Muggsy Bogues & the Dunbar Poets: The 30 for 30 we all need in our lives

Before he was the NBA’s shortest player, Muggsy Bogues was the catalyst of the greatest high school basketball team ever

(Basketball Insiders)

What if I told you . . . that a public high school team from inner-city Baltimore once featured 5 future NBA Draft picks, 12 Division I players in total — and their best player was a 5'3 point guard named Tyrone MuggsyBogues.

Over the course of the 1981–82 and 1982–83 seasons, the Dunbar Poets went undefeated — 60–0 — finishing with the nation’s number 1 overall ranking in the 1982–83 season.

The class of 1982 featured Gary Graham — who went on to play at UNLV and be drafted in the 6th round of the 1987 NBA Draft — and David Wingate — who went on to win a National Title at Georgetown and be drafted in the 2nd round of the 1986 NBA Draft.

The class of 1983 was even more insane. Just look at this team!

  • Muggsy Bogues — who starred at Wake Forest and was drafted in the 1st round of the 1987 Draft;
  • Reggie Williams — who was the National High School Player of the Year, won a National Title at Georgetown and went on to be drafted in the 1st round of the 1987 NBA Draft; and
  • Reggie Lewis — a future NBA All-Star and 1st rounder in the 1987 NBA Draft . . . Oh, and the team was so good that Lewis had to come off the bench!!!

Can you imagine trying to dribble the ball up the court against Muggsy Bogues in high school!?! Don’t worry — if you somehow got by him, there were only 4 NBA players waiting for you in the front court.

The need for a 30 for 30 about this team is three-fold: first, you have, objectively, the greatest high school team ever assembled — 5 NBA draft picks and 12 D-I players overall!!! Second, you have a fascinating story about the shortest player in NBA history and everything he had to overcome to not only make it to the NBA, but to thrive in the league as well — did you know that Muggsy Bogues has, by far, the best assist-to-turnover ratio ever for his career at 4.69 assists: 1 turnover (Chris Paul is a distant second with 4.1 assist: 1 turnover)? (That stat is brought to you by Jake Sinsheimer).

And lastly, you have the heart-breaking story of Reggie Lewis, who died from sudden cardiac arrest at the tender age of 27 after blossoming into a star for the Boston Celtics — this happened in the summer of 1993, which was 7 years after Len Bias died of a cocaine overdose after being drafted by the Boston Celtics.

You’re welcome ESPN Films.

While we’re on the topic, here are some other 30 for 30s that I’d like to see:

30 for 30s that we need, and needed yesterday

The Jailblazers

What if I told you . . . that the whitest city in America rooted for a team that featured a sex offender, a dogfighter, a captain who said the team doesn’t care what the fans think, and a whole lotta potheads.

(Alternative teaser: What if I told you . . . that 2 players thought that wrapping weed in tinfoil would keep it from being detected by a metal detector.)

  • Apparently, Bill Simmons and HBO are working on producing their own 30 for 30-style documentary on Jail Blazers . . . it’s about time somebody did!

Malice in the Palace: The rapid demise of the promising Pacers

What if I told you . . . that one cup of beer could completely derail the best team in the NBA.


David Thompson: The Jordan before Jordan

What if I told you . . . that Michael Jordan was once anointed as The Next David Thompson.

Freddy Adu: The Manufacturing of a Phenom

What if I told you . . . that America’s Next Pele would be a club promotor by the time he was 25.

Club Freddy! (Complex UK)

30 for 30s that need to be made about 5–10 years from now

The Klay Thompson Game

What if I told you . . . that an unconscious 4th quarter by Klay Thompson would change the landscape of the NBA forever.

Just think about the alternate universe where Thompson doesn’t hit 5 three-pointers in the 4th quarter:

  • The Thunder beat the Warriors in Game 6 and advance to the Finals vs. the Cavs — KD/Russ vs. LeBron, Part II;
  • Draymond Green never calls LeBron a “bitch”, Klay Thompson never mocks LeBron for getting “his feelings hurt” and Alien:Covenant-mode LeBron is never unleashed;
  • Facing a non-Alien:Covenant version of LeBron, OKC wins the title — extending the Cleveland sports title drought;
  • Later that fall, the Cleveland Indians (not the Golden State Warriors) become the butt of all the “blew a 3–1 lead jokes”;
  • Durant stays in OKC;
  • The Warriors reluctantly pay a max contract to Harrison Barnes — making him, by far, their highest paid player on their roster — causing dissension in the locker room; and
  • The 2017 NBA Playoffs are actually competitive.

Seriously though, the long-term, legacy-altering ramifications from that 4th quarter are going to be incredible to look back upon 5–10 years from now.

Roaring Thunder: KD, Russ & Harden

What if I told you . . . that 3 of the 5 best players in the NBA today all played for the same team . . . until management got cheap.

Trust the Process

What if I told you . . . that the best way to get good was to get historically bad . . .and then get worse.

Reverse Lottery: The Legacy of the 2003 NBA Draft

What if I told you . . . that 4 of the first 5 picks were future Hall of Fame players and you picked Darko.

Joe’s got 2 phones — 1 for the plug and 1 for Dark-ooo (Grantland)

Cardiac Kemba: UConn’s historic run to the 2011 National Championship

What if I told you . . . that a kid from the Bronx could, in fact, do it all by himself.

( Perovich)

The Rose that Grew from the Concrete — Thorns and All

What if I told you . . . that the youngest MVP in NBA history would never even sniff the Hall of Fame.

Jesus, Judas & Satan: The Story Behind Urban Meyer’s Florida Gators

What if I told you . . . that Tim Tebow, Riley Cooper and Aaron Hernandez were all friends in college.

The Holy Trinity (Pinterest)

30 for 30s that need a 5-part OJ Simpson-style documentary

LeBron James: The Best that Always Was

What if I told you . . .that the kid from Akron was, in fact, The Chosen One all along.

Tiger Woods: Stiff Shaft

What if I told you . . . that the greatest golfer ever couldn’t keep his 3-wood in-bounds.

Part III: November 25, 2009 — talk about a night that we need to know more about — there was sex, Ambien, golf clubs getting bashed through windows, a car crash, etc. Someone needs to connect everything together. How much would someone need to pay Elin Nordegren for an interview? It’s not often that you can pinpoint a moment in someone’s career and life and say “That is the exact moment it all fell apart.”

30 for 30 along the lines of The U, Parts I & II

Money Manziel

What if I told you . . . that you could be the best player both on and off the field . . . for one year — would you do it? Johnny Football sure would.

(Total Frat Move)

30 for 30 that would be fascinating, but will never be made

The Silencer: The Secret Life of Marvin Harrison

What if I told you . . . that Peyton Manning’s go-to guy was probably a ruthless killer off the field.

30 for 30s that we’re definitely going to get, but we could really do without

JoePa: A Legendary Accomplice

What if I told you . . . that college football’s winningest coach knowingly kept a child predator around Happy Valley.

Keeping up with the Balldashians

What if I told you . . . that Lavar Ball finally shut up — for the love of God, let’s hope this is the teaser in 2030!

Thanks for reading! Throw me a 💚 if you liked the article. Check out more from Pat Heery on The Has Been Sports Blog.