At only 5-foot-3, Tyrone Bogues is the shortest player in NBA history. He’s better known as Muggsy Bogues. Hornets fans loved the popular point guard during the nine years he played in Charlotte. With speed and great agility, Bogues used his smaller size to great advantage. Bogues executed exciting plays by swiping the ball from his opponents.
Who is Muggsey Bogues? What did this unique basketball player accomplish in his career?
Muggsy Bogues’ humble beginnings
Bogues, according to WBUR News, grew up housing projects in Baltimore. He had a dream of playing basketball one day but his short stature caused others to dismiss him. He earned the name “Muggsy” because of his energetic, aggressive style of play.
It was discouraging for “Little Ty” when team captains made selections for their teams but left him out. Bogues was told he wasn’t the right size for basketball. Perhaps he should pursue other interests. Despite it all, he didn’t give up.
When Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem offered him a four-year scholarship, Bogues quickly accepted. A number of NBA players have come from Wake so Bogues was optimistic saying it “changed my life completely.”
The chance Wake gave him didn’t cause critics to ease up on him though. While he had an impressive run in college, Bogues had no idea what to expect in the 1987 NBA draft.
At 22 years old, Bogues was 5-foot-3 and 140 pounds. He became the shortest player in the history of the league when he was selected by the Washington Bullets. He still holds that record.
A ’90s NBA icon
The Charlotte Hornets acquired Bogues from the Bullets in the Expansion Draft of 1988 with the sixth overall pick. In the Hornets debut year, Bogues mostly played off the bench. The next year, however, he showed what he was capable of. He averaged 9.4 points, 10.7 assists (a franchise record), and two steals in 81 games. He started 65 of those games.
And Bogues was undeniably popular in the NBA over his career. He had a guest appearance on Saturday Night Live and roles in the movies Space Jam and Eddie. During his nine years in Charlotte, Bogues was a key player on three Hornet playoff teams. He was named fifth in the Hornets’ 30th-anniversary team in 2018 , according to NBA.com He remains one of the most recognizable faces in franchise history.
Bogues was traded in 1998 along with Tony Delk to the Golden State Warriors where he played two seasons. He then signed with the Toronto Raptors in 1999 where he played until a knee injury forced him to retire in 2001 reports ESPN.
Bogues played 632 regular-season games in Charlotte. He averaged 8.8 points with a 46.6% shooting average. He averaged 2.9 rebounds, 8.8 assists, and 1.7 steals. When it comes to franchise leaderboards, he still leads for assists (5,557), minutes played (19.768), and steals (1,067). Bogues is sixth in points for the franchise with 5,531.
A double-double for the shortest player in NBA history
In 1994, Muggsy Bogues was the first player in Charlotte Hornet franchise history to averages a points-assist double-double (10.8 points and 10.1 assists over 77 games) for an entire season in the NBA. So far he’s the only player to achieve this.
Rex Chapman played with Bogues from 1988 to1992. He says playing with Bogues amazed him. When Chapman left Charlotte, he went on to play alongside Kevin Johnson, Jason Kidd, Steve Nash, and Scott Skiles. He claims none of those talented players outperformed Bogues. Chapman maintained that while Bogues was small, he was the “fastest man in the world end to end and faster with the ball” according to NBA.com.
Earl Cureton who also played with Bogues explained that he had a chance to play with Julius Erving, Michael Jordan, Moses Malone, Isaiah Thomas, and others. He said he tells kids each day that he can’t wait for Bogues to get his call to the NBA Hall of Fame. Cureton says there’s never been anyone like Bogues.
Bogues lives in Charlotte today and works closely with Junior NBA basketball camps, youth basketball clinics, and related events and organizations.