On one sunny, beautiful morning somewhere in Central Visayas, deep down in Negros Oriental, in a coastal city of Dumaguete where you can view a mystic island called Siquijor, a poor soul strolls this one breathtaking stretch called "The Boulevard."
Call it the boulevard of broken dreams. For this poor guy is contemplating his sad and unfortunate fate of missing out on this once-in-a-lifetime-time opportunity of meeting and talking personally to this one spectacle of a man who has defied logic, conventional wisdom and overcome odds.
Meet Tyrone Curtis Bogues. Or Muggsy Bogues, as he was known most of his basketball life. He'll fly to Manila any day now. Bogues is here from April 26-28 to attend the 2013 Jr. NBA presented by Alaska National Training Camp. His main responsibility is to help teach and preach the sport to kids coming from all over the country who made it to the program.
“I have heard many wonderful things about the Filipinos’ passion for the game of basketball and I am looking forward to my first visit to the country,” Bogues says in a press release posted at NBA.com Philippines. “I’m delighted to have the opportunity to share my skills and knowledge with all the Jr. NBA participants that have worked so hard for their spots at the National Training Camp," he adds.
Here, Bogues will help Jr. NBA head coach Sefu Bernard and former PBA player Jojo Lastimosa of Alaska to run the camp as well as conduct activities for NBA Cares, a social responsibility program of the NBA, the best basketball league in the universe.
According to the same press release, Bogues is the fourth NBA Legend to be part of the Jr. NBA Philippines program, following BJ Armstrong, AC Green and Luc Longley. Unfortunately, this blogger has not interviewed anyone of them. Bogues is no exception. Thank you Palarong Pambansa.
But hey, I will not let distance stop or impede me from writing something about a man whom I admire most. For those who don't know Bogues, he's five-foot-three or 1.60 meters in height. He is actually the shortest player ever to play in the NBA. But don't tell Bogues that. He has endured 14 seasons in the NBA.
First with the Washington Bullets, now Wizards, where he suited up for a season in 1987-88 as their 12th pick overall. There, Bogues had a chance to play side by side with the late Manute Bol, who at 7-7 was then the tallest NBA player at that time. Imagine that, Bol holding Bogues head while posing for pictures? That's something.
Bogues was later shipped to the then Charlotte Hornets, where he spent the next nine seasons. He played two more years each with the Golden State Warriors and the Toronto Raptors before deciding to retire and started coaching. He was then hired as mentor of the Charlotte Sting of the WNBA and then moved to coach high school ball at United Faith Christian Academy where he is currently the school's bench tactician. Teaching kids has started to be his calling. That's why he's coming to the Phl. He could teach an old hog like me anytime.
Bogues' career statistics as a player is as follows: 6,858 points (7.7 ppg), 6,726 assists (7.6 apg) and 1,369 steals (1.5 spg). Awesome numbers for me.
The main reason I'm writing about Bogues is that he should be the player Filipinos, most of whom are vertically handicapped, should emulate the most. I mean, at 5-3, Bogues had found a way to excel using this long-tested formula – hard work, determination, hunger and discipline.
And oh, did I mention he has a heart as big as the basketball and nerves as strong as steel?
And although I will not have a chance to see you in person or to ask you questions I've been itching to ask you, you will forever be in my "Idol" list. That's Tyrone Curtis Bogues. Or Muggsy Bogues.
NBA postscripts: I'll probably write something about fearless forecasts in my next blog but I'm having really a difficult time. Do I think the Miami Heat will successfully defend the title? Or it’s the Oklahoma Thunder that will emerge as champions this time? We'll see in the next couple of weeks...The New York Knicks' J.R. Smith has been named the Sixth Man of the Year and the Indiana Pacers' Paul George the Most Improved Player awardee. The Memphis Grizzlies' Marc Gasol is also the Defensive Players of the Year winner. They all DESERVE the plums...Yao Ming, China's Great Wall, is coming to Manila this May and he will bring his Shanghai Sharks to play a PBA selection and the Smart Gilas Pilipinas 2.0 in a pair of exhibition games. There is a strong chance that Yao, who spent nine seasons with the Houston Rockets before succumbing to various injuries, may play briefly. That would be a treat to Filipino fans, who consider Yao also as an inspiration just like Bogues.
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