“God only lets things grow until they’re perfect… Some of us didn’t take as long as others…”
Tyrone Curtis “Muggsy” Bogues, better known as Muggsy Bogues, was born on January 9, 1965, in Baltimore, Maryland. He is 5 feet 3 inches tall and holds the record of the Shortest player ever to play in the NBA. At the age of 22 years, he was drafted in by the Washington Bullets in 1987 where he played for one season and then was traded to Charlotte Hornets where he played for ten years out of his 14-year NBA career.
Bouges always said that it was no surprise when he stopped growing as he comes from a family of “5 Footers”.
”I always tell people, I think my mom had me when I was 5 feet, 3 inches” — I don’t remember ever growing.
Growing up in Baltimore’s Lafayette projects, Bouges loved the game of basketball, but due to his height, he had to prove himself as the others didn’t take him seriously on the court, thinking that he was too short to play the game. He was always left out when captains chose their players for the respective teams.
“The game is being played and we got to sit over there and watch. You get tired of just watching.”
So one day he and his friends got some empty milk crates and cut their bottoms to make baskets. They tied the crates on each of the fences and created their own milk crate basketball pickup game.
He was an aggressive player even back then. According to him, he had to play that way as he was small. And that’s when the other kids started noticing him. All of a sudden, he started to get a little reputation in the neighbourhood.
He played for Dunbar High School and was a star player of the team. They were the no. 1 team of that time. But people were still in disbelief and started to say that its just high school and college basketball is not the same.
But Wake Forest University, who has given us several NBA players, did not take it the same way and offered him a four-year basketball scholarship. They were criticised for it, and even the commentators would openly criticize him during the games.
One day they had a chance to play in a nationally televised game against the NC State University. This was the chance that Bogues needed to shut down the haters. Bouges did not waste this opportunity, and according to him, it was one of the best performances. He scored 20 points with ten assists. From that moment, he never saw back and had a real shot at the NBA.
On the 1987 NBA Draft night, Bouges was among the New York crowd with hopes in his eyes for his dream to come true. The wait was finally over as NBA Commissioner Davis Stern announced his selection from the podium.
“It felt like the whole world was lifted off your shoulders. It felt like I have arrived.”
History was made that day and still is a record. The 22 years old, standing at 5 feet 3 inches, 140 pounds, Tyrone “Muggsy” Bouges was the shortest player to make it to the NBA.
His draft class included players like Scottie Pippen, Reggie Miller, Kevin Johnson, etc. He was teammates with Maunte Boi who was the tallest player of that time at 7 feet 7 inches. They appeared on the covers of three magazines.
After one season with Washington Bullets, Tyrone moved to Charlotte, settled there and played for 10 straight for the Hornets. He was an exceptional passer, a great stealer and one of the fastest players on the court. Muggsy then played for Warriors for two years and Raptors for one year.
He ended his career with 6858 Points (707 ppg), 6726 Assists (7.6 apg) and 1369 Steals(1.5 spg). He had best assist to turnover ration which speaks for his greatness in the game.
After his time in the NBA, he coached WNBA team, Charlotte Stings for two years and then the United Faith Christian Academy for three years. He was named the Ambassador for Charlotte Hornets in 2014. He also has written his autobiography In the Land of Giants.
Size does not matter, but the heart does!