Story of the Week
I’m about 5’10" tall, and I weigh approximately 185 pounds. I had the pleasure of meeting "Magic" Johnson at a B’nai B’rith function three years ago; at 6’9" tall, "Magic" was imposing. Johnson was a guard in the NBA, a guard at 6’9". I remember telling "Magic" that I’ll play one-on-one with him anytime he wants, but that I’ll need a couple of moving boxes to stand on. He laughingly responded with "that won’t help you."
Can you imagine being a proverbial ‘shrimp’ as a player in the NBA, and being a solid performer in the process? Granted, most guards in the NBA don’t approach "Magic" Johnson’s height, but they are taller than the ‘shrimps’ I’m writing about here. Now take all of these basketball midgets, line ‘em all up, and then take the absolute shortest one who ever played in the league. There have been lots of little men in the NBA, but the shortest ever to play in the league is the subject of this week’s story. I have nothing but great admiration for Muggsy Bogues.
Muggsy Bogues played in the NBA league of giants at a height of 5’3", and a weight of 141 pounds soaking wet. Tyrone, his given name, graduated Wake Forest in 1987, and was a standout there, enough to have his number retired by that university. He won the Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award as the nation’s top college player under six feet tall.
Bogues was chosen by the Washington Bullets with the 12th. overall pick in the 1987 NBA draft. He played in the NBA for 14 seasons. He had some very memorable moments in his David-versus-Goliath career, most of which were as a member of the Charlotte Hornets.
The little guy, first of all and as you might expect, or he would have never made it to this level, was lightning fast and a great leaper. Bogues could dunk a basketball. In 1999-2000, he led the NBA in the ratio of assists-to-turnovers at 5.07. He notched his 6,000th. career point, 6,000th. assist, 2,000th. rebound, and 1,200th. steal all during the 1997-1998 season. He ranks as the Hornets’ all-time franchise leader in assists and steals, and ranks 3rd. in points. He holds the Hornets’ franchise records for most assists in a season, and in a game. He holds Charlotte’s franchise record for most steals in a season, and shares the record for most steals in a game. In 1989-1990, he was named the Hornets’ Player of the Year.
Of all Bogues’ accomplishments, his most impressive stats, based on his rather diminutive size, are his rebounds. Muggsy Bogues, playing against guys 1˝ to 2 feet taller than he, averaged 2.60 rebounds per game over his 889-game career, and once, in a game in 1994 against Detroit, hauled down an amazing 10 boards. Ya gotta love it!
At 5’3" tall, Muggsy Bogues played like a giant among giants, and I greatly admire him for it.
Last Week’s Trivia
What is the record for most home runs hit by a major league team in one inning? On June 2, 1949, the Phillies hit a record five home runs in one inning at old Shibe Park in Philadelphia.
Trivia Question of the Week
What former Chicago Bears wide receiver danced with the Chicago City Ballet? See next week’s Sports Junkie for the answer.