Shortest NBA Player Ever: Muggsy Bogues

Muggsy Bogues is one of the greatest anomalies in sports. At just 5’3″ he isn’t your typical NBA star. But he is the shortest NBA player ever.

Most kids in the 1990s grew up idolizing Muggsy Bogues.

Look at the guy… 5’3″ and playing against some of the best talent the world has to offer. If anything he gave us all hope.

Then, he took over every court he stepped on.

He was an offensive general, and a defensive mastermind. Not to mention his fabled 44-inch vertical leap.

Thus sparking kids everywhere to think they could jump millions of feet in the air. Little did they realize the true talent that he possessed.

But first… did you know Muggsy’s first nickname was actually Apple? That’s right, Apple. Apple Bogues.

It wasn’t until he was seven that he became Muggsy, but thinking back, Apple would’ve been a great nickname. All of the assists he racked up in his career shows that Apple might have been fitting.

Raised in the Lafayette Court housing projects of Maryland, Bogues immediately fell in love with basketball. His mother raised him on her own after his father went to prison, that’s when Muggsy became a man.

He decided that he needed an education more than anything, and used his talents to go to college.

The shortest player in NBA history came out of Maryland after a great high school career.

In his junior and senior season, Muggsy went a combined 60-0 and was getting offers all across the country.

He decided to go to Wake Forest, and had a very solid career there. In his senior season he averaged 14.8 ppg, 9.5 apg, 3.8 rpg and 2.4 spg. Not to mention he was the ACC career leader in steals and assists when he finished his senior season. Bogues’ number 14 is retired at Wake after such a great career.

Muggsy got drafted to the Washington Bullets where he only played one season, but made for one of the best Sports Illustrated images ever taken.

It is a picture of Manute Bol (who even at 7-7 is only the second tallest player in NBA history, Gheorghe Muresan is the tallest player in NBA history) standing side-by-side with Muggsy, the shortest player in NBA history, and they are holding three stacked basketballs between the two of them.

It is one of the most adorable pictures I’ve ever seen. You just have to go look it up. Go ahead, look it up, I’ll be waiting here to tell you more.

… Did you see it? It’s fantastic, isn’t it?

It looks like Manute Bol and his son entered a two on two tournament and this was the team picture.

In his one full season with the Bullets, Bogues didn’t really live up to the hype. He played alright, but it wasn’t first round type stuff.

So, the Bullets let Bogues go in the expansion draft the very next season.

He went to the Charlotte Hornets, and that’s where we found out what Muggsy could really do.

He played alongside some great players including Larry Johnson and Alonzo Mourning. Bogues was the centerpiece and point guard of a perennial playoff contender in Charlotte.

Bogues wasn’t much of a scorer. Averaging just 7.7 ppg over his career, Bogues put his talents to passing and defense.

Defensively, he was an absolute pest. There is one particular instance that shows his tenacity and ability to guard anyone in the league. Muggsy blocked Patrick Ewing.

Look at him come flying through the air! That’s crazy!

This was a man, as Jason Kidd says, “Played with heart.”

Muggsy played 10 years with the Hornets, and racked up some monster numbers in Charlotte.

He is the Hornets’ career leader in minutes played (19,768), assists (5,557), steals (1,067), turnovers (1,118), and assists per 48 minutes (13.5).

He’s considered one of the most popular players in NBA history, even starring in the movie Space Jam during the middle of his career. He lost his mojo to the Monstars, but luckily Michael Jordan was able to get it back for him.

That’s one of the greatest friend moves of all time. Sure, Michael didn’t go to Tune Town to get Muggsy’s his skills back, but it was definitely on the agenda.

Also before I get back to Muggsy, can we talk about how bad Michael’s stat line was in his game against the Monstars? It’s probably the most selfish stat line of all time.

He went 22-22 from the field, which is incredibly impressive, accounting for 44 points. However, he had no assists, no rebounds, no blocks, no steals and he had two turnovers. He scored 24 of his 44 points via the dunk. Like what? Not a team player, MJ.

Anyway, back to Muggsy. After a long and great stint with Charlotte, the Hornets traded Bogues to the Golden State Warriors with Tony Delk in exchange for B.J. Armstrong. He played two seasons with the Warriors before exploring free agency and ending up with the Toronto Raptors.

After a couple seasons in Canada, Bogues was traded to the New York Knicks and then the Dallas Mavericks. He never played a game for either team before ultimately retiring. He ended his career as a Toronto Raptor.

Sure, he’s not the flashiest guy, but he could play. His final career stats are pretty solid. He finished with a career 7.7 ppg which I mentioned earlier, 1.5 spg and 7.6 apg.

He’s not a Hall of Famer by any means, but he is an inspiration for people everywhere.

Remember, if anyone ever tells you that you can’t do something, Muggsy Bogues blocked Patrick Ewing. The 5’3″ Muggsy Bogues, swatted the 7″ Patrick Ewing. If that doesn’t tell you that you can do anything, I am not sure what will.

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