Tyrone “Muggsy” Bogues has gone through a lot to get to where he is today. Standing at 5-foot-3, the Baltimore, Maryland native spent 14 seasons in the NBA, playing in nearly 900 regular season games with the Washington Bullets, Charlotte Hornets, Golden State Warriors and the Toronto Raptors – averaging 7.7 points, 7.6 assists, 2.6 rebounds and 1.5 steals a game throughout that span. Despite the fact that the average height of an NBA player was around 6-foot-7 during the 1987 season, Bogues was selected 12th overall by the Washington Bullets in the 1987 NBA Draft, putting the league’s all-time shortest and tallest players on the same roster as the Bullets already had 7-foot-7 center Manute Bol. Although Bogues only played one season in Washington, the fact that he made it to the NBA proved so many doubters wrong, something he set out to do at a young age.
“All that stuff you pictured as a kid and thought you could do, you were able to do it, even while all these people were doubting you and never believed in you. That’s humbleness and the sign of a person who understood where they wanted to go,” explained Bogues.
“When I was going through it people didn’t realize how tough it was. No one was really looking at little guards at the time and the game was changing from the late 70’s to the early 80’s, but I had to have strong skin and a tough mind because tough times don’t last, tough people do. I never gave up and I always pursued my dreams because I had confidence in myself and I cannot stress that enough, how important it is to just believe in yourself and not being afraid to fail.”
As someone who understands how important it is to have confidence in yourself, Bogues shares his message with today’s youth whenever he gets the chance.
“I always try to tell the kids that they’ve got to believe in themselves. I find so much as I go around that kids second-guess themselves. I tell them that as a kid I would visualize where I wanted to go and every time I would visualize where I wanted to go I would take that next step to try and get there,” said Bogues who sits 17th on the NBA’s all-time career assists list.
“There are some folks that like to be dreamers and ones that do dreams. The dreamers are the ones that say what they want to do, but once you look up they aren’t doing anything in that direction to make that dream a reality. The ones that do dreams are the ones that take that next step to try to get to where they want to go. You might not always get exactly where you visualized, but those steps will set you up for success and on the same path in some form or fashion.”
Muggsy’s work ethic and confidence comes from positive role models. He has a passion for bettering the community and helping others, as well as enlightening our young people; all because of the influential people he had around him when he was growing up.
“My mom set the stage, she always thought about others first. There was also a gentleman by the name of Leon Howard who taught me how to be appreciative of others and not just yourself when I was growing up and when you understand that at an early age, for some reason you just grow up with that type of heart and passion to help others, you know, and a guy like myself, not having a lot of support from others, that made an impact on my life just knowing that someone believed in me,” explained the 6th pick in the 1988 NBA Expansion Draft.
“They didn’t know where I was going to end up but they helped give me that confidence that I could do something positive with my life.”
In 2001, Muggsy’s mother passed away. At the time he was very involved in the community and was helping out whenever he could. He even started his own Foundation with the help from his mother, but found it hard to continue after she passed away.
“It kind of took some of my drive away and I wasn’t as involved as I should have been, but I recently just introduced it to the city of Charlotte, we’re going to do it this summer, we’re going to have a Muggsy Bogues Day and I’m going to get the chance to help kids with their self-esteem and show them how to enrich their character.”
He likes to help boost the kids’ self-esteem and confidence and shares with all of them the things he believes will lead them on to the path for a successful life.
“I explain to the kids that I speak to that they can be whatever they want to be, but first they have to have that solid foundation and believe in the Lord. They also have to believe in themselves because if they don’t have the confidence in themselves they’re going to continue to make negative choices in life and get involved with the bad things like drugs and become easily influenced when it comes to doing the wrong things,” he said.
“If you can give kids confidence at an early age then that is huge because you can help be a positive influence on them. I try to give them that positive message every time I talk to them and tell them that the longer they keep onto that positive message, the longer they will stay on that right path.”
As someone who overcame many adversities to get to where he is today, Bogues envisioned himself playing in the NBA when he was young and set goals to make that dream a reality. Being in the NBA got him into the spotlight and landed him a role in the movie Space Jam, alongside Michael Jordan, Patrick Ewing, Charles Barkley, Shawn Bradley and Larry Johnson – and the Looney Tunes characters, of course.
“Oh man, it was such a blast,” he chuckled. “It was a dream that I never even thought I could accomplish. Something like basketball opened up my life to so many things. Being a kid, dreaming with that round ball, it just got me to so many places I never thought I would go,” he continued.
“Doing the Space Jam movie with characters like Michael Jordan, Patrick Ewing, Bugs Bunny, it’s just an unbelievable feeling and it’s one of those movies that is going to be around even after we’re gone. We had the greatest basketball player in the world participating in it so to be a part of that I was just very thankful and very blessed.”
For more information on what Muggsy Bogues is up to, visit http://www.muggsybogues.com/