MATTHEWS – Former NBA star Muggsy Bogues was in town June 17 to host his annual co-ed developmental camp, but the opening day was a special experience for Reco Truesdale.
Truesdale, 16, is a junior at Lancaster High School with big aspirations of becoming a sports reporter like his idol, ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith.
Bogues helped him achieve that first over the NBA All-Star Weekend, which was held in Charlotte earlier this year. There, Bogues used his connections with the Hornets to set up an interview with Portland Trail Blazer Seth Curry, who played collegiately at Duke after starring at Charlotte Christian.
Now Truesdale got a chance to interview the campers, finding out their names and what drew them to the camp with Bogues.
Finally, Truesdale and South Charlotte Weekly sports editor Andrew Stark sat down with Bogues to ask a few questions of what the beloved former Charlotte Hornet is up to and why it’s important to host the camp every year at Crews Recreation Center.
Reco Truesdale: What was the main thing that helped you persevere during your career?
Muggsy Bogues: The thing that helped me persevere was confidence and believing in myself. Where I came from in the inner city of Baltimore there were a lot of challenges I was faced with and a lot of adversity I had to overcome, as well. The main issue was believing in me, seeing what I wanted out of life, how to pursue it and how to go about it. It’s mainly understanding what it meant to prepare myself and learning all of the elements that came along with it.
RT: You’ve done a lot during your career, but what was your main accomplishment?
MB: My main accomplishment to me is raising my family. I was able to give them a proper platform and opportunity and give them a life that I didn’t have in the beginning of my early childhood. Just being able to give them what life has to offer and instilling the proper values and principles and make them proper citizens. My biggest accomplishment was being able to provide for them but still give them that good upbringing.
RT: What makes you want to give back to the community and help with the youth with your camps?
MB: I felt like where I came from and not having much and having help to get me where I’ve gotten it’s my duty and my nature making sure that if I’m in the position to help others than I’m all for it. Being able to be in the position and to see that you have an impact and you can make a difference that’s a gratifying feeling to have and very humbling to be in that position.
Andrew Stark: Reco, why do you want to be a sports writer?
RT: I looked up Stephen A. Smith and I saw that was one of the first things that he did. That’s what I want to be and I know Muggsy is a great person to start with.
AS: Muggsy, you were in Toronto recently during the playoffs getting honored. What was that like for you to be a part of that?
MB: It was great. Any time you have some type of involvement with the organization in the past – and I have worked blood, sweat and tears with the guys – but all of a sudden after it’s all said and done, they’re in a position to put some delightful things in their city. For Toronto to be in the position to have the opportunity to win a championship was a fine feeling. I know the owner and a lot people involved, so it was a special time for me even though I was only there for two years.
AS: The fans in Toronto seemed to be a raucous group who really supported their team. How do fans in Canada compare to those from Charlotte?
MB: Fans are fans. In Charlotte when I was here and still today, it’s been unbelievable. The hospitality is unreal and it’s still surreal for me knowing people appreciate what you’ve done and support you. They did it for me and my family throughout. Toronto did, too. They supported me and even to this day, I’m still one of the few alumni who continues to do stuff with them. It’s a good feeling. Dell (Curry) and I were fortunate enough to play nine years in Charlotte and two in Toronto. It’s a good feeling and I’m happy for that franchise because they have some good folks running it.
AS: You’ve been running these camps (There is also a Muggsy Bogues Back to School Basketball Camp, Aug. 5-9) for a while now. Why is it important to have these camps, and especially so locally in Matthews?
MB: The camps are important to me because it’s the youth. You’re dealing with the youth and you’re trying to get them to understand a platform and how to go through it. Some folks are more confident than others, but through my camps, I’m able to try to build one’s self-esteem. Some of the kids come to camp just interested in the game of basketball, but really not fully committed to it. The parents probably know of me and they send the kids over, and that’s what I love about it. It’s not just about basketball, and that’s what I love because it’s building ones confidence and making them feel good about themselves. We do it through basketball, but I’ve just been blessed to give back and make sure kids have a place to go that’s safe and it’s positive and uplifting. Of course you’re going to get a good meal from my wife, but more importantly, it’s about being respectful and being in a good cultural atmosphere to excel.
AS: You get another platform to help Reco be a sports writer for a day. Why was that important to you?
MB: When I found out his aspirations and wanting to be a sports writer and have that driving force burning in his stomach, I wanted to help. I know some people in the industry, and asked if it was possible. We got the opportunity at the All-Star Weekend. I told them there was a young man with a burning desire to be a reporter and got the opportunity for him to take part in it. That’s what it’s all about. We all don’t do it by ourselves, and we have people helping us out along the way.
AS: I can’t let you leave without one Hornets question, so the big one is what are we going to do with Kemba Walker? What are your thoughts on that?
MB: Everyone wants to know about Kemba this summer. It is dicey. He had a great run in Charlotte, and I hope it continues, but there’s a lot of things and a lot of questions that have to happen. Our payroll isn’t favorable toward his salary, so they have to make some moves, make some changes and try to build. Mitch Kupchak has his hands full no question. He’s behind that phone trying to make some things happen.
AS: I first met you when you were the coach at United Faith. Are there any thoughts of you getting back into high school coaching?
MB: No. My grandson is coming up and he’s about to be in high school so I’m going to take part in him doing it, but do it from the sidelines. I’ll be in the stands watching, not from the bench.