At 5’3, Tyrone Curtis “Muggsy” Bogues was the shortest player to have ever played in the NBA. He was drafted 12th overall in the 1987 NBA draft by the Washington Bullets in a star-studded class that included David Robinson, Reggie Miller, and Scottie Pippen.
At Wake Forest, Bogues was a problem. By his senior year, he was averaging 14.8 points, 9.5 assists, and 2.4 steals per game. When Bogues was drafted, he and teammate Manute Bol made history from the get-go, as the shortest and tallest players in the NBA with Bol standing at 7’7. But Bogues wasn’t satisfied with just making history from his height. He had a successful 14-year career in the league and still holds the Hornets’ records for most assists and steals. Bogues had an insane 44-inch vertical and even blocked 7-foot tall Patrick Ewing in a game once.
Growing up in Baltimore, Bogues had always been the smallest guy on the court. He got his nickname from his childhood friend’s older brother, Dwayne Wood.
“Anyway, one day when we’re playing, Dwayne Wood, Darryl’s older brother, came out and said I reminded him of Muggsy from ‘The Bowery Boys,'” Bogues wrote in an article on The Players’ Tribune. “Everyone laughed, tying the joke together. He’s mugging everyone, stealing the ball, hanging with his boys, leading his gang … He’s Muggsy.”
From a young age, Bogues learned how to used his height to his advantage which helped him eventually become the all-time steals leader on the Hornets.
Bogues did not back down from anybody and exemplifies the saying “heart over height.”