The point guard’s introduction to the NBA 35 years ago is commemorated by this year’s draft. It’s simple to overlook how talented he was as a player.
Teams are already considering the future even though the NBA season just ended last week. College basketball stars like Jabari Smith Jr. of Auburn and foreign prospects like Ousmane Dieng of France will be waiting impatiently on Thursday night for NBA commissioner Adam Silver to call their names and, in doing so, change their lives forever. The inaugural draft was held prior to the NBA’s second season, making it a tradition that is almost as old as the league itself.
And one of the most notable selections in the lengthy history of the NBA draft also celebrates its 35th anniversary this year. The Washington Bullets selected Muggsy Bogues in 1987 with the 12th overall choice, all 5 feet 3 inches of him.
Fans of the Bullets have a reason to question their team’s selection. The fact that Bogues is still the shortest NBA player in history has many scouts questioning his capacity to even survive, let alone succeed, in the league. For background, Bogues was selected when NBA players were 6 feet 7 inches tall on average. Bogues is dwarfed by Isaiah Thomas, who was the NBA’s shortest player last season at 5 feet 9 inches.