Earl Boykins: The Second Shortest NBA Player In The History

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Earl Boykins is a former American basketball player and is popular for his short height in the NBA. Since his retirement from organized basketball, Boykins has served as a coach for a couple of high school basketball teams.

In 2014, he was hired as a coach for the Douglas County High School varsity basketball team.

As of 2022, Earl Boykins is employed as an assistant coach with the UTEP Miners, as he was hired in this position in 2021.

Every sport has some requirements, and it seems like it is the height for basketball. Most NBA players are above 1.8 meters tall.

But, some players have proved that height really does not matter as long as you have skill and talent.

Earl Boykins, a 1.65 meters tall basketball player, is the second shortest NBA player in history. He is also the lightest player, weighing 133 lb.

Earl Boykins
Earl Boykins During The Match (Source: Chron)

When Earl was playing for a high school team, he was mistaken for a ball boy due to his short stature. His height was a huge barrier for him to achieve his NBA dream.

That is the probable reason he got undrafted in the 1998 NBA Drafts. However, nothing comes your way if you have passion and skill.

Soon, Boykins became a popular NBA player playing for NBA teams as well as international league teams, becoming one of the highest-paid players in the Italian League.

This article will take you on a beautiful journey of Earl Boykins, on how he went on from being an undrafted NBA player to becoming one of the highest-paid players in the Italian league.

Furthermore, the article will also uncover more details on his height, personal life, and retirement. But, before digging into the details, let’s quickly look at his quick facts.

Earl Boykins | Quick Facts

Full Name Earl Antoine Boykins
Known As Earl Boykins
Nick Name Earl
Date of Birth June 2, 1976
Age [calculate years datestring=”06/02/1976″] Years Old
Birth Place Cleveland, Ohio
Nationality American
Ethnicity African
Zodiac Sign  Gemini
Height 5 ft 5 in / 1.65 m / 165 cm
Weight 133 lb / 60 kg 
Hair Color Black
Eye Color Black
Father’s Name Willie Williams
Mother’s Name Charlene Horton
Siblings One sister; Charnella Boykins
High School Cleveland Central Catholic High School
Education Graduate
University Eastern Michigan University
Marital Status Married
Wife  Keyan Mathews
Marriage Year Not available
Children One; Earl TJ Boykins
Profession Former NBA Player, Assistant Coach (Current)
Position Point Guard
Leagues  
  • National Basketball Association
  • European League
NBA Draft Undrafted
Debut Year  1998
Retirement 2012
Playing Teams
  • Rockford Lightning (1998–1999)
  • New Jersey Nets (1999)
  • Cleveland Cavaliers (1999)
  • Orlando Magic (1999)
  • Cleveland Cavaliers (2002)
  • Los Angeles Clippers (2000–2002)
  • Golden State Warriors (2002–2003)
  • Denver Nuggets (2003–2007)
  • Milwaukee Bucks (2007–2008)
  • Charlotte Bobcats (2008)
  • Virtus Bologna (2008–2009)
  • Washington Wizards (2009–2010)
  • Milwaukee Bucks (2010–2011)
  • Houston Rockets (2012)
International Award
  • Gold At the 1997 Summer Universiade
Awards and achievements
  • EuroChallenge champion (2009)
  • Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award (1998)
  • AP Honorable mention All-American (1998)
  • 2 times First-Team All Mac (1997,1998)
  • MAC tournament MVP (1998)
  • No.11 retired by Eastern Michigan Eagles
  • USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year (1997)
Net Worth   $6 Million
Social Media Twitter
Merch Basketball Trading Card
Last Update  February 2023

Earl Boykins | Early Life

Earl Boykins was born Earl Antoine Boykins in Cleveland, Ohio, on June 2, 1976. 

Talking about his family, he is the son of Willie Williams (father) and Charlene Horton (mother). Earl also has a sister named Charnella Boykins.

Boykins’s father was a cop who was a fixture in Cleveland’s recreational leagues. When Earl was three years old, his father would sneak him to the gym stashed in his bag.

His father would give him a tennis ball because his hands were too small, and he would dribble the tennis ball to sleep.

Boykins spent most of his childhood with his father and with other men he played in the gym. He learned to play with bigger players twice his height in the gym.

It was a crucial skill he needed to learn as a basketball player. He is thankful to his father, who helped him work on his weakness and make it his strength.

For education, Earl attended Cleveland Central Catholic High School and graduated from Eastern Michigan University.

Earl Boykins | Age, Height & Weight

Earl Boykins is 46 years old as of 2023.

He was born in June, and his star sign is Gemini.

Geminis are powerful, jovial, friendly, and talkative. This describes Earl Boykins’s personality perfectly.

Furthermore, Earl was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and identifies himself as an American-African ethnicity.

Earl Boykins with O'Neal (Source: ESPN)
Earl Boykins with O’Neal (Source: ESPN)

The thing that stands out the most about Earl Boykins is his height. He is just 5 feet 5 inches (1.65 meters) tall and weighs around 133 pounds (60 kg).

While most basketball players are over 1.65 meters, Boykins is regarded as the second shortest NBA player in history behind Muggsy Bogues, who is 1.6 meters (5 ft 3 inches) tall.

Earl inherited his height from his parents. His mother is 1.25 meters (4 ft 11 in) tall, and his father is 1.76 meters (5 ft 8 in) tall. However, his sister is two inches taller than him.

Earl Boykins | Professional Career

Early Career

Earl Boykins attended Cleveland Central Catholic High School, where he was a famous player.

Earl was named the finest Cleveland-area high school basketball player of the 1990s by The Plain Dealer in 2015.

Boykins attended Eastern Michigan University on an athletic scholarship and played for the college basketball team.

Earl had a valuable role in leading Eastern Michigan to win the MAC Tournament. As a result, he was named to the Mid-American Conference first team.

During his senior year, Boykins scored second in the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship. He owns a career record for total assists of 624 at Eastern Michigan University.

On February 27, 2011, Eastern Michigan University honored Boykins by retiring his No. 11 jersey.

Undrafted To Play In Major NBA Teams

Earl Boykins was not chosen in the 1998 NBA Draft. However, he was signed by five different NBA clubs on short-term deals.

Since Boykins wasn’t drafted, he had a hard time getting a long-term contract from NBA teams, as most signed him as a temporary player or as a replacement.

Boykins finally signed a five-year, $13.7 million deal with the Denver Nuggets in the 2003–2004 season.

Earl Boykins
Earl Boykins playing for Milwaukee Bucks (Source: Whole Hog Sports)

On November 11, 2004, Boykins became the NBA’s shortest player to score 30 or more points in a game when he netted 32 points in the Nuggets’ win game.

However, Boykins was later traded to the Milwaukee Bucks in January 2007 after playing three full seasons with Denver.

Later, Boykins opted out of his contract after ending the season in Milwaukee and signed with the Charlotte Bobcats midway through the 2007–2008 season.

Becoming Highest Paid Player In Italian League

In the 2007-08 NBA season, Boykins chose to play in Europe and signed a one-year, $3.5 million worth of contract with Virtus Bologna of the Italian A-League.

Boykins was the highest-paid basketball player in the Italian League and included money from Bologna’s sponsorship and marketing arms.

But, Boykins had a feud with the team owner after he went to the US to visit his sick son without permission. This was later solved, and Boykins stayed with the team.

On April 26, 2009, Boykins and his team won the EuroChallenge Cup. He was later released in June 2009.

Returning To The NBA

After being released by the team, Boykins came back to NBA and signed with Washington Wizards in November 2009.

Boykins was a precious acquisition of the Wizard. He had a huge role in the team to win against the Milwaukee Bucks on December 2, 2009, as he scored two free throws.

earl boykins basketball
Earl Boykins playing for Houston Rockets (Source: Pinterest)

His performance wowed his rival team so much that they signed him for one year contract on August 19, 2010.

Later, Boykins signed a 10-day deal with the Houston Rockets on March 26, 2012. After the contract was over, Boykins retired as an NBA player.

On December 12, 2022, Earl Thomas was mentioned on the website FOOTBALL as being the 7 Most Pro Bowl selections in UT history.

The Basketball Tournament

Boykins competed in The Basketball Tournament on ESPN for Pual Champions in the summer of 2017. He helped lead his team to two victories in the TBT Jamboree for the $2 million grand prize, securing Paul Champions’ spot as one of the 64 teams in the tournament.

Earl averaged 24.5 points, 4.0 assists, and 3.5 rebounds per game during the Jamboree.

He scored 25 points in their first-round match-up, assisting in a 78-74 win over the Talladega Knights. The team was led by former NBA players Josh Boone and Gray Forbes.

Boykins and the Champions eventually fell to the number one-seeded Untouchables in the second round.

Earl Boykins | Coaching Career

Usually, NBA players opt for a coaching career after retiring as an NBA player, and it was the same for Earl Boykins.

In 2014, Boykins was appointed as the head coach for Douglas County High School’s basketball team in Castle Rock, Colorado.

Currently, Boykins serves as an assistant coach for UTEP Miners. He was hired in 2021 and has been working there for a year.

Carroll senior big man Brendan Temple mentioned Earl Boykins after his winning match against Montana Western on December 2, 2022, interview.

He said, “He always had me working out in the summer with him and just learning every aspect of the game.

“Learning how to use my body. Even though we had different body types- he’s 5-foot-5, and I’m 6-foot-7- he just knew what I was looking for and how to execute it.”

Earl Boykins | Wife & Children

Earl Boykins is married to Keyan Mathews. Unfortunately, not much is known about their love life and when they married.

But, it is known that the couple has a son named Earl TJ Boykins, who was born in 2000. 

His son stands 1.67 meters (5 ft 6 inches) tall like his father and is following the steps of his father as a basketball player.

TJ Boykins played basketball at Douglas County and also played for the Evangel Valor basketball team at Evangel University.

As of 2022, Earl TJ Boykins is playing for Notre Dame Falcons as a point guard.

Earl Boykins | Net Worth And Salary

The net worth of Earl Boykins is estimated to be $6 million. His net worth results from his successful career as an NBA player and coach.

The athlete signed a five-year contract worth $13.7 million with the Denver Nuggets.

Later, he signed the most expensive contract worth $3.5 million for one year with Virtus Bologna of the Italian A league.

Boykins was the highest-paid basketball player in the Italian League and earned extra income from Bologna’s sponsorship and promotions.

It’s unknown how much Boykins earned as a coach, but based on his skill and experience, he definitely made a lot of money.

House Fire

According to TMZ Sports, Earl Thomas’s house caught fire on August 12, 2022, and all his family members were at home at that time; luckily, all the members were safe and sound.

Officials say there was nothing fishy business involved in the fire that took Earl Thomas’s Texas home, and the court ruled the cause of the blaze accidental.

The Texas State Fire Marshall’s Office investigated the cause of fire and found it happened because of a lightning strike and nothing more.

It was noted that the blaze was the largest residential fire in terms of monetary damage in the history of Orange.

Social Media Presence 

Earl Boykins has a large social media presence, particularly on Twitter. Apart from that, he does not use any other social media.

Boykins has thousands of followers on the platform and updates his followers on what is going on in his personal and professional life.

For a glimpse into Boykin’s personal and professional life, make sure you follow him on Twitter.

Popularity Graph

Earl Boykins is a former American professional basketball player.

Earl Boykins
Earl Boykins Popularity Graph (Source: Google)

The above graph shows Boykins’s popularity over the past twelve months.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Did Earl Boykins ever dunk?

Yes, Earl Boykins once dunked during an NBA game with the Clippers. He is the second shortest dunker in NBA history, following Muggsy Bogues, who stands 5 ft 3 inches tall (1.61 meters).

How much can Earl Boykins bench?

Earl Boykins weighs around 133 pounds but can bench his weight almost three times. He can bench 315 pounds.

What are the overall NBA statistics of Earl Boykins?

In his NBA career, Earl Boykins played 652 games with an average of 1.3 rebounds, 0.6 steals, 3.2 assists, 0.1 blocks, and 8.9 points per game.

He scored 5791 points, 877 rebounds, and 2092 assists.

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