March 2020

Tyrone “Muggsy” Bogues

Tyrone “Muggsy” Bogues

In a world of challenges and doubters, Tyrone “Muggsy” Bogues is a giant – standing tall for the principle of overcoming through determination.

Although only 5’3” in height, Bogues was a record-setting point guard who remains one of basketball’s most popular ambassadors.

A native of Baltimore, MD, Bogues was drawn to basketball at an early age. Not only did he enjoy the game, basketball was a needed distraction from the drugs and violence that characterized his neighborhood, the Lafayette public housing projects. While it was hard to completely tune out the challenges of his neighborhood, basketball became Bogues’ ultimate safe haven.

Constant ribbing about his stature almost deterred Bogues from pursuing the sport seriously, but his enjoyment of the game gradually overpowered the negativity.

Bogues had picked up the nickname “Muggsy” when he was just seven. Some of the children in his neighborhood said his style of play reminded them of a character from “Bowery Boys,” a local television show. Others said the way that he stole the ball reminded them of a mugging. Either way, Bogues hated it. But the name stuck.

Bogues’ journey to the NBA began the summer before his senior year at Baltimore’s Dunbar High when he was selected to play in the 1986 World University Games. His team won the gold medal, and Bogues began to attract national attention.

A four-year player at Wake Forest University, Bogues led the ACC in steals and assists, and was named to the All-ACC first team. And skeptics who once doubted that he could play in the NBA had begun to believe in Bogues’ abilities.

When Bogues was drafted by the Washington Bullets as the 12th pick overall in 1987, he was both excited and relieved. Not only had he accomplished his dream, but he was close to his Baltimore home. “It felt like the weight of the world was lifted off my shoulders,” he said.

After only one season in Washington, he was picked by the fledgling Charlotte Hornets in the expansion draft. Disappointed at first, Bogues recognized that basketball fans in North Carolina would be familiar with his style of play because of his time as a Demon Deacon. He quickly established himself as one of the leaders of the franchise and a fan favorite.

Bogues feels especially proud to have been involved in the Hornets’ playoff run after only five years in the league. While Bogues is proud of being the franchise leader in steals and assists for the Hornets, he recognizes that his tally will be passed one day.

“Records are meant to be broken,” he said. “But it feels good to know that you were able put up numbers and they still stand today.”

Even after his NBA playing days, Bogues continued to be a fixture in Charlotte sports and in the community. He coached the Charlotte Sting of the WNBA from 2005-2007 and United Faith Christian Academy from 2011-2014.

In 2013, he founded Always Believe, Inc., a non-profit designed to assist at-risk teens through programs focused on student athletics, scholarship, leadership development, character building, mentoring, and team-building. Just as basketball motivated Bogues, the programs are designed to encourage motivation and determination for the students to fulfill their dreams.

by Quain Dixon