Smallest ex-NBA player: No one believed I was to accomplish things I did

muggsy-boguesThroughout his childhood, people told Tyrone “Muggsy” Bogues that he was too small to play basketball. At 5 feet 3 inches tall and weighing 136 pounds, conventional wisdom would say that they were right.

“No one believed I was going to accomplish the things I did,” Bogues told a packed room at Davidson County Community College Wednesday.

He was taking part in the Campus Speaker Series to encourage students to pursue their education and accomplish their dreams, even when others tell them they can’t.

Bogues was born and grew up in the inner city of Baltimore. He fell in love with basketball around the age of 3 when he got his first ball. At 7, he began to learn the basics of ballhandling.

“I was a small kid that wanted to play a game everyone else was playing,” he said.

But everyone else was telling him; ‘Little Ty, what are you doing? You’re too small.”

Bogues’ mother and sister encouraged him to ignore the naysayers and pursue his dream. He said he was inspired by his sister, Sherron, who at 5-foot-1 played basketball herself.

For April Horton, a student at DCCC, Bogues is an inspiration. Horton told him during a question-and-answer period that her mother took her to a Charlotte Hornets game when she was a little girl. Horton said that her mother wanted her to play basketball, but Horton thought she was too small.

“I had a poster of you on my wall,” Horton said.

Seeing Bogues play helped her to realize that she, too, could play basketball.

“Playing basketball gave me something to focus on,” Horton said.

Bogues told about 250 students and staff members that they should strive to understand themselves and to give themselves a chance to believe and dream.

“See where you want to be,” he said.

Bogues made his dream start coming true in high school. He played at Dunbar High School on one of the country’s best teams.

The team went 59-0 and four members made it to the NBA. One of them was Bogues. But before he played professional ball, he played guard at Wake Forest University from 1983 to 1987.

He said that he understood it was difficult for colleges to give a basketball scholarship to a small player. But he is glad that Wake Forest took a chance on him.

“Wake Forest will always be a special place to me,” Bogues said.

He retired from the NBA in 2001, after 14 years in the league, and is the head basketball at United Faith Christian Academy in Charlotte.

“I enjoy working with the young men,” he said. “I want to make a difference.

Bogues is mostly remembered for the years he spent with the Charlotte Hornets. He averaged a double double during the 1993-94 NBA season with 10.8 ppg and 10.1 apg. The next season he was averaging career high 11.1 ppg.

Bogues appeared in total 889 NBA games (556 started), averaging 7.7 ppg, 7.6 apg and 2.6 rpg in 28.6 minutes on the court.

/Winston-Salem Journal/


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