by Dan Celentano
It was a real tough obstacle to overcome. No, it wasn’t the fact that he grew up in poverty or that his father was arrested for robbery when he was twelve. There was something else Tyrone had to overcome if he ever wanted to fulfil his dream of becoming a basketball player. Something that seemed to bother everyone else much more than it did him.
But Tyrone never listened to what other people said anyway. He still went out for his high school basketball team and not only started all four years, but guided Dunbar High School to a state championship and through two straight undefeated seasons.
“All right,” people said at this point. “High school is fine. But with your handicap, ain’t no way you’re playing college ball.” Wrong again. They underestimated the DESIRE this kid had to play the game. Tyrone wanted it and wanted it BAD. Nothing, not even his handicap, was going to stop him. After he graduated from high school, Tryone attended Wake Forest college. He played basketball all 4 years averaging 11.3 points, 8.4 assists and 3.1 steals a game. Not bad for a kid with a handicap such as he had.
Then Tryone stated talking about going into the NBA. “Paaa leeese,” people would say jokingly. “Ain’t no way.” People laughed and thought nothing of it. As far as they were concerned, the kid should be happy that he did as well as he did in college. But the NBA? FORGET ABOUT IT!
But once again Tryone believed in what HE could do and not what other people thought he could do. He wanted to play ball and wanted it bad. If only he could get an opportunity to show what he could do. If only the NBA would look past his handicap and give him a chance.
To the amazement to others, Tyrone got the opportunity he hoped for. The Washington Bullets took a chance on him and drafted him in the 13th round. He finally got his “moment in the sun.” But could he prove himself? Was his handicap too much to overcome? Would DESIRE win out over LOGIC or would LOGIC prevail?
To make a long story short, DESIRE did win over LOGIC. Not only did he play in the NBA, but he was the teams (the Hornets) leader in time played, assists, steals, turnovers and has a career average of 11.2 points a game. What’s more amazing is that this man played in the NBA for 11 years in spite of the fact that he was born with the handicap of being only 5’ 3” tall, standing just below the chest of most NBA players. The shortest man to ever play in the NBA with the likes of Jordan and all the other greats.
Tryone “Muggsy” Bogues is a great example of how the desire to want to succeed will win out over the logic to quit if a person is willing to work hard enough to achieve his or her goals. If there was only one poster hanging on the wall in my room to motivate me in WHATEVER goal I wanted to succeed in, it would be that of “Muggsy” Bogues, the little kid who could.
Dan Celentano has worked with a variety of at risk kids for close to 30 years. He is author of a book for teenagers entitled Ten Essential Facts of Life Every Teenager Should Know ( see www.teenage-book.com ), and gives advice to teenagers on his web site www.choicesforteens.com In addition to this, Mr. Celentano speaks to high school students on various issues having to do with teenagers. Currently Dan is preparing for his next project which is working with blind children on his ranch.
Dan Celentano is available for freelance writing and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.