Tyrone “Muggsy” Bogues will serve as keynote speaker at the 78th McCormick Unsung Heroes Banquet


by Gary Adornato

McCormick & Company has announced that Baltimore basketball legend Tyrone “Muggsy” Bogues will serve as the keynote speaker at the 78th annual McCormick Unsung Heroes Banquet, which will take place on Monday, May 7th at Martin’s Valley Mansion in Cockeysville.

At just 5-feet, 3-inches, Bogues was openly mocked when he took to the rough and tumble neighborhood basketball courts of his youth in East Baltimore. However, this lightening quick point guard, with unrivaled ball handling skills, spectacular court vision, lock-down defensive ability and a logic-defying 44-inch vertical leap, stunned all of his critics throughout historical high and college school careers and an improbable, yet brilliant, NBA career.

“We are thrilled Muggsy Bogues has accepted our invitation to address our 2018 Unsung Heroes,” said Karen Steelman, Coordinator of Community Relations for McCormick & Company. “His story embodies the spirt of an Unsung Hero and he has demonstrated his commitment to our nation’s youth through his work with his Always Believe Foundation and as an NBA Ambassador in the area of world youth education.”

Bogues was the catalyst of the legendary Dunbar basketball teams of the early eighties, recently immortalized by a book and an ESPN 30-for-30 documentary. With Bogues at the helm, Dunbar won the 1981-82 high school national championship as they finished the year at 29-0 and ranked No. 1 in the nation by USA Today. At one point during his time at Dunbar, the Poets won 59 consecutive games.

Despite this success college recruiters greeted him with reluctance, fearing he was too small for big time college basketball. Wake Forest University eventually offered him a scholarship and he went on to set the Atlantic Coast Conference record for career assists and steals during his four years in Winston Salem. He was a first-team All-ACC pick in 1987 and had his No. 14 retired by the school. Bogues would also go on to win a Gold Medal as a member of the U.S. National Team at the 1986 FIBA World Championships.

Bogues’ professional career began with a brief stint with the Rhode Island Gulls in the USBL before being selected by the Washington Bullets with the 12th overall pick in the 1987 NBA draft. He still holds the distinction of being the shortest player in NBA history, which was in stark contrast to his Washington teammate Manute Bol, who at 7-feet-7, was the tallest player in NBA history at that time.

Bogues would go on to play 14 years in the NBA with 10 of those seasons coming with the Charlotte Hornets. When he left the Hornets, he was the franchise’s career leader in minutes played (19,768), assists (5,557), steals (1,067), turnovers (1,118), and assists per 48 minutes (13.5). In addition to Washington and Charlotte, he spent time with the Golden State Warriors and Toronto Raptors, scoring 6,858 career points and blocking a remarkable 39 shots, including one on 7-footer Patrick Ewing. His 6,726 career assists ranked 16th NBA history when he retired and still rank 21st all-time.

“I have always had a special place in my heart for unsung heroes,” said Bogues. “To not always be recognized for your contributions even though they are significant can get you down, but what makes them Unsung Heroes is that they keep believing and outperforming anyway. It’s something special in their heart, and for that I am honored to be the keynote speaker for the 2018 McCormick Annual Unsung Heroes Awards Banquet.”

Today, Bogues works with his nonprofit Always Believe Inc., based in Charlotte, NC where he resides with his family. He is also an Ambassador for the NBA traveling the world educating youth.

Bogues follows Baltimore Ravens’ legend Ray Lewis, who was recently elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, on the Unsung Heroes dais and joins a long list of distinguished speakers who have graced the event.

Past speakers, too numerous to list in full in this article, include legendary athletes and coaches, Olympians, prominent politicians and media personalities, and other inspiration figures. (Click here for a complete list of past Unsung Hero speakers.)

More than 100 Unsung Heroes, representing Baltimore area public and private high schools, will be honored by McCormick on May 7th. The highlight of the evening will be the announcement of two grand prize winners, one male and one female, who will each be awarded a $40,000 Charles Perry McCormick Scholarship. In addition, two runners-up will each receive a $7,500 college scholarship and two third-place winners will each receive $5,000 scholarships, bringing the total amount of scholarships to be award that evening to $105,000.