Bogues, Tyrone "Muggsy"

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Tyrone "Muggsy" Bogues


American basketball player

Finding his niche and filling it remarkably well is what made point guard Tyrone "Muggsy" Bogues a dominant player in the National Basketball Association (NBA). A superior athlete, he left his mark in the NBA, ranking among the top 20 players in career assists. He was easily recognizable on the court because he stood more than two feet shorter than other players. Because his hands were too small to palm a basketball he could never dunk the ball, but he was able to jump more than 44 inches into the air. During his career he was also known for his spirit and showmanship, traits that contributed to his ultimate success. Largely because of his outstanding leadership qualities he became one of finest point guards to play the game. "The ball's on the floor more than it's in the air. And down there is Muggsyland. That's where I rule. Put the ball on the floor, and you gotta watch out for the little fella," he wrote in his autobiography.

City Kid

Born Tyrone Curtis on January 9, 1965, in Baltimore, Maryland, Bogues was the youngest child of Richard and Elaine Bogues. He grew up along with his two brothers and one sister in the Lafayette public housing project on the city's east side. There he earned his nickname Muggsy from his neighborhood playmates.

Bogues's father was a stevedore, but scarcity of work left him with little choice but to supplement the family income with ill-gotten gains. When Bogues was 12 years old, his father was arrested, convicted, and sentenced to 20 years in federal prison for strong armed robbery. It was a difficult burden for the Bogues family, as was dodging bullets in the inner city ghetto. On one unlucky day Bogues, mistaken for a vandal, caught some buckshot in his arms and legs.

By age nine, Bogues began to frequent Lafayette Courts Community Recreational Center where he became totally absorbed with basketball. As he entered his teens he was noticeably smaller than most boys his age, but with encouragement from neighborhood coaches he learned the fine points of the game. He joined a city league team and at age 13 he was named most valuable player (MVP) in a tournament

After junior high school, Bogues enrolled at Southern High School for one year, then transferred to Dunbar High School where for the next two yearswearing jersey number 14he played on an undefeated team. In his first year there he was named MVP of the Baltimore City Public Schools Tournament as Dunbar took its sixth consecutive championship.

College Recruit

By senior year of high school, few college coaches were anxious to take on a five-foot-three basketball player. Bogues nonetheless was being recruited by both Georgetown and Wake Forest. He accepted an offer to play with the Wake Forest Demon Deacons.

Bogues survived a turbulent freshman year after a difficult start in the affluent environment at Wake Forest. He accumulated playing time very slowly until his junior year, when a new head coach, Bob Staak, took over the Deacons. With better player-coach chemistry Bogues excelled under Coach Staak's guidance. He averaged 11.6 points for 22 games that year, led the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) in steals, and ranked among the top ten players nationwide for assists. He set a conference record of 17 assists in a single game, while averaging 8.4 overall. His rebounding that season ranked among the top three point guards in the ACC.

Bogues was named to the U.S. National Team in 1986, and after playing in exhibition games throughout Europe, the team went to the world championships in Malaga, Spain. With Bogues at point guard, the United States won the world title for the first time in more than 30 years.

In January of 1987, as a senior at Wake Forest, Bogues set an all-school assist record of 579. Just weeks later, in an emotional ceremony at the final home game of his career, the school retired his jersey, Number 14. He was named to the all-ACC team that year and left a conference record of 781 career assists. He led the league in steals and minutes played, and led his team in scoring. In all he left seven school records at Wake Forest.

College Draft

With the 1986-87 college season drawing to a close, Bogues joined the ACC senior tour. He played with the U.S. Basketball League and, as anticipated, was picked in the first round of the NBA draft. Also picked were two of his Dunbar teammates: Reggie Williams and Reggie Lewis. Bogues went to the Washington Bullets on the twelfth pick, signing for $1 million over four years.

With his career on track, Bogues bought a Mercedes. He bought a house for his mother, then hired a lawyer to extricate his father from prison.

Expansion Draft

As a rookie, Bogues started in the Bullets' first pre-season game, but the season fizzled with time. The Bullets allowed Bogues to be drafted in 1988, when expansion brought the Hornets of Charlotte, North Carolina, and the Miami Heat into the NBA. He went to Charlotte in the third round of the expansion draft.

After a losing season in Charlotte, the Hornets nonetheless led the league in attendance, drawing near-capacity crowds for home games. In January, 1990, Gene Littles replaced Dick Harter as coach, and Allen Bristow assumed the post of general manager. Unlike Harter, Littles and Bristow accepted Bogues without hesitation, "I love guys who can press, who can make things happen," said Bristow in praise of Bogues.

Career Statistics

CHA: Charlotte Hornets; GSW: Golden State Warriors; TOR: Toronto Raptors; WAS: Washington Bullets.

By the mid 1990s Bogues had achieved average points per game in the doubles range, with a season total of 862 for the 1994-95 season, his highest on record. His assist-per-turnover ratio of 4.34 for the 1996-97 regular season ranked highest in the league. He was traded to the Golden State Warriors on November 7, 1997 and played a total of 71 games for that team over two seasons before going to the Toronto Raptors for the 1999-2000 season. After taking the Raptors to their first playoff series ever in 2000, Bogues was traded to the New York Knicks on February 22, 2001.

Due to chronic injuries, Bogues never played for the Knicks. He retired from professional play ranking at number 16 among all-time assist leaders in the NBA. Bogues was recognized for his speed and agility on many occasions, yet because of his lack of height he remained one of the most underrated players of his era.

Other Points of Interest

Early year in his career with the Charlotte Hornets, Bogues married his college sweetheart, Kimberly (Lee) Bogues, The couple has two daughters, including Bogues's daughter from a high-school relationship. Their son, Tyrone Jr., was born on March 30, 1991.

Of greater importance than his career statistics is the legacy of hope that he left with the league, and which he continues to spread through the charitable programs that he founded. In his retirement he is chairman of both Bogues Enterprises and of the Always Believe Foundation.


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1965Born on January 9 in East Baltimore, Maryland, to Richard and Elaine Bogues
1974First plays basketball with a hometown rec league
1981-83Wins back-to-back championships playing with the Dunbar High School Poets
1983-87Attends Wake Forest University on a basketball scholarship
1986Plays with the U.S. National Team at the World Games in Barcelona, Spain
1987Goes to the Washington Bullets as the number 12 pick in the first round of the NBA draft
1988Goes to the Charlotte Hornets in an expansion draft
1999Goes to the Toronto Raptors in a trade and helps bring that organization to the playoffs for the first time in the history of the team
2000Is traded to the New York Nicks and retires

Awards and Accomplishments

1987Arnold Palmer Award from Wake Forest; Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award from Basketball Hall of Fame; team leader in scoring; left seven school records at Wake Forest; jersey number retired; all-ACC; set league record with 781 assists, league leader in steals and minutes played for each of three years
1989-90Player of the Year, Charlotte Hornets
1995Jim Thorpe Award for Special Inspiration


Bogues, Tyrone "Muggsy," In the Land of Giants: My Life in Basketball, Boston, MA: Little, Brown & Co., 1994.



Bogues, Tyrone "Muggsy," In the Land of Giants: My Life in Basketball, Little, Brown & Co., 1994.


Jet, July 31, 1995, p. 48.


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"Reggie Lewis' Life," (December 16, 2002).

Sketch by G. Cooksey