December 16, 2014

In September, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced a commitment to reach a half-million youth in NYC through community programming for NBA All-Star 2015. Muggsy Bogues, one of the NBA's ambassadors, conducted an NBA FIT clinic for kids in the city on Monday. Afterwards, he dropped by the SI office to discuss the initiative (as well as some other important topics). 

What is your role with the NBA Fit Clinics? 

Basically, I'm an ambassador for the NBA. we're committed to going around making sure kids live a healthy lifestyle understand the importance of it. working with schools putting on basketball clinics and just making sure kids understand being healthy and eating right. we're committed to making sure they get that message across.

Do the kids know who you are?

The crazy thing about it is that Space Jam has kept me relevant. Just today, one of the kids asked me do I have my powers stolen still with me. It's amazing they can relate and put those together. I'm sure their parents tell them who I am and that I'm coming and it's a good feeling.

Did you think Space Jam would be such a big deal when you were filming it?

I never thought Space Jam would be talked about in the way it is. But it's a great movie with a great message and it gave kids something to have fun with. Seeing a guy like Michael Jordan at his stature do a movie with Looney Tunes is something special.

I saw you at the Knicks game with Larry Johnson. What was he like as a rookie?

Unbelievable. Before he broke his back, he was a freak of nature. He was explosive, which was rare for the type of size and power he had. I mean, Karl Malone was 6-foot-9 and Larry let Karl Malone know he arrived his rookie year, which is hard to do at that position. Charles Barkley, too. They all respected the guy. They all liked Larry and the way he competed and played the game. 

That Hornets squad also had Alonzo Mourning. Do you think you should've won more than one playoff series?

We had an opportunity. We were good on paper but things happen. The Hornets decided they didn't want to invest in Mourning and 'Zo took his talents to South Beach. We lost a true center and a guy who really anchored what we were trying to do. Then LJ got hurt so a lot of things happened and it went from there.

From all the photos I've seen, that team seemed to have great chemistry. 

Definitely. I've never been on a team that had 12 guys who just got along. We all went out to eat together. We all enjoyed time with each other's families. We went to events together. It was a close-knit family, which you rarely find in the NBA. And it showed on the court.

Let's talk about Curb Your Enthusiasm. How'd that all happen?

Larry David called my agent and got me on the phone. He described the scene and I knew there wasn't anyone more perfect than me to do it. It was a good script. Actually, it wasn't even a script. It was more ad-lib.

Had you watched the show before?

I had never watched it before. I'd seen Seinfeld, but once they called me I started watching and thought it was hilarious. it's a very funny show.

Did it take a few takes to film your scene?

Not really. They just described what to do and I went for it. It was so much fun. Richard Lewis and Larry David are the funniest guys you will ever meet. Just joking the entire time and telling stories. Richard Lewis couldn't believe how small I was. 

What other TV shows do you watch?

Mainly sports. I watch my Homeland but that's about it. I like this season. Other than that, not much.

What is the best movie you saw in 2014?

Probably Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. 

Which singer would you say you've listened to more than anyone else in your life? 

Marvin Gaye. That's an easy one.

You went to high school with Reggie Lewis. What was he like back then?

Reggie was great. We called him "Truck." He was very quiet and low key. He went about his business very professionally. He's just always been a class act. And it was so scary the moment he collapsed - we were playing and he just fell during the game. 

That game he collapsed was against your Hornets squad, right?

Yes it was. It scared us. At first we thought it was just routine and he fell down. I was running right beside him. But then he came back later that game and scored six points so I had no idea. 

How good do you think he could've been?

Reg was special. He had such a knack of how to score and he was starting to get that reputation. The scouting report when you played the Celtics was, "Stop Reggie Lewis." That was it. Then he'd go out there and score 35 points and you'd wonder where it came from. He was that smooth and powerful in his game to the point he could do a lot of things.



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