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NBA Legend Tyrone "Muggsy" Bogues Stood Tall at 5’3”
When he was growing up, Tyrone "Muggsy" Bogues had dreams of playing in the NBA. He experienced his fair share of discouragement standing only 5’3”. During a basketball game in high school, he was laughed at by fans from the opposing team when he ran onto the court. They stopped laughing when he led his team to a victory. Many people told him he would never become a player in the NBA. Muggsy Bogues refused to listen.
Tyrone Bogues was born in Baltimore, Maryland on January 9, 1965. When he was growing up his family lived in the Lafayette Court Housing Project in East Baltimore. He had a desire to play basketball at a young age. During his early years playing basketball occupied almost all of his time. This was when slam dunks were practiced by Bogues and his friends using an open-bottomed milk crate hanging off a fence. He spent a lot of time playing basketball at Lafayette Courts Community Recreation Center. Bogues was shorter than almost all of the other players. He still established himself as one of the best basketball players in the entire neighborhood. This was a recreation center that also enabled three other future NBA players to perfect their skills. David Wingate, Reggie Lewis and Reggie Williams all grew up in the same neighborhood and went to the same recreation center at Muggsy Bogues.
High School Basketball
During a game in high school, Bogues received the nickname “Muggsy.” Another player named Dwayne Woods noticed how Bogues had a physical way of playing. It reminded Woods of a mugging. Tyrone Bogues was then given the nickname of “Muggsy.” He was able to transfer from Baltimore's Southern High School to Dunbar High School in 1981. His coach referred to Bogues as the most dominant high school basketball player he had ever seen. When the Dunbar team went to New Jersey to play Camden High School, the Camden fans laughed at Bogues because of his size. After stealing the ball more than once for points, they stopped laughing. The Dunbar team had a 30 point lead at halftime. They went on to win the game by 29 points. Dunbar went on to win 59 consecutive games during Bogues junior and senior year. Dunbar was also able to win their sixth consecutive championship. Bogues was voted the most valuable player on his team as well as in the city's public school league.
With all of his success playing high school basketball, there were not many coaches from big name universities interested in recruiting a basketball player who stood five-foot-three. There were at least two. Georgetown and Wake Forest both recruited Muggsy Bogues. The Wake Forest Demon Deacons offer was the one he accepted. His first two years at the university were a struggle. Bogues got limited playing time until his junior year. This is when Bob Staak became the head basketball coach at Wake Forest. Bogues and Staak developed a very good player and coach relationship. During his junior year, Bogues averaged 11.6 points during the 22 game season. He led the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) in steals. Bogues also ranked among the top ten players nationally for assists. He set an ACC record for assists with 17 in one game. When it came to rebounding, he ranked among the top three-point guards in the conference. In 1986, Bogues was part of the U.S. National basketball team. That year the team went to the world championship game in Spain. Bogues started at point guard. The U.S. National team won its first world basketball title in three decades. During his senior year at Wake Forest, Bogues set an all-school record for assists. He had 579. During the final game of his senior year, Wake Forest retired his Number 14 jersey. During his senior year, he was named to the all-ACC team. He also led his team in scoring. Bogues led the league with minutes played as well as steals. At the end of his college basketball career, Bogues has seven school basketball records at Wake Forest. He had a conference record of 781 career assists. During his last year of college, Bogues was part of the ACC senior tour. He also played in the U.S. Basketball League.
During the 1987 NBA draft Bogues was picked up by the Washington Bullets. He was drafted 12th overall. There were many sports analysts and basketball fans who doubted Muggsy Bogues could successfully play professional basketball. Many felt the only thing he could provide an NBA team was a gimmick to sell tickets. He proved them wrong. Bogues had a very good rookie season. He was ranked as one of the best rookie players in the NBA. Bogues had a style that was extremely fast and proved difficult to defend. Manute Bol played on the same team as Bogues. Bol stood 7'3” and during that season, the shortest and tallest professional basketball players of all time played on the same NBA team. There was a difference of 28 inches between them.
The Charlotte Hornets were going to be an expansion team for the 1988-89 NBA season. The Hornets selected Bogues for the expansion draft. Bogues quickly became one of the most popular players of the Charlotte Hornets. His ability to pass, steal the ball as well as be one of the quickest players on the court developed beyond expectation. During the 1992-93 season, Bogues helped the Hornets appear in their first ever NBA playoffs. He was one of the most popular players for the Charlotte Hornets. Bogues became the Hornet's career leader in assists, steals, minutes played, turnovers as well as assists per 48 minutes. He was traded to the Golden State Warriors during the 1997-98 NBA Season.
After being traded to the Golden State Warriors Bogues played two seasons for the team. He then became a free agent and joined the Toronto Raptors. He played at Toronto for two years. The 2000 – 2001 NBA season the last one for Bogues. He was traded to the Dallas Mavericks as well as the New York Knicks. Bogues never played for either team.
After retiring from the NBA, Bogues began working in the real estate business. His heart never left basketball. During 2005, he embraced an opportunity to coach the Charlotte Sting of the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA). He took his usual role on the team. Bogues was shorter than all of the players. The Charlotte Sting ceased operation in 2007. Another opportunity to coach basketball came his way in 2011. He started coaching the United Faith Christian Academy boys high school basketball team. During 2014, Bogues was hired at an Ambassador for the Charlotte Hornets.