To have as successful an NBA career as Muggsy had at an absurdly-small 5’3″ probably required the ability to shake off endless short jokes from teammates, coaches, fans and everyone else, while being fearless and never the one to back down from a challenge. And that is exactly what he showed taking on bigger and stronger players. Especially on one occasion in which he faced Michael Jordan.
It was Game 1 of the 1995 Playoffs, as the Charlotte Hornets were hosting the Chicago Bulls. The Bulls got the rebound of Muggsy’s missed 2-point jumper and were trying to get a transition bucket. In this sequence Muggsy took Jordan, and MJ didn’t hesitate to try to take advantage of the height mismatch.
Jordan got the ball at the three-point range and immediately started backing him down into the mid-range area. When he got in position he tried to do his patented midrange fade away, but when he turned around Muggsy cleanly swiped the ball from him and caught it getting ready to start a fast break, but he was called for illegal defense. You could easily argue it was clean, but a name as Michael Jordan got the call as most times but it didn’t take anything away from Muggsy’s great pesky defense.
Later in the series, Jordan would get his revenge. In a crucial Game 5 later in the series Muggsy Bogues took the ball in an important possession with Michael Jordan guarding him. Eventually, Jordan stepped back and gave Bogues the space to shoot the rock. “Shoot it you f****** midget," MJ barked. The 5-foot-3 guard obliged and didn't come close. The Bulls won the game, 85-84, and moved onto the semifinals to play the Orlando Magic.
According to Johnny Bach, who was a coach on that 1995 Hornets team, Bogues told him that moment ruined his career. He was never the same, averaging just 5.9 points per game for the remainder of his career after three straight years of putting up double-digit points.