Having a jersey or a number being retired is quite the honor. Interestingly, the Charlotte Hornets have only bestowed the late Bobby Phills' #13 with that honor despite the team's 15-year history.
Phills' jersey was also retired 15 years ago this February. I believe it is time to add another jersey to the rafters, and it should be Muggsy Bogues' #1 that is raised to the rafters.
I was inspired to write this piece when a friend of mine forwarded an email to me with a link to this online petition, asking for the Charlotte Hornets to retire Muggsy Bogues' jersey. The petition was started on Bogues' 50th birthday just over two weeks ago, and already has 570 supporters as of this writing.
I don't need to explain Bogues' importance to the franchise and the city of Charlotte to anyone who is a fan of the Hornets, or a fan of the National Basketball Association in general. Bogues was the face of the franchise for many years and was beloved by all of the Carolinas. How could you not love him? Seeing him play was like watching a dwarf play against giants. The point guard seemingly had no right to be out on the court with such a height differential between him and the rest of the league until you saw the skills of the diminutive point guard.
In case you forgot what Bogues was like on the hardwood, here is a refresher:
Bogues was one of the first national stars that the city of Charlotte had. It would not be long before Bogues began staring in local commercials and in one of the greatest movies of all time, Space Jam.* His charismatic personality made him a hit on the big screen and is a big reason why Bogues continues to star in commercials even today.
*Note: The writer's opinions do not reflect the opinions of At The Hive. But if you disagree, you are wrong.
Editor's Note: At The Hive will back this statement. If you disagree, you are indeed wrong.
But personality and ability on the screen are not why teams retire jerseys, and it is not the main reason why the #1 should be retired.
I want you to take a moment to go look through the franchise's career leaders.
Notice how Muggsy Bogues' name is all over the Hornets' record books? His name appears in 23 different categories, including minutes (first in franchise history), assists (first), steals (first), offensive win shares (first), games (second), assist percentage (second), total win shares (second), defensive win shares (third), points (fifth), steal percentage (fifth), defensive rebounds (eighth) and total rebounds (tenth). That's right — a 5'3" point guard remains one of the top rebounders in franchise history.
The shortest player in NBA history helped inspire a new generation of stars in all sports, as he was the ultimate example of overcoming the odds. He was a player shorter than the majority of Americans succeeding and excelling at the sport that is defined by the height and athleticism of its athletes.
More importantly (in this writer's admittedly biased opinion), Bogues helped cultivate my love for the game of basketball at an early age.
That is a photo of a very young me with Muggsy Bogues at his basketball camp (I returned the next year and got the photo autographed). I could not get over how someone as tall as I was could play at such a high level in the NBA. It helped inspire me to a Church League basketball career, but also helped me believe that I could overcome and succeed at anything I wanted to if I tried hard enough, as corny as it sounds.
History has shown that online grassroots movements can have an impact — you need to look no further than 'Bring Back the Buzz' for proof of that. As a longtime fan of one Tyrone "Muggsy" Bogues, there are few things I would love to see more than his #1 jersey raised to the rafters at Time Warner Cable Arena.