“If I were 6-3 or 6-5, I’d be the best player in the world,” says Isaiah Thomas, one of the athletes featured in ESPN‘s latest “body issue.”

The 5-9 NBA All-Star point guard believes people have always doubted him due to his height.

Thomas now simply laughs at his critics, and turns them into believers:

“And I’m not as small as you may think — I’m stronger than most guys. I think by being strong and being as compact as I am, it’s helped me take my game to another level.

 

“I mean, the things that I’m doing — if I were 6-5 or 6-6, it would be magnified even more, talked about even more. And that’s how it’s been my whole career — my whole life. I’ve never been given a fair shake, even to this day. I always say nothing’s been given to me; I always took what I believe is mine, and I always took advantage of the opportunity that I’ve got. And not to put anything against the bigger guys, but for the most part, they’re handed a lot. Us little guys in the gutter, we’re not handed anything. We’re not given the benefit of the doubt. They always overlook us.

 

“If I were taller, the season I had would be getting even more attention. For sure. There’s no doubt about that. People always try to find something that I don’t do well, or that the small guy doesn’t do well, and put it against him. For instance, when you’re smaller they always say you’re a defensive liability. If somebody scores on a 6-5 guy, it’s like, “Oh, that’s good offense.” If somebody scores on a 5-9 guy, it’s like, “Oh, he’s a liability; he’s too small.” It’s always something.

 

“If I were 6-3 or 6-5, I’d be the best player in the world. No doubt about it. And that’s not just me thinking that; I mean, the world would think that.”