NBA Legend Tyrone "Muggsy" Bogues Stood Tall at 5’3”
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. Bogues and his friends used an open-bottomed milk crate hanging off a fence to practice slam dunks. He spent a lot of time playing at the 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.
During a game in high school, Bogues received the nickname Muggsy. Another player named Dwayne Woods noticed how he had a physical way of playing. It reminded Woods of a mugging, thus the nickname of Muggsy. Bogues was able to transfer from Baltimore's Southern High School to Dunbar High School in 1981. His coach referred to him 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. The school was also able to win their sixth consecutive championship. Bogues was voted as the most valuable player on his team as well as in the city's public school league.
Despite all of his success in high school, there were not many coaches from big name universities interested in recruiting a player who stood at 5'3". He received two offers from Georgetown and Wake Forest, the latter was the school he picked. His first two years at the university were a struggle. He had limited playing time until his junior year. This is when Bob Staak became the head 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. He 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 Team. The team went to the World Championship game in Spain that year; Bogues was the starting point guard. They ended up winning their first title in three decades. During his senior year, Bogues set an all-school record for assists with 579. During his senior year, he was named to the all-ACC team and also led the team in scoring. He also led the league with minutes played as well as steals. At the end of his college basketball career, Bogues had seven school 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. In his final college game, Wake Forest retired his number 14.
During the 1987 NBA Draft, Bogues was picked up by the Washington Bullets. He was drafted 12th overall. There were many sports analysts and fans who doubted he could successfully play in the NBA. Many felt that the only thing he could do for a team was serve as a gimmick to sell tickets. He proved them wrong with a very good rookie season. He had a style that was extremely fast and proved difficult to defend. It should be noted that Manute Bol played on the same team at the time. He stood at 7'7”, so both the shortest and tallest NBA players of all time were on the same 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. He quickly became one of the most popular players for the franchise. His ability to pass and steal the ball, as well as be one of the quickest players on the court, was well beyond expectations. During the 1992-93 season, Bogues helped the Hornets appear in their first ever NBA playoffs. He became the Hornets' 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 season. He played there for two seasons before becoming a free agent and joining the Toronto Raptors. He played in Toronto for two years. The 2000–2001 season was the last one for Bogues. He was traded to the Dallas Mavericks as well as the New York Knicks. He never played in a game for either team.
After retiring from the NBA, Bogues began working in the real estate business. However, his heart never left basketball. During 2005, he took an opportunity to coach the Charlotte Sting of the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA). He took his usual role as the shortest person on the team. The Charlotte Sting ceased operations in 2007. Another opportunity to coach came his way in 2011. He started coaching the United Faith Christian Academy boys high school team. During 2014, he was hired as an ambassador for the Charlotte Hornets.