Muggsy Bogues talks Michael Jordan, Hornets, Space Jam 2, Reggie Lewis, his book and more

Muggsy Bogues talks Michael Jordan, Hornets, Space Jam 2, Reggie Lewis, his book and more

Interview

Muggsy Bogues talks Michael Jordan, Hornets, Space Jam 2, Reggie Lewis, his book and more

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Tyrone Curtis ‘Muggsy’ Bogues, the shortest player in NBA history at 5-foot-3 (two inches shorter than the next in line, Earl Boykins) sat down with HoopsHype to discuss his book Muggsy: My Life from a Kid in the Projects to the Godfather of Small Ball, the old days with the Charlotte Hornets, the current team he would love to play with, what he thinks about Michael Jordan the owner, and more.

The foreword of your book is written by Alonzo Mourning and Steph Curry. How special was your bond with Alonzo and also Steph when you played with his father Dale?

Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

Muggsy Bogues: Very special. I mean, it was an honor to play alongside those guys. I mean, the wars that we would battle with one another, the bond that was developed during that process was priceless, something that you’ll remember for a lifetime. I was thankful and grateful that the relationship that I have with Alonzo playing with him, on and off the court as well as being in the presence of Stephen’s life growing up, for them to share their thoughts on how I impacted them and what I meant to them during their journey, it meant the world to me.

How would they do it if they traded places? Zo playing in today's game and Steph in the 90s with you

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MB:  Well, a shooter always can shoot. So that probably wouldn’t change on his behalf. I look at Mark Price, what his game was… Stephen would be definitely like a 2.0 version of that. I’m quite sure he would have found his way in our era. And Alonzo he could definitely have been able to play today. With the relentless type of skill set that he possessed, inside out, he would have been a force to be reckoned with.

How did you earn the nickname Muggsy?

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MB:  Well, as a kid, my family gave me the nickname Apple and I was happy with it. But as I started playing the game I was already stealing the ball, mugging folks, and there was an old TV show at the same time when I was seven years old called ‘The Bowery Boys’. The main character was called ‘Muggsy’ and that’s how Muggsy became part of my life. I was comfortable with Apple, and it took a little time to get used to Muggsy. But it worked, it fit well with the basketball process and so forth.

When did you realize that your dream was to become a basketball player and make it to the NBA?

MB: The NBA was the furthest from my dreams and it was just a matter of just trying to climb each ladder, trying to pursue the game. When I got to college is when it really turned on.

Forty-five players from Baltimore made it to the NBA, including the late Reggie Lewis. You were with him on the court the night he collapsed during a playoff game

MB:  I had a very special relationship with him. When you have a childhood friend that was able to accomplish a lot of accolades as a teenager with a dream, a vision and possibly just wanted to change the trajectory of our families… You know, that’s where it all started. Then having the opportunity to make history with each other in 1987, then all three of us getting drafted in the first round [Bogues, Lewis and Reggie Williams], and then having an opportunity to play against him in the playoffs was another highlight. But unfortunately, he wasn’t able to play that series because of this condition. It was a nightmare when we first saw him fall. We didn’t know what was going on. I thought he just tripped on the court but once we became aware of everything… [pause] It became devastating.

Let's talk about your Hornets. How excited are you about this team?

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

MB:  I’m excited about the franchise. I think Mitch Kupchak and Michael Jordan did a great job putting this team together. With players like PJ Washington, LaMelo Ball, Kelly Oubre and so forth. So I’m excited about the future. I know they are a couple more pieces away. Then another year for James Bouknight so he gains more confidence… I think the pieces are looking good. I’m feeling good about what’s going on with the franchise. I’m excited.

How would you grade Michael Jordan as the Hornets owner?

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MB: Oh, no, I don’t give the owner any grades. I mean, they are in it for what it is, MJ is no different from any other owner, just trying to put together a team that can bring a championship here in the city of Charlotte. He’s doing his best. I’m not in the business of rating, I just know where we are today and all the hard work that he’s put into it and the community is really excited. They serve the community very well, not only just locally but regionally and it’s been a great opportunity to be part of the organization.

Which current NBA team would you love to play with?

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

MB: Oh gosh, that’s a good question. I mean, I’d say Golden State since they have a bunch of shooters out there. But I also wouldn’t mind playing with Boston, with those two guys on the wing, with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. But if I had to choose, then the Dubs.

Did you watch Space Jam 2?

Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

MB: Yeah, I think LeBron did a really good job but I always would take Space Jam 1. We had more people involved and I think we saved the planet more so he saved his son in a digital world [laughs].

Who was the better actor, MJ or LeBron?

MB: MJ. He did a good job, doing this thing and working with those Looney Tunes as well as everybody else, so yeah, I’m always going with Space Jam over Space Jame 2.

And who will be the next star in Space Jam 3?

MB: Probably Giannis Antetokounmpo. He’s becoming that guy.

You played with Manute Bol, and he showed glimpses that he could be a solid three-point shooter

Tim de Frisco /Allsport

MB:  Yeah, he knew how to put up the threes. That’s definitely something that he’d be more engaged in today’s era. That was something that he liked to do.

Last season the shortest player was Isaiah Thomas at 5-foot-9'. I think you'll be the shortest NBA player forever

Isaiah Thomas looking to drive the ball

Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

MB:  I’m hoping that would not be the case. I hope there will be another Muggsy Bogues in the NBA someday.

Finally tell us a bit about the book's title and what is all about

MB: It’s more or less my life story, where I come from. People look at small ball today, but this is a different meaning of The Godfather of small ball. Actually, I am the smallest of it all. So, in that regard, that was an appropriate title to use in my journey. That’s kind of how I felt. This was the appropriate title, the challenge of my journey, where I came from the city of Baltimore.

You can buy Muggsy: My Life from a Kid in the Projects to the Godfather of Small Ball at Amazon.com

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