Muggsy Bogues built a career shattering stereotypes.
Bogues earned the respect of the entire NBA through his tenacity and no-quit high level of play, while standing only 5-foot-3 inches. To this day, he is the shortest player to ever lace up a pair of sneakers in the league.
After enjoying a 14-season career of pro ball, Bogues is now a podcaster, crushing it with fellow former ballers Charles Oakley and Earl Cureton for their “3 League OGs” podcast. Ashley Stroehlein, a sports anchor and reporter in Charlotte, North Carolina, has the task of keeping the trio on track as the moderator. She serves as the perfect balance as the hoopsters chop it up with A-list athletes and celebrities. Since the show’s inception in January, they have welcomed a who’s who of the sports and entertainment worlds to the set.
Bogues lets Zenger News in on his top bucket list guest, talks about his playing days and much more.
Percy Crawford interviewed Muggsy Bogues for Zenger News.
Zenger: As a person told they were too short to play certain positions in football, it’s an honor speaking to you, and thanks for opening doors for people like me.
Bogues: I appreciate that. You know how it is when we’re trying to break down them barriers, no matter what sport it’s in. It’s the heart that matters more than anything else. We let them know, tall or short, no matter what the sport is, the game is ours.
Zenger: How did you exist in a league of giants for 14 seasons?
Bogues: It was all about knowing I belonged. I knew I belonged. Each level I played at, I felt like I belonged. When it got to the highest level there is, which is the NBA, they drafted me, it was nothing different. It was just a means of me going out there and showcasing my skill set, showcasing that you’re capable of running a basketball team at your size, and you’re still able to impact the game in a way that you have always been able to since a kid.
For me, it was just another way of going out there and playing with the big boys. I know a lot of folks looked at that as a disadvantage, but for me, it wasn’t an advantage or disadvantage. It was just looked at as what my skill set was and what I was capable of doing as a point guard on both ends of the floor.
Zenger: How important was conditioning during your career?
Bogues: It played a big role. I had to be in the best shape. My stamina had to outweigh other individuals, and that’s where I felt I had another advantage. My endurance, my stamina and being able to do it at a high level for the entirety of the game separated me. And I played most of the games and most of the minutes at each level. Even in the NBA, averaging 35 and sometimes 40 minutes out of 44 minutes, you had to have that stamina and that endurance. I knew conditioning would be beneficial to me. That’s why I trained and made sure my body was in tip top shape when the season came around.
Zenger: There’s a 10-minute video on YouTube of NBA greats, with both players and coaches praising you and explaining why you were so good. That video has more than 12 million views. How does that make you feel?
Bogues: It’s a warm feeling. Knowing that you had the respect of your peers and the guys you played with as well. Knowing that I was able to play the game at a high level and be respected as such is a wonderful feeling. When you get that respect from your peers, that’s the ultimate.
Zenger: J.R. Reid is listed at 6-foot-9-inches. One of the stories told on that video is that you wrestled him in the locker room once and you pinned him and held him down. You recall that story?
Bogues: (Laughing). Oh yeah! That’s just who I was and who I am. I was a kid that came from that background, and wrestling was a big part of my upbringing. Having that understanding and that love for it always came out. Sometimes it came out in the locker room against your teammates when they wanted to try you (laughing).
Zenger: Your podcast, “3 League OGs” is on fire right now. How did you link up with that crew and come up with this idea?
Bogues: Earl, Oak and I had all played together.That was just relationships and bonds that we grew throughout the years. We were sitting around and felt like this was a good lane to connect with fans as well as the audience out there in a space that right now a lot of people are starting to enter. We’re just having fun with it. We have had some great guests on: Julius Erving, T Mac [Tracy McGrady], Candace Parker, Dick Vitale, Ivory Latta, Ron Harper and Spud [Webb].
We’re just having fun with it. We’re just trying to bring the audience people that they will enjoy and let them share their stories. Our moderator, the lovely Ashley Stroehlein, does an amazing job with us, keeping us balanced and on key so we don’t go overboard.
Zenger: Do you feel like former players having the space to discuss the game they dedicated their lives to is something that’s lacking, because you guys can really break things down and inform us on things that we didn’t know were taking place behind the scenes?
Bogues: I think you just get another perspective. You have great reporters in sports that do an amazing job, but it’s nothing like having someone who played that sport to give you that inside insight about what goes on from the beginning to the end. Locker room, contracts and everything in between. It can kind of give you a different look of what players actually go through. Plus, you get the personalities that come along with it.
There are a lot of guys that have great personalities. Not only are they entering into this space and bringing their knowledge of the game, but the personalities that goes along with it. And you know that. It continues to broaden the horizon, open up the fan base and when guys are no longer playing, you continue building your own brand after your playing days are over with.
Zenger: I think your guests will open up to you more as well. I’m not sure I have ever heard Dr. J speak so openly about basketball like he did on your show.
Bogues: Absolutely! They feel a lot more comfortable speaking with us, and we just shoot the breeze with each other to where we’re just talking like we’re amongst one another. And that’s how comfortable we are with each other. That’s the beauty of it. They know they can come and let off whatever is on your chest, the good, bad or indifferent. We welcome it.
We keep it fun and entertaining. It’s good to have friends that want to share their stories and talk about the things they have been through and the things they are currently doing as well. We give them that space to talk about themselves, as well as some past history.
Zenger: Is there anyone in particular who you would like to have on “3 League OGs?”
Bogues: I feel like we should be able to get anybody. But you know how it is, people’s schedules are different. We’re talking about bringing Snoop Dogg on. Snoop is very engaged in basketball, he’s very knowledgeable about the game and a lot of other things. So that would be a good conversation to have. He’s doing a great job covering the fights as well, for Triller. Snoop puts his hands on anything and it’s going to turn to gold.
Zenger: You’re a Baltimore guy; what are your thoughts on your town’s Gervonta Davis, who recently defeated previously unbeaten Mario Barrios?
Bogues: Man, I love everything ‘Tank’ stands for. I love the team he has around him. I’m happy to see him doing his thing, representing the city, representing himself and his family. I told you before the fight that he was going to go in there and do his thing. Show off his B-More skills that he’s obtained, and let the world know he is pound-for-pound the best in the game right now. I was tuned in. I will be supporting him from afar. Anyone that comes from B-More that’s the love we give them.
Zenger: Thank you for your time, brother. It’s been an honor.
Bogues: I appreciate you, man. Thanks for having me. Anyone who is reading this, keep respecting one another. That’s how we’re going to keep moving forward by respecting our differences, agree or disagree, just keep the respect there and take that time to give people their roses, man.
(Edited by Matthew B. Hall and Judith Isacoff)
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