Tyrone “Muggsy” Bogues was born January 9, 1965, in Baltimore, Maryland. The youngest child of Richard and Elaine Bogues, Muggsy grew up with his brothers, Richard and Anthony, and sister Sherron in the Lafayette Public housing projects of the city’s east side. During his junior and senior years of high school he helped lead Dunbar to become the best high school team in the United States, winning an amazing 59 games in a row. Muggsy was voted the most valuable player on his team and the city’s public school league, while sharing the court with three other future NBA players Reggie Williams, David Wingate and future Boston Celtics star Reggie Lewis.
Muggsy and his childhood playmates, including Williams and Wingate, would practice slam dunks on an open-bottomed milk crate hung on a fence. A coach named Leon Howard steered Muggsy towards organized sports, and Muggsy got another break when he transferred to Dunbar High, a school with a top-flight basketball program. Dunbar star Dwayne Woods dubbed Bogues “Muggsy”, telling him that his physical style of defense, which often resulted in steals, reminded him of a mugging.
From Clutch Points: In the 1981-82 season, their biggest game came against the Camden High Panthers, the number-one ranked high school team in the nation. In five years, Camden had lost only one game at home. When the small-of-stature Muggsy was announced in the starting lineup, the whole Camden High gym laughed and jeered. Even Camden star Billy Thompson was laughing along. Taking it upon himself to win this game, Bogues led Dunbar to a dominating victory, 84-59. In a stunning turnaround, the same crowd that had been laughing at his size just hours before was now chanting his name. “Muggsy! Muggsy! Muggsy!”
Muggsy was selected 12th in the first round of the NBA draft by the Washington Bullets. He gained plenty of attention with his unique ball handling skills. He could maintain a legal dribble so close to the ground that his knuckles would drag on the floor. Muggsy also had an insane 44-inch vertical, and while he never dunked in an NBA game tales of Muggsy dunking were not uncommon. Unfortunately, the Bullets were among the teams that did not know how to best utilize Muggsy talent, and his playing time declined as the season went on. As a result, the Bullets didn’t shield him from the expansion draft that occurred when the NBA added teams for the 1988-89 season.
Muggsy was drafted by one of the new expansion teams, the Charlotte Hornets. He quickly became a fan favorite in Charlotte, especially with the younger fans. He raised his points-per game average to ten in the 1992-93 season and helped lead the Hornets to their first ever appearance in the NBA playoffs. They made the playoffs again in 1995. Muggsy was sidelined by knee injuries for much of the 1995-96 season, but he bounced back the following year, leading the NBA with an assist per turnover ratio of 4.34. Despite his popularity with the fans, he was traded to the Golden State Warriors early in the 1997-98 season, but not before becoming the franchise’s all-time leader in both steals and assists, which he still holds today.