Over the years, there have been many stories to come out about Michael Jordan and his NBA career with the Chicago Bulls. Some of them have proven to be true. Others, though, have just been legends that no one can 100% confirm. Well, one of Jordan’s former foes recently came out and slammed a well-documented rumor that Jordan is the reason his NBA career came to an end. That foe was former Charlotte Hornets star, Muggsy Bogues.
Muggsy Bogues didn’t let his height keep him from having success in the NBA
For any player who hopes to succeed in the NBA, being under six feet tall can certainly be a disadvantage. Muggsy Bogues, though, isn’t just under six feet. He actually stands at five feet, three inches.
He still, however, had success in the league.
Bogues, the No. 12 overall pick in the 1987 NBA draft, only scored around five points per game in his first two seasons. Starting in his third season in 1989-90, though, Bogues became an excellent point guard. He ultimately averaged 9.4 points per game, 10.7 assists, and two steals with the Charlotte Hornets that year.
Bogues then continued to become one of the best passers in the league after that season. He averaged 8.3 assists or more in every season from 1989-90 through 1994-95. His best season during that stretch probably came in 1993-94, when he averaged 10.8 points per game and 10.1 assists.
Bogues ended up playing with the Hornets from 1988-89 to 1997-98. He then spent over a season with the Golden State Warriors before spending time with the Toronto Raptors to end his career.
Overall for his career, Bogues averaged 7.7 points per game and 7.6 assists. His assists-per-game career average is 20th all-time, and his 6,726 total career assists are No. 23 all-time.
He shot down the idea that Michael Jordan ended his NBA career
Charlotte didn’t have many great seasons in the years that Bogues played there. During his nine full seasons with the team, the Hornets only made the playoffs three times.
This included the 1994-95 season when the Hornets went 50-32 and faced Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in the first round. The Bulls ultimately won that series 3-1, but the outcome is not what people remember. One of the most popular Michael Jordan legends came out of that NBA playoff win for the Bulls.
According to Bleacher Report, former Bulls assistant coach Johnny Bach claimed that during a game in that series, Bogues had the ball with the Hornets trailing by one point. Jordan then backed off Bogues and reportedly told him to, “shoot it.” He then followed that with a derogatory term for people with short stature. Bogues ended up shooting it but reportedly wasn’t even close. One year later, Bogues then allegedly told Bach that he believed the play ruined his career.
For years, some people have actually thought that Michael Jordan’s trash talk, indeed, ended Muggsy Bogues’ NBA career. Bogues, though, recently slammed that idea.
“That supposedly had an effect on the rest of my career? That’s one of the craziest, asinine stories that you can hear,” Bogues said on his 3 League OGs podcast. “Think about all the stuff that I’ve been hearing all my life. And here it is, I’m what, 10 years in my career already? And somebody says something, and it’s going to affect my career? That don’t make no sense.”
He continued: “What really happened was that my knee; they looked at some of my numbers after the series, and I started having surgery on my knee, and I had to stop playing. And when I missed a year, and then I came back, my numbers had went down. I guess they felt my role had changed. I started coming off the bench for certain teams. … So, they try to combine them and make it seem like, well, that had some effect on my career.”
So, according to Bogues, it was knee problems that ultimately ended his career, not Michael Jordan.
Either way, Bogues was sadly not the same player after that 1994-95 season.
Muggsy Bogues’ numbers declined after that season
Realistically, it would be foolish to believe that Michael Jordan’s trash talk actually ended Muggsy Bogues’ NBA career. Bogues, though, really did see his production decline after that series.
He only played in six games during the next season in 1995-96 before only averaging eight points and 7.2 assists in 1996-97. Bogues then failed to average over six points and 5.4 assists in three seasons with the Hornets, Warriors, and Raptors from 1997-98 through 1999-2000. He then only played in three games with Toronto during the 2000-01 season.
So, while these numbers can certainly back up the claim that Michael Jordan actually ended Muggsy Bogues’ NBA career, it appears that the timing was just a coincidence.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference