‘It changed kids’ perspectives’: Muggsy Bogues, the 5-foot-3-inch star who broke NBA standards | NBA

TThe NBA season ended just last week, but teams are already looking to the future. On Thursday night, college stars like Auburn’s Jabari Smith Jr. and international prospects like French phenom Ousmane Deng will eagerly await NBA Commissioner Adam Silver to call their names and, in the meantime, change their lives forever. It’s a ritual as old as the NBA itself – the first draft was held 75 years ago, before the second season of the NBA.

This year marks the 35th anniversary of one of the most striking picks in the long history of the NBA draft. In 1987, the Washington Bullets selected Muggsy Bogues – 5 feet 3 inches tall – with the 12th overall pick.

Bulletproof fans had reason to be skeptical about their team selection. Bogues remains the shortest NBA player ever, a fact that has made many scouts doubt Bogues’ ability to survive, let alone thrive, in the league. For context, the average height of an NBA player when Bogues was drafted was 6 feet 7 inches. At 5 feet 9 inches, Isaiah Thomas, the shortest player in the NBA last season, towers six inches above Boggs.

Any concerns about the Bogues soon dissipated. He continued to play in the league for 14 years, most notably for 10 seasons with the Charlotte Hornets. And the bill never fails to bring back memories of the moment when his name was called.

“Every year it brings back those feelings again,” Bogos told The Guardian. “Enlistment night was a very special moment for me, my family and Timor [Bogues’ hometown] …everything went numb when I heard my name…the weight of the world was lifted off my shoulders.”

Because of his unlikely trip to the league, Bogues has long been a fan favorite. He has been a fixture during his career, but was not chosen by all-stars. However, his charisma – and success against all expectations – helped him become one of the most marketable faces of the NBA of the 1990s.

“30 . people [years of age] Over and over again, they might have seen my basketball,” Boggs says, “but kids are 30 and up… It’s Space Jam. He has also appeared on TV shows like Saturday Night Live and Curb Your Enthusiasm, was referenced in a song on the influential Midnight Marauders album from A Tribe Called Quest, and starred in an unforgettable Sprite commercial.

“You can’t tell the basketball story without talking about Muggsy Bogues,” says Jacob Uitti, who co-wrote the Bogues’ recent memoir, Muggsy: My Life from a Kid in the Projects to the Godfather of Small Ball. “It’s one of one.”

Muggsy Bogues: “Enlistment night was a very special moment for me, my family, and Timor.” Photo: Focus on Sports/Getty Images

However, Bugis’ triumphant saga can sometimes overshadow his extraordinary ability on the court. That’s a shame, because aspects of the Bogues game are unique. To put it bluntly, the Bogues have the safest hands to control basketball in the NBA.

It’s a big claim, but the evidence supports it. A statistic called the Assist/Turnover (Ast/T) ratio places a player’s passing ability in the context of their tendency to make turns. It’s an imperfect statistic, but it does give a sense of the player’s ability to organize the ball. The Ast/T ratio of 2.5, for example, describes a player who averages two and a half assists for each turn he makes.

Bogues’ career ast/T ratio is 4.69, the highest among the NBA’s top 100 captains in career assist. The only other player in the top 100 with an Ast/T above 4.0 is Point God Chris Paul. In fact, Bogues still tops the Ast/T rankings even if the list is expanded to include the top 200 players in career assists. Or top 300. Or 400. Bogues is proud of his record. “I’m proud of sponsoring basketball, making sure we get more chances to score,” he says. “As a goalkeeper, it is your responsibility to look after the basketball.”

Until last season, Bogues also held the NBA record for most games with at least 10 assists and no turns. This statistic lacks a moniker like “triple-double” or “maddux”. Perhaps, given the Bogues’ dominance in this category for decades, performing 10 passes, zero spins, should be called a “muggsy”.

Statistics never tell the full story, of course – Michael Jordan’s scoring titles don’t in themselves express the aesthetic excellence of the ‘shot’. Fortunately, Bogues’ career is filled with moments that testify to his ability. Speaking of Jordan, one of Bogues’ signature plays was a defensive stand against His Airness himself during the 1995 playoffs. The play ended unexpectedly with a baffling “unlawful defense” call, but Bogues stole the ball from Jordan before the whistle was blown. The sequence of events and the “cleanliness” of the Bogues bar has become a frequent topic of discussion among NBA fans. For Bogues, there is no arguing. “she was sure Clean bar,” he says.[Jordan] He was talking about a bit of trash, saying he’d back away from me, so I asked him to bring it in.”

However, it does not appear that Bogues’ favorite aspect of his career is not his statistical superiority or his outstanding defense against the Dream Team alumni. Instead, he is particularly fond of the impact it has had on younger generations. “This is the coolest thing,” he says, “changing children’s perspectives.”

Among these children, Stephen Curry was the MVP of the NBA Finals. “When you’re a kid, you’re like, ‘Okay, 5ft 3in. How long until I’m 5ft 3in and then maybe I can play in the NBA?'” Curry wrote in the introduction to Bogues’ memoir. Such is the continuing impact of Bogues’ career on younger players – it has given them not only a role model, but an opportunity to dream.

When discussing this year’s draft, Bugis was surprised to learn that the University of Tennessee’s outstanding Kennedy Chandler is the shortest player expected to be selected in the first round. Chandler only stands under 6 feet tall.

“Oh my God, we have to change that,” Boggs says. “We have to get 5 feet 2 inches [player] to come along.”

Bogues has no qualms about giving up his record as the shortest player in NBA history.

“That’s what it was recorded for…I can’t wait, I’ll be thrilled when that happens,” he says with a laugh. “I hope it’s in my lifetime.”

When the time comes, this player will have some giant shoes to fill.

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