The power of belief is a myth that individuals use as a motivational tool. The belief creates a vision, and it ignites a person’s strength of will. It also activates a high level of resiliency and provides a significant boost of confidence. When a basketball player’s height measures under the six foot mark, the probability of that player making it to the NBA ranges from slim to none. In order for this person to have a minimal chance to make it to the league, he must be an advocate in regards to the power of belief. In addition to self-belief, this particular basketball prospect must also possess phenomenal athletic skills, and retain tons of confidence.
Standing at 5 foot 3 inches tall, Tyrone “Muggsy” Bogues made himself an exception to the height rule. After a stellar high school career, Bogues transitioned to the collegiate level. He set multiple team and conference records for assists and steals. A few of his records are still currently active. On June 22, 1987, the dream of going pro became a reality when the Washington Bullets used their first round pick to draft the undersized point guard. Born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, Tyrone Bogues received his first basketball as a gift when he was 3-years-old. By the age of seven Bogues would routinely hang out at the basketball court, but due to his lack of size, he rarely got picked to play. Bogues was normally selected to be the recipient of cruel short jokes and harsh criticism. When Bogues didn’t get picked to play, he would turn milk crates into basketball goals. He cut the bottom out of the milk crates, tied them to the fence, and started his own game.
One day when a kid had to leave and go home, Bogues was given the opportunity to replace him and play on the main court. He took full advantage of the opportunity by playing outstanding pressure defense. Every time his opponent tried to dribble, Bogues stole the ball. The other kids stated how Tyrone was mugging his opponent. This is what led to Bogues inheriting the nickname Muggsy. Throughout his adolescent years, Bogues was doubted by his peers. Muggsy used the doubt as motivation. With the combination of self-belief, discipline, hard work, and determination, Muggsy developed a well-rounded basketball skill set. He could play intense defense, score points, and set his teammates up to score. Muggsy used the games at the recreation center as a platform to showcase his basketball skills.
When he reached the high school level, Bogues was looking forward to attending Paul Laurence Dunbar. Despite the fact that Bogues practically lived across the street from Dunbar, he was forced to attend his zone school. Muggsy had no choice but to attend Southern High School until his mother was able to get him transferred. Bogues got what he wanted as he transferred to Dunbar, and went on to have an historic prep basketball career. His team was undefeated during Muggsy’s junior and senior year. In a two year span the Dunbar Poets went 60-0, and won back-to-back championships. All fifteen players on the team earned Division I basketball scholarships, and four members of the team were drafted to play in the NBA. In addition to Muggsy, David Wingate, Reggie Williams, and Reggie Lewis all made it to the league.
When it was time for Muggsy to go to college, he wanted to play for a school in the Atlantic Coast Conference because at the time, the ACC had the toughest competition. Bogues decided to attend Wake Forest University. In 1984 Muggsy had his best run with Wake Forest as they advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament. His leadership, court vision, and tenacious defense caught the attention of multiple NBA scouts. Many predicted Muggsy would get drafted in the 2nd round. During a pre-draft camp in Chicago, Muggsy teamed up with Scottie Pippen as they both succeeded in regards to impressing NBA coaches. Muggsy’s draft stock improved, and on draft night he was the twelfth overall player selected. After spending one year with the Washington Bullets, Muggsy was selected to join a new expansion team, the Charlotte Hornets. Bogues flourished in Charlotte as he ran the point for an up-tempo style offense. He would often sprint down the court and set up his teammates.
He would dish out assists to Larry Johnson, Alonzo Mourning and Dell Curry. Muggsy was a high energy player who used his lack of height to his advantage. By playing low to the ground, Bogues was able to get a lot of steals. On defense he guarded players such as John Stockton, Gary Payton and Michael Jordan. He was a defensive pest who was fast, quick and he also had a high basketball IQ. Muggsy Bogues beat the odds by making it to the NBA and sustaining a 14-year-career. He chronicles his journey in his new book “MUGGSY: My Life from a Kid in the Projects to the Godfather of Small Ball.” In the book Muggsy talks about growing up in Baltimore, family life, friendships, overcoming the odds and his career in the NBA.
The book is 239 pages of encouragement and inspiration. It also includes a forward by Golden State Warriors guard Steph Curry, the son of Muggsy’s former teammate Dell Curry. Tyrone “Muggsy” Bogues is a true inspiration. To this day he’s still the shortest player to ever make it to the NBA. He beat the odds, proved all of his doubters wrong, and showed the world that anything is possible. His new book “MUGGSY: My Life from a Kid in the Projects to the Godfather of Small Ball,” is now available on Amazon.