Tyrone “Mugsy” Bogues remains one of the most popular NBA players of the past 20-30 years, mostly because of his stature (though the highlights never hurt, either). His unique path to the NBA might never have kicked off if he hadn’t made a critical high school transfer to then-dominant Baltimore power Dunbar, where he was part of a legendary squad that went 59-0 across two seasons and featured no fewer than 11 (eleven!!) future Division I players, four of whom went on to star in the NBA.
Yet of that group, only Mugsy Bogues had to come up with a creative reason to attend the school. As relayed to ThePostGame, while Bogues lived directly across the street from Dunbar, ‘Baltimore Boys’ 30-for-30 Producer Bobby Sabelhaus said the point guard was barred from attending the school because of the city’s zoning policies at the time.
Fortunately for Bogues, he and Dunbar coach Bobby Wade came up with a unique strategy to get the diminutive star on campus after the school board had rejected his transfer request:
Resigned to the fact that he wouldn’t be able to transfer until the following year, Muggsy focused on his studies so nothing could impede his transfer to Dunbar. But even a year later, forces tried to prevent him from making the move. This is where Coach Wade from Dunbar stepped in and discovered a loophole in the bylaws: Baltimore public high schools allowed students to transfer anywhere in the system to pursue a course of study that wasn’t offered at the school they were currently attending.
Dunbar offered courses in dental technology that weren’t available anywhere else, so Muggsy made the case that he wanted to become a dental hygienist.
“I wasn’t attending Dunbar to learn to clean teeth,” said Bogues. “Everyone else knew it, too. That was just the way the system worked.”
That is a pretty incredible anecdote, and speaks to just how desperately Bogues wanted to play at Dunbar for Wade. His persistence paid off, of course, as he was a critical piece in Dunbar’s undefeated squads and eventually starred at Wake Forest before starring in the NBA in Charlotte.
To think: all of that might have ended differently if Bogues was more squeamish about cleaning teeth.