Muggy Bogues: Shortest Player in NBA History|
It is not often that the shortest guy on a basketball court is the biggest on the court. But that is exactly what Tyrone "Muggsy" Bogues was in his stellar NBA career.
The NBA has always been a game centered around tall human beings. Even in today's game where the game is played on the perimeter, the best players are tall. For example Kevin Durant is almost 7-feet tall and Lebron James is 6'9". It is rare for anyone under six feet tall to play in the NBA. Even the WNBA is littered with giants. The Average WNBA player is just under 6-feet tall, and the shortest WNBA player in the 2021 season was Leilani Mitchell at 5 foot 5 inches
Muggsy Bogues on the other hand was short, even by WNBA standards. He was just 5 foot 3 inches, making him the shortest NBA player ever and 2 inches shorter than the shortest WNBA player currently in the WNBA. Debbie Black and Shannon Babbitt are the two shortest WNBA player's in WNBA history at 5'2", or 1 inch shorter than Bogues.
So it is pretty well established that basketball is a game for giants, yet some how Bogues managed to make a 14 year career in the NBA.
Bogues used his size to his advantage. He was able to keep the ball lower to the ground and because of this had one of the lowest turnover rates in NBA history. As a primary ball handler, or point guard, he averaged around 1.6 turnovers a game for his career, for comparison Chris Paul and John Stockton average around 2.8 turnovers for their careers.
The Washington Bullets drafted Bogues with the 12th pick in the 1987 NBA draft. For a short while the Bullets had the shortest player in NBA history (Bogues), and the tallest in Manute Bol. The 2 foot four inch difference in height is the largest any major professional basketball team has ever had.
Bogues only played on season for the Bullets, averaging 5 points and 5 assists in 21 minutes a game, before the Bullets lost him in the 1988 expansion draft to the Charlotte Hornets.
Charlotte is where Bogues found himself as an NBA player. He was eventually paired with Alonzo Mourning, Larry Johnson and Dell Curry to become one of the most exciting teams in the NBA in the early to mid 90s. Bogues told Betways Insider that this was the funnest line-up he ever played for
In 1993 the Hornets had one of their best seasons going 44-38 and stunning the Boston Celtics in the first round of the playoffs. It remains one of only 4 playoff series wins for the Hornets in their franchise history and likely their most impressive, it effectively ended the Celtics dynasty as Kevin McHale retired and Robert Parrish would join Bogues on the Hornets the following season.
Bogues best season in Charlotte and the NBA came in 1994 when he averaged 11 points and 10 assists in 77 games for the Hornets.
In 1995-96 Bogues suffered the first major injury of his career that limited him to just 6 games. The Hornets struggled in his absence going just 41-41 and firing head coach Allan Bristow. The following season the Hornets won a franchise record 54 games and looked poised for a deep playoff run behind Glen Rice, Anthony Mason, Vlade Divac and a healthy Bogues, but were upset in a 3 game sweep by the Knicks lead by former Hornet Larry Johnson.
The Hornets looked to rebound the following year, but after just two games traded the fan favorite Bogues to the Golden State Warriors. Bogues would play two years primarily in a backup role for the Hornets before finishing his career north of the border in Toronto.
In his last year in the NBA his rights got bounced around from the Raptors to the Mavericks in several trades, but he never played for either of those teams. By this point his body had given up on him and he was planning to move onto the next aspect of his career.
In 2005 he took over at the end of the year as head coach of the Charlotte Sting on the WNBA. He got a full year in 2006 going 11-23. Following the season the Sting disbanded and Bogues was out of a job.
Bogues has stayed in the Charlotte area following his coaching stint with the Sting. He has been involved with the Charlotte Bobcats rebranding back into to the Charlotte Hornets.
He has also been part of the NBA careers program and basketball without boarders, participating in the NBA India initiative.