“I Changed Children’s Perspectives”: Muggsy Bogues, a 5-foot, 3-inch star who violated NBA standards

TThe NBA season only ended last week, but the teams are already looking to the future. On Thursday night, university stars like Auburn’s Jabari Smith Jr. and international prospects like Ousmane Dieng from France are waiting with excitement for NBA commissioner Adam Silver to change their names and change their lives forever. It’s almost as old a ritual as the NBA itself – the first draft was held 75 years ago, before the second season of the NBA.

And this year marks the 35th anniversary of one of the most striking choices in the long history of the NBA draft. In 1987, the Washington Bullets chose the Muggsy Boges – all 5 feet 3 inches – with the 12th overall selection.

The fans of Bulletsi had reason to doubt their ability to play the team. The Bogues are still the shortest NBA player ever, casting doubt on many of the Scouts’ ability to survive in the league, let alone succeed. For the context, the average length of an NBA player during the Boges draft was 6 feet 7 inches. Isaiah Thomas, 5 feet 9 inches tall, the shortest player in the NBA last season, rises six inches above the Bogues.

All fears about Boges soon dissipated. He played in the league for 14 years, the most important of which was 10 seasons with Charlotte Hornets. And the draft never remembers the moment his name was called.

“Every year brings those feelings back,” Bogues tells the Guardian. “It was a very special moment for me, my family and Baltimore [Bogues’ hometown] … Everything became numb when I heard my name … the weight of the world was lifted from my shoulders.

Due to his unlikely journey to the league, the Bogues have always been a fan favorite. He was a regular beginner during his career, but was never called a star. But his charisma – and his success in resilience – helped him become one of the NBA’s more marketable faces in the 1990s.

“People 30 [years of age] and yet, they could see my basketball, ”says Bogues,“ but the 30-year-olds are Space Jam. ” He has also appeared on TV shows such as Saturday Night Live and Curb Your Enthusiasm, was featured in the song Midnight Marauders on the influential album A Tribe Called Quest, and starred in a memorable Sprite commercial.

“You can’t tell a basketball story without talking about Muggsy Bogogues,” says Jacob Uitti, co-author of Boges’ recent memoir “From Muggsy: My Life in Child Projects to Little Ball Godfather.” “He’s one of them.”

Muggsy Bogues:
Muggsy Bogues: “It was a very special moment for me, my family and Baltimore.” Photo: Focus On Sport / Getty Images

However, Boges’ victorious story can sometimes overshadow his extraordinary ability on the field. This is a pity because the aspects of the Boges game are unique. Honestly, the Bogues have the strongest hands ever to run NBA basketball.

This is a big claim, but the evidence supports it. The statistics, called the ratio of assistants and ball losses (Ast / T), take into account a player’s ability to make ball losses. These are imperfect statistics, but give an idea of ​​the player’s ability to control the ball. For example, an Ast / T ratio of 2.5 describes a player who gives an average of two and a half assists per loss.

The Astes ratio for the Boges career is 4.69, the highest among the top 100 most successful leaders in the NBA. The only second player in the top 100 with an Ast / T above 4.0 is Chris Paul. In fact, the Bogues are still at the top of the Ast / T rankings, even if the list is expanded to include the top 200 players with career feeds. Or the top 300. Or the 400. The bogues are proud of their record. “I’m proud to take care of basketball so we have more chances to score goals,” he says. “As a point defender, it’s your job to take care of basketball.”

Until last season, the Bogues also had the NBA record for most games with at least 10 assists and zero losses. These statistics don’t have a nickname like “triple-double” or “maddux”. Perhaps, given Bogues’ decades of dominance in this category, 10 resultant feeds and zero-pass performance should be called “comfortable.”.

Of course, statistics never tell the whole story – Michael Jordan’s headlines do not in themselves convey the aesthetic excellence of The Shot. Fortunately, Boges’ career is full of moments that testify to his ability. Speaking of Jordan, one of Bogues’s hallmarks during the 1995 playoffs was his defense against His Airness itself. The game ended with an anti-climatically mixed “illegal defense” speech, but Bogues stole the ball from Jordan just before the whistle sounded. The “purity” of the sequence of events and the Boges strip has become a frequent topic of discussion among NBA fans. There is no argument for Bogues. “It was for sure clean strip, ”he says. “[Jordan] said a little nonsense, saying he was going to reject me, so I told him to bring it.

However, Bogues’ favorite aspect in his own career does not seem to be his statistical excellence, nor is the defensive game against Alumni alumni worth highlighting. Rather, he particularly enjoys the influence he has had on the younger generations. “It’s the coolest thing,” he says, “changing children’s perspectives.”

Among these children was the reigning NBA Finals MVP Stephen Curry. “If you’re a kid, you say, ‘All right, 5 feet 3 inches.’ writes in the introduction to Curry Boges ‘s memoirs, which is the long – term impact of Boges’ career on smaller players – it not only gave them an example but also a chance to dream.

Discussing this year’s draft, Bogues is surprised to learn that the University of Tennessee’s prominent Kennedy Chandler is expected to be the shortest player to be selected in the first round. The chandler is only 6 feet behind.

“Lord, we need to change that,” says Bogues. “We have to get it 5 feet 2 inches [player] come along. “

The Bogues are not afraid to break the record for the shortest player in NBA history.

“Records are being made for that … I can’t wait, I’ll be happy when that happens,” he says with a laugh. “I hope it’s in my lifetime.”

When the time comes, this player has to fill giant shoes.

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