Short players have always been fascinating to watch. In a game of height, it takes something special to make it into the NBA at 5’5. THat’s what makes Earl Boykins legendary. He knew speed, agility, and skill have to be his forte to make it. Just watch him give Tim Duncan vertigo.
Still, sometimes it’s not about the ultimate strength but the deceptiveness of it. That’s where Kyle Lowry’s ass gets so much publicity – lowry is usually one of the shortest guys on the court but can back down almost anyone in the post. You don’t see it coming at his height and weight, so it catches you off guard.
Earl Boykins is also deceptively strong. Really strong. At 5’5 and 139 pounds, Boykins would bench 315. Not a typo. Three hundred and fifteen pounds. Now, shorter arms mean the weight has to travel a shorter distance (that’s why most powerlifters aren’t very tall), but this is still a wild number. Especially because Boykins never looked jacked. Still, that strength was useful in his game (via The Washington Post):
“That’s a lot of weight,” said Mike Miller, who joked (I think) that his max is 105. “He’s strong. It’s been well known throughout the league, and that’s why he’s able to do the things he does on the court, because he can guard guys, he’s strong enough to keep guys off the block. At that height, it’s impressive.”
Just to put things in perspective – if Shaq were to bench the same proportion of his weight that season, he would’ve had to bench 736 pounds. Don’t judge a book by its cover.