Growing up, if there was one basketball player that wasn’t a Laker that I admired, it was Spud Webb. If there were two, it was Spud Webb and Muggsy Bogues.
As someone who wasn’t cut from his freshman team in high school because all I did was hustle despite the fact that I hadn’t really developed any basketball skills, guys like Webb and Bogues were inspirational.
Here was a guy who was no taller than my mother – Bogues is the smallest player in NBA history at just 5-foot-3 – yet was drafted 12th overall. The fact that he was part of the popular Charlotte Hornets (think Starter jackets and NBA Jam) with Larry “Grand Ma Ma” Johnson meant that people liked him even more.
Bogues, though, played for 14 years in the Association. Think about that in terms of a child: From birth through freshman year of high school, Bogues was playing in the NBA.
Sure, he’s only remembered for his height but he scored almost 7,000 points and had nearly that many assists. If there was ever a person who could inspire just by being on TV, it was Muggsy Bogues. He didn’t need any Tony Robbins speeches, or “The More You Know” videos. Just seeing him on the court, weaving in between the 6-foot-9 players was amazing.
Plus, he even blocked a shot by Patrick Ewing once.
And, he had one of the best names in sports. Although Muggsy is not his real name, no one knows him as Tyrone Bogues. Like Magic, Muggsy is just his name. Not Earvin. Not Tyrone.
While most weekend warriors try to envision themselves as Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant – think of the hilarious Along Came Polly scene where Philip Seymour Hoffman yells “White Chocolate!” – I think that Muggsy Bogues inspired more people to take up hoops than any other professional player.
“Hey!” you’d say while looking at the TV, “If that midget can play in the NBA, then I definitely can play a little ball.”
Muggsy Bogues, plain and simple, showed people that adage – if you put your mind to something, you can succeed.
Plus, he made the hilarious crossover to Curb Your Enthusiasm when we realized that Muggsy wasn’t small in every area.