Hornets fan favorite Muggsy Bogues scores big moment for NBA's little guys

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(Getty Images)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Tyrone "Muggsy" Bogues approached the microphone during halftime of Friday night's game between the Hornets and Knicks. The former Charlotte point guard, who was being honored for his contributions to the franchise as part of its 30th anniversary celebration, immediately reached up and took the mic off the stand.

"You know I had to adjust that," Bogues said, eliciting laughter from the Spectrum Center crowd.

It was a fitting moment. The shortest player in NBA history (generously listed at 5-3), Bogues constantly figured out ways to make the game work in his favor, and his legacy around Charlotte has only grown, finally being punctuated with Friday's ceremony.

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Bogues finished his career as the Hornets' all-time leader in assists, steals and minutes played. He often slid behind big men and dribbled through traffic unseen, darting out at the last moment to hit Larry Johnson or Alonzo Mourning trailing down the lane for a thunderous finish.

"That's the nature of the game," Bogues said following the halftime festivities. "That's where I lived. I was down there 85, 95 percent of the time. I tried to bring them down to my arena."

From Dunbar High School in Baltimore to Wake Forest to Charlotte, Bogues found success at every level despite the consistent doubts about his ability to be a valuable player. Nearly two decades removed from his final pro season, Bogues can now reflect on his impact not just as a member of the Hornets, but as a guard who proved size isn't everything.

"It was such a big thrill playing and competing against the best in the world," Bogues said. "I just wanted to play the game of basketball when I was a kid, not knowing that it would come with so much criticism and people not understanding that a guy my size can play."

His tenacity, character and megawatt smile endeared him to a generation of Hornets fans. As soon as Bogues appeared on the video screen, the thousands in attendance erupted as though Bogues was still part of the starting lineup.

Standing alongside his family, Bogues was overcome with emotion. He remembered his late mother, Elaine, and his sister, Sherron. He knew they were there in spirit. 

For a moment, Bogues took it all in, recognizing just how much he meant to the franchise and community at large — and how much the love and support meant to him.

When asked if he was surprised by the ovation, Bogues flashed that signature smile: "It felt like the old Hive again."

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