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Is Muggsy Bogues Hall of Fame Worthy?

Muggsy Bogues was a unique player, but he did not have a Hall of Fame career. At 5’3”, Muggsy was the shortest player in NBA history. It’s amazing that he played 15 seasons in the league.  His teams did not win that much, however, and he did not put up Hall of Fame statistics nor accomplishments. 

Is Muggsy Bogues a Hall of Fame Player? 

Muggsy Bogues played 15 seasons in the NBA from 1987 -2001.

In a comparison between Bogues and another of the shortest players ever, Spud Webb, I argued that Bogues was easily the better player. 

But Muggsy Bogues did not do enough to qualify for the Hall of Fame in his NBA career. 

In this post, I argued that he was a good, but limited defender. I would argue the same about his career as whole: he was a good, but limited player.

He did have a nice NBA career. You can see his career stats below. 

Games PointsAssistsStealsT/O

While this is not official, NBA players are generally selected for the Hall of Fame based on three criteria: winning, career accomplishments & awards, and career statistics.

Let’s look at Muggsy Bogues’ career in each of those areas.


Some borderline Hall of Fame players get the nod due to their great record as winning players.

That is not the case for Muggsy Bogues. He did not win at a high level in the NBA.

Bogues was drafted by the struggling Washington Bullets and made available for the expansion draft after his rookie season.

Bogues was chosen by the newly-formed Charlotte Hornets and his defining years were spent with that team.

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Muggsy Bogues Hornets’ Jersey

Playing for an expansion team usually means struggling to find wins, and that is what happened to Bogues and the Hornets.

They were a fun team. The Hornets featured Alonzo Mourning and Larry Johnson in addition to the fun-to-watch Bogues.

But wins were scarce. Bogues did not have a winning season until his sixth year in the NBA. 

That team, his first playoff squad, lost in the 2nd round. The next year the Hornets were .500.

Bogues seventh NBA season saw him win 50 games for the first time. That team had the misfortune to match up with a returning-from-suspension/retirement Michael Jordan in the first round. 

Jordan’s Bulls dispatched them quickly.  The next season was another .500 one for the Hornets.

In ‘96-’97 Bogues’ team set a career high in wins (for him) with 54. But they lost to a Knicks team featuring Patrick Ewing and Allan Houston in the 1st round of the playoffs.

Bogues was shipped out to Golden State after that year. He suffered two losing seasons in California before finishing his career in Toronto.

In Bogues last complete season, 1999-2000, the Raptors had a nice run during Vince Carter’s rookie year – but were dispatched in the first round by the Knicks.

Muggsy Bogues will not make the Hall of Fame for being a winner. His teams never went beyond the 2nd round of the playoffs, and they only made it that far twice. 

Career Awards & Accomplishments

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Muggsy Bogues Hornets Notebook

A second unofficial Hall of Fame criteria is career awards and accomplishments. This is things like making All-NBA teams, All Star teams and All-Defensive teams. 

It could also include things like making the Olympic Dream Team, winning league MVP or Defensive Player of the Year.

In Muggsy Bogues’ case there is not too much to discuss. Bogues was never an All Star and never made any All-NBA teams.

He was 2nd in the NBA in assists in 1993-1994 and made the top five in assists five times totals.

Those are nice numbers. But Bogues was never considered one of the best players in the NBA and did not have Hall-of-Fame-worthy accomplishments. 

Stats & Player Comparison

Below we will look at some more of Bogues’ career statistics. Stats can be confusing in isolation, so I will compare him to several other great point guards. 

Here again are Bogues’ career counting stats:

Games PointsAssistsT/OSteals

For comparison’s sake, here are Mark Price’s career counting stats. In this post, I argued that Price was not quite a Hall of Famer. 

Games PointsAssistsT/OSteals

Finally, let’s look at an obvious Hall of Famer: John Stockton

Games PointsAssistsT/OSteals

In terms of counting stats, Bogues is not terribly far behind Price. Both easily trail Stockton but that is no surprise as Stockton is one of the best players ever. 

Both Price and Stockton easily outscored Muggy. This is a major area of separation for Price who was a far better shooter than Bogues. 

Bogues had more assists per game than Price, but not nearly as many as John Stockton. Again, that is not a surprise as Stockton is the all-time leader in assists.

The difference here between Muggsy and Price is small. 

The rest of the numbers are all fairly close with Stockton having the clear edge and Bogues and Price being somewhat close. 

Let’s look at some advanced stats to see what they show. 

PlayerPERWin SharesBox Plus/Minus
John Stockton21.8207.76.8
Mark Price19.671.13.7
Muggsy Bogues15.054.0.8

This is where the separation between Mark Price and Muggsy Bogues becomes clear. 

All three of these advanced stats attempt to take everything a player does on the court to help his team and turn that into one number. 

When you look at advanced stats, you see how insanely great John Stockton was. But you also see how much better Mark Price was than Muggsy Bogues. 

Price piled up way more career win shares in far fewer games than Muggsy and had a much better box plus/minus and PER. 

And, again,  I don’t believe Price will make the Hall of Fame.

When you compare Muggsy Bogues career statistics to one of the best players ever in John Stockton, he comes up well short.

And when you compare Bogues to a borderline Hall of Famer in Mark Price, he comes up short as well.

Muggsy Bogues has neither the winning record, career accomplishments nor career statistics to make the basketball Hall of Fame. 

Other Hall of Fame Considerations

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Muggsy Bogues Signed Poster

While players who make the Hall of Fame for their NBA careers do so mostly based on the criteria discussed above, it is not the NBA Hall of Fame.

It is the Basketball Hall of Fame and many players make it for reasons outside of their success in the NBA. 

Let’s look at two other factors that could get Muggsy Bogues into the Hall of Fame below. 

College Career

Muggsy Bogues had a really nice career at Wake Forest. 

He was heavily recruited out of the famous Dunbar High School in Baltimore. His high school team featured fellow NBA players David Wingate, Reggie Williams and Reggie Lewis. 

Muggsy played four years at Wake Forest. He averaged 11 points, 8 assists and 3 steals per game over those four years.

Bogues ended his ACC playing career as the all time leader in both assists and steals. His number was retired by the Demon Deacons. 

But the Deacons were not consistent winners in Bogues’ years. The team was good his freshman year, when he contributed little.

But his sophomore year saw the team finish close to .500 and his last two years saw the team finish well below that mark.

Most of the American players who make the Hall of Fame do so based on their professional careers. 

There are a few players who suffered injuries that cut short their professional careers. These players made the Hall on a combination of NBA greatness and college greatness. 

These are players like Bill Walton and Pete Mavarich. 

Their college careers were not simply good, though – they were insane. They won titles and set all-time records. 

Muggsy Bogues did not have that kind of college career. 

Muggsy Bogues had a nice, losing college career that is not going to sway his hall of fame chances much. 

Shortest NBA Player Ever

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Muggsy Bogues Framed, Autographed Jersey

The last possible factor supporting Muggsy Bogues making the Hall of Fame is his status as the shortest player to ever play in the NBA.

There is no doubt Bogues is unique. In addition to being the shortest player ever, he is also one of the lightest players in the history of the league. 

I just don’t think that is enough for him to make the Hall of Fame. Someone has to be the shortest player ever. Does that automatically mean they make the Hall of Fame? 

Gheorghe Muresan is the tallest NBA player ever at 7’7”. Should he make the Hall of Fame for being unique?

I don’t think so. I want to be clear: Muggys Bogues is way better than Gheorge Muresan. He had a good career in the NBA and was a solid point guard in the league. 

But he was clearly not at the Hall of Fame level as a player. I don’t think his unique status as the shortest player in NBA history should override his playing career.

I want to judge him fairly as a player. And, when you do so, you see that Muggsy Bogues does not belong in the Hall of Fame. 

Summary: Muggsy Bogues Hall of Fame

Muggsy Bogues is the shortest player in NBA history at 5’3”, and he had a nice career in the league.  But he is not worthy of making the Hall of Fame based on his playing career. Bogues was a solid player who did not play on winning teams nor have great career statistics. Muggsy Bogues is a unique player but not a Hall of Fame player.

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