Muggsy Bogues height is 5′ 3″.
With that in mind, would it even be possible for a player like Muggsy to have success in today’s NBA?
With all the advanced analytics, scrutiny over player “measurables”, and so much more science utilized to structure today’s NBA rosters, would Muggsy have even made a roster?
Or, would he have had even more success thanks to the allowance of zone defense and the wide-open, free-wheeling, free-shooting NBA game of today?
RELATED – Average NBA Height Of Players By Decade
Bogues was a once in a lifetime type of player and it’s amazing he carved out a 15-year pro career for himself. At 5-3, he made Spud Webb look tall at 5-7.
And it started at Dunbar high school in Baltimore, Maryland.
His high school team was LOADED with NBA talent and in the 1981-82 season, the team went 31-0 and finished as the #1 high school basketball team via USA Today.
Coached by future Maryland head coach Bob Wade the starting lineup featured:
Muggsy Bogues – 14-year NBA vet
David Wingate – 15-year NBA vet
Reggie Williams – 10-year NBA vet, collegiate national champion at Georgetown
Reggie Lewis – 6-year NBA vet and All-Star before his unexpected death
With those 4 players and that coaching, did they even need a 5th man?
Muggsy Bogues nickname came from an old show called The Bowery Boys, which featured a very small character named “Muggsy.”
Bogues is a player who did all of the “little” things well. His lack of height made him excel in areas that other players with more height “overlooked.” But he wasn’t some gimmick.
After a great high school career he was offered scholarships to Virginia, Penn State, Seton Hall, and Wake Forest, where he ended up playing in college.
A four year player, he really hit his stride as a junior. He averaged 11.3 points, 8.4 assists and 3.1 steals per game.
He played even better as as senior, he averaged 14.8 points, 9.5 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 2.4 steals per game. In 1986–87, he led the Atlantic Coast Conference in steals and assists.
To this day he is Wake Forest’s all-time leader in career assists and steals.
After the end of his senior season, Bogues played for the USA national team in the 1986 FIBA World Championship and won the gold medal. Bogues played in all ten of the team’s games and led them in assists and steals.
Muggsy was drafted into the United States Basketball League (USBL) in 1987. He played one season for the Rhode Island Gulls and averaged 22 ppg and 8 assists per game!
He was then drafted in the 1987 NBA Draft by the Washington Bullets.
Muggsy only played one season in Washington. In barely 20 minutes per game, he led the team in assists (5.1), steals (1.6) and scored 5.0 ppg. Even with that production, the Bullets left Bogues unprotected in the upcoming NBA expansion draft.
The Charlotte Hornets selected him and they never looked back.
In the six seasons between 1989 and 1995, he finished in the top FOUR in the league in assists every year except for one. The Hornets also made the playoffs three times.
Manute Bol and Muggsy Bogues:
From 1989-90 to 1994-95, he finished in the top five in assists per game each year, with a career high of 10.7 in 89-90.
Muggsy left Charlotte in 1997 as the franchise’s all-time leader in assists and steals.
Over his last four years in the NBA, he was a role player for the Warriors and Raptors. But he had already made an indelible mark on NBA history.
Muggsy Bogues’ career average of 7.6 is 16th best in NBA history. In that period of time only John Stockton had more total assists.
Bogues was also an underrated shooter, maybe the most forgotten aspect of his game. For his career he shot 82% from the line and constantly had the ball in crunch time.
For as much of a facilitator as he was, he averaged double figures in PPG for three years in a row even though he never averaged more than nine shots per game.
Check out this article for a great breakdown of where Muggsy stacked up against some of the greatest point guards in NBA history. It’s pretty surprising.
For as short as he was, Bogues wasn’t a liability on defense. He finished in the top 10 in steals for three seasons and accumulated the 48th most in NBA history.
If anything his relentlessness on defense gave opposing offenses fits because he was impossible to prepare for.
He was all over the place at all times and caused a young Doc Rivers to remark once, “It felt like there were five Muggsy Bogues’ out there.”
But just numbers alone don’t do him any justice. They give you an indication of how productive he was, but don’t paint the entire picture.
In my opinion he is the quickest point guard I have ever seen, perhaps rivaled by a young Damon Stoudamire.
And even though he was insanely quick, he was rarely out of control as his career 4.69 assist to turnover ratio would indicate. The amount of energy alone he brought to the floor every night made the Hornets a better team.
While he was with the 90s Charlotte Hornets, the team went from expansion squad to playoff contender, becoming one of the most popular teams in the league mostly because they were so fun to watch.
So back to my original question; with 6-7 being the average height of today’s NBA player, and fundamentals as underappreciated as they have ever been, would Muggsy Bogues, the shortest player in NBA history, even get a look?