Cousy played a total of 14 NBA seasons (1950-1963, 1969-70) — 13 with the Boston Celtics, and 1 as a player-coach with the Cincinnati Royals (now the Sacramento Kings).

A list of his achievements includes: 6x NBA champ; MVP; 12x All-NBA (10x First, 2x Second); 13x All-Star; 2x All-Star Game MVP; 8x Assists leader; and member of every NBA anniversary team (25th, 35th, 50th, 75th).

Aside from leading the league in assists for eight straight seasons, Cousy was also a great scorer. He averaged double digit scoring every year of his Celtics career, and finished with impressive career scoring average of 18.4 points per game.

⛹️‍♂️ Player-Coach: Cousy was head coach of the Cincinnati/Kansas City Royals (now Sacramento Kings) from 1969-1974. In the 1969-70 season, he played 7 games for the team as a player-coach, averaging 1.4 assists in 4.9 minutes per game.

John Stockton, PG

John Stockton was one of the top NBA players of the 1990s, and is considered as one of the greatest point guards of all time.

He played his entire 19 year career (1984-2003) with the Utah Jazz, and is best remembered as part of the lethal pick-and-roll duo with Karl Malone.

Stockton is perhaps the greatest assist-man in NBA history, and currently holds the record for most career assists (15806). His mark is over 3000 more than 2nd place (Jason Kidd).

Defensively, Stockton is also the leader in career steals, with nearly 600 more than 2nd place (also Jason Kidd).

A list of Stockton’s other NBA achievements include: 11x All-NBA Team (2x First, 6x Second, 3x Third); 5x All-Defensive Second Team; 10x All-Star; All-Star Game MVP; 9x Assists leader; 2x Steals leader; and member of NBA anniversary teams (50th, 75th).

Stockton also two Olympic gold medals with Team USA (1992 Barcelona Olympics, 1996 Atlanta Olympics).

💪 Ironman: One of the most impressive aspects of Stockton’s career was his durability. He played every single game of the regular season 17 times (out of 19 possible seasons)!

Maurice Cheeks, PG

Maurice Cheeks was known as one of the top players of the 1980s, and one of the best defensive guards of all-time.

He was actually the all-time leader in steals at the time of his retirement (1993), before being passed by John Stockton (listed above) in 1996. He is currently ranked 6th all-time.

Cheeks played a total of 15 NBA seasons (1978-1993) for five teams (Philadelphia, San Antonio, New York, Atlanta, New Jersey). He is best remembered for his time with Philadelphia, where he won a championship and was a multiple-time All-Star.

A list of Cheeks’ NBA achievements includes: NBA champion; 4x All-Star; 5x All-Defensive Team (4x First, 1x Second).

He averaged over 2 steals per game for his entire career.

Immediately after retiring, Cheeks began his coaching career (1993-present) He has had NBA head coaching jobs in Portland, Philadelphia and Detroit. He is currently an assistant coach for the Chicago Bulls.

Lenny Wilkens, PG

Lenny Wilkens was one of the top players of the 60s, and early 70s.

He was a terrific all-around player; an elite playmaker/passer, and also a great scorer.

Wilkens was perhaps most famously a successful player-coach for the Seattle SuperSonics (now the OKC Thunder). He simultaneously coached the team, and started for the team at point guard. He even made the All-Star game three times as a player during his tenure as player-coach!

Wilkens played a total of 15 seasons in the NBA (1960-1975), for four different teams — St. Louis (now the Atlanta Hawks), Seattle, Cleveland, and Portland.

A list of his NBA achievements include: 9x All-Star; All-Star Game MVP; Assists leader; and member of NBA anniversary teams (50th, 75th).

He averaged double-digit scoring for 14 seasons in a row, and has impressive career averages of 16.5 points, 6.7 assists, and 4.7 rebounds per game.

☝️ Elite of Elite: Wilkens is the only person to on both the NBA 50th & 75th Anniversary Teams, as well as top 15 coaches of all-time.

Tiny Archibald, PG

Nate “Tiny” Archibald was one of the greatest NBA players of the 1970s.

He was remembered as a quick and shifty guard that could literally score at will. He held the record for most points per game (34 ppg) by a point guard for over 20 years. James Harden broke the record in 2019.

Archibald’s career spanned a total of 14 NBA seasons (1970-1984) for four different teams — Cincinnati/Kansas City (now the Sacramento Kings), New York, Boston, and Milwaukee.

A list of his NBA achievements includes: NBA champ; 6x All-Star; All-Star Game MVP; 5x All-NBA Team (3x First, 2x Second); 1x Scoring Champ; 1x Assists leader; and member of NBA anniversary teams (50th, 75th).

In 1972-73, Nate became the only player in history to lead the league in both points per game, and assists per game in the same season (34 points, 11.4 assists per game).

Gail Goodrich, SG

Gail Goodrich was one of the top players of the late 60s and early 70s. He is also notably the only shooting guard on this list.

He was known as an elite scorer, and led his team in scoring mulitple times.

Goodrich played 14 seasons in the NBA (1965-1979) for three different teams (LA Lakers, Phoenix, New Orleans). He is best remembered for his time with the Lakers where he won a championship, and was a multiple-time All-Star.

A list of Goodrich’s NBA achievements include: NBA champion; 5x All-Star; All-NBA First Team.

Goodrich scored in double-digits 13 of his 14 seasons, including six seasons of over 20 points per game. He finished with impressive career averages of 18.6 points, 4.7 assists, and 3.2 rebounds per game.

Kevin Johnson, PG

Kevin Johnson was one of the top point guards of the 1990s.

He was known as a superb athlete, elite playmaker, and terrific scorer. He is one of only 3 players to average over 20 points and 12 assists per game in the same season (otheres are Magic Johnson, Isiah Thomas)

Johnson played a total of 13 NBA seasons (1987-1998; 1999-2000) for two teams (Cleveland, Phoenix). He is best remembered for his time with Phoenix where he was a multiple-time All-NBA player, and helped lead the team to the Finals.

A list of of Johnson’s NBA achievements include: 3x All-Star; 5x All-NBA Team (4x Second, 1x Third); and Most Improved Player.

Johnson averaged double-digit scoring for 10 straight seasons, and has impressive career averages of 17.9 points, 9.1 assists, 3.3 rebounds, and 1.5 steals per game. His 9.1 assists per game currently ranks 7th all-time (active and retired players).

Mr. Mayor: Johnson was the mayor of Sacramento for 8 years (2008-2016), and helped prevent their NBA team (Sacramento Kings) from moving to another city.

Isiah Thomas, PG

Isiah Thomas, a.k.a “Zeke“, is widely recognized as one of the greatest NBA point guards of all-time, and the best player in Detroit Pistons franchise history.

Thomas was a fierce competitor, elite playmaker and scorer. He also has some of the best handles in NBA history.

Thomas played a total of 13 NBA seasons (1981-1994), all for the Detroit Pistons. He holds franchise records for total points, assists, steals, and minutes played.

A list of his other NBA achievements includes: 2x NBA champion; Finals MVP; 5x All-NBA (3x First, 2x Second); 12x All-Star; 2x All-Star Game MVP; All-Rookie First Team; 1x Assists leader; and member of NBA anniversary teams (50th, 75th).

Thomas averaged double-digit scoring his entire career, including five seasons of over 20 points per game. He has ultra impressive career averages of 19.2 points, 9.3 assists, 3.6 rebounds, and 1.9 steals per game.

He currently ranks 6th all-time in assists per game (including active players), just ahead of Kevin Johnson (listed above).

😤 Snubbed! Thomas was famously snubbed from the USA’s 1992 Olympic basketball team (i.e. the “Dream Team”) because of his ongoing feud/rivalry with Michael Jordan.

Best Current 6’1″ NBA Players

Trae Young is probably the best current 6’1 NBA player

There are currently 20 players in the NBA that are listed at 6’1″ tall. The best current players are:

👉 Click here for a complete list of all 6’1 players currently in the NBA

Some Other Notable 6’1″ NBA Players

Jason Williams, a.k.a. “White Chocolate“, was maybe the most entertaining 6’1” player ever.

Besides the all-time greats and current stars listed above, there have been a TON of other notable 6’1″ players in NBA history.

The list below includes players that were former champions, All-Stars, All-Defensive, All-NBA, and more.

In order by seasons played, some other notable former/current 6’1″ players include:

  • Derek Fisher
  • Lou Williams
  • Mark Jackson
  • Rajon Rondo
  • Larry Costello
  • Mike Bibby
  • Raymond Felton
  • Nick Van Exel
  • Jason Williams (i.e. White Chocolate)
  • Mo Williams
  • Bobby Jackson
  • Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf
  • Brandon Jennings
  • KC Jones

Don’t agree with my choices? Did I miss any of your favorite 6’1 players?

Let me know what you think in the comments below.

Other All-Time Players by Height

Check out these lists of other all-time great NBA players by height (i.e. 6’2, 6’3, etc.)


Who is your favorite 6’1″ NBA player of all time? Favorite current 6’1 player?

Did I miss any notable players on this list?

Let me know in the comments below!


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Larry Lee

Larry Lee

Larry is a basketball addict, and the founder of Hoop Dojo. He started Hoop Dojo to share his love of the game and help the next generation reach their full potential.