Meet the Shortest Member of the Harlem Globetrotters
“I’m 4-foot-5”, but I carry myself like I’m 6-foot-5.”
Jahmani Swanson doesn’t just talk a good game. This basketball player, who goes by the nickname Hot Shot, plays to win. He’s a member of the Harlem Globetrotters, the world’s most famous basketball team.
Born in the Bronx and raised in Harlem, Swanson is the shortest Harlem Globetrotter in the team’s history. People typically see height as the ultimate advantage in basketball. But players who underestimate Swanson because he is a little person soon regret it.
He is quick on his feet, a skilled ball handler who can run circles around taller players, and if you let him get a shot off—well, you’re bound to hear a swish.
“I think what people need to realize is that if I wasn’t 4-foot-5, if I was a little taller, it’d be even more scary because with the skills that I have, I think I’d be the best basketball player in the world,” he boasts.
Swanson likes to say he stole his confidence from Michael Jordan. The basketball legend is his idol. “He’s the reason why I’m playing basketball today,” Swanson says. “I just gravitated to Michael Jordan—did everything like him.”
Swanson has been described as mini Michael Jordan, and it’s a description he embraces. But he is his own man on the court. Swanson grew up playing street ball in New York City on some of the toughest public courts, including The Rucker in Harlem and the West Fourth Street Courts in Greenwich Village.