NBA veteran Muggsy Bogues believes he can play in today's 'less physical' game
ABS-CBN Sports on Aug 02, 2019 09:42 AM
"Well every player feels like they can play in any era, and I believe that I can play in this era. It’s not as physical as it was back then, the lane is more open, so I feel like I can move my way anywhere on the court and still be able to be effective" - Muggsy Bogues
In basketball, height is often might, but throughout the years, there have been a number of guys on the smaller side who have managed to impact the game on so many levels.
Today, the likes of Stephen Curry, Chris Paul, Kemba Walker, and Kyle Lowry among others are some of the NBA's most notable stars just a little over six feet tall.
But if we're talking about small guards, probably no other player in NBA history impacted the game quite like the legendary Tyrone "Muggsy" Bogues.
At just 5-foot-3, Bogues played 14 seasons in the league and was one of the key pieces of the original Charlotte Hornets franchise back in the 90s. The 12th-overall pick from Wake Forest had career averages of 7.7 points and 7.6 assists.
Currently in the Philippines for an NBA 3X event on August 3 and 4, Bogues got to do some media rounds with ABS-CBN and got to talk a bit about his career as well as the major differences of today's NBA and the NBA that he played in.
"I had a decent career, I believe," Muggsy shared. "I had a career where I was able to play in three decades, in the 80s, the 90s, and the 2000s. I played with amazing talent, I played against some amazing talent. Got drafted by the Washington Bullets in 87, so I thank them for that opportunity to be selected 12th overall, then I went on to showcase most of my talents in Charlotte, played two years in Golden State, two years in Toronto, I went to New York but didn’t really play, I was hurt, got traded and went to Dallas."
"After the 14th year, my mom passed away, and had three years left on my contract, but I just couldn’t go out there anymore, I just didn’t have the energy. Mr Cuban, at the time, the owner of the Mavs, he decided to honor my contract and just allowed me to ride off into the sunset. 14 years of playing, 15 years of payment, but throughout all of it, I wouldn’t change, not one minute. My journey was an amazing journey. No one thought that I would be able to do what I was able to do."
During his time with the Hornets, Muggsy got to play alongside the likes of Larry Johnson and Alonzo Mourning, and was able to help the team to three playoffs appearances.
"It was awesome, I mean it was a dream come true, playing in the NBA and playing with the best in the world and having teammates like Larry and Alonzo and Dell Curry and those guys made the cause that much more special. The bond and the war that you went to so many battles with."
"We had some great moments in Charlotte, I spent nine years of my NBA career in Charlotte and played with some talented players and played against some amazing talents, like Michael Jordan and the Bulls, but we just couldn’t get past those guys because of that number 23, it was kinda tough, but again, that was the nature of the business back then," he added.
The diminutive Bogues earned a reputation as being a hard-nosed defender during his time in the NBA, something that he's extremely proud of.
When asked about todays game and who he would like to try his hand at stopping, Bogues welcomed the challenge of containing today's best stars.
"I’d like to guard ‘em all today, the way the salaries are," he said with a chuckle before detailing how different today's game is compared to when he was on court. "It’s truly fun to watch today, the game is totally different than what we played. It’s more uptempo, there’s not as many positions, just be able to be on the floor depends on what type of skillset you have. You got 7-footers now facing the basket, opposed to when we played, guys played with their backs to the basket, at that size, but it’s a great game today, there’s a lot of entertainment, a lot of long-ball shooting, so guys really have to work on that skillset to try to compete. The NBA is a trend, you have to be able to match that thing that’s happening, that trend that’s going on today."
Muggsy believes that his tenacity and his defensive skillset is something that would translate well into today's NBA as well.
"Well every player feels like they can play in any era, and I believe that I can play in this era. It’s not as physical as it was back then, the lane is more open, so I feel like I can move my way anywhere on the court and still be able to be effective, and for defensively, I don’t want to say there’s not much defense taking place, but nobody plays defense the way I play," said Bogues.
"I don’t see no guys hitting you up 94-feet. A couple of them you got, like [Eric] Bledsoe or maybe Patrick Beverley, maybe those guys that may get into you really aggressively, but there’s not as many," he added.