No matter how often he returns to Baltimore, Muggsy Bogues continues to feel chills whenever he visits the place where he was born and raised.
"[I've got] the jitterbugs," said the 5-foot-3 Charlotte Hornets point guard. "I've still got some butterflies in my stomach. This city just has some great memories for me."
Those memories helped persuade Bogues, who was named the Hornets' Most Valuable Player last season, to return to his alma ++ mater, Dunbar High School, and join Baltimore Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke yesterday to announce the Muggsy Bogues All-Star Classic Sept. 8 at the Baltimore Arena.
Bogues made the announcement at Dunbar, which he led to a 31-0 season and a mythical national championship in 1983, before two stands filled with children.
"I have an opportunity to do something special for the city of
Baltimore," he said. "This city is special to me, and this city deserves a lot."
Bogues said he could have organized a game for Charlotte.
"But I'm glad it didn't work out there," Bogues said with a smile. "Baltimore is my home, and I've always considered it my home. I mean, I live in Charlotte and I like it there. But Baltimore is something you can't get out of me."
Bogues said the main reason he brought the game to Baltimore was for the children.
"You've got a lot of good kids in the projects, and they don't get a chance to see NBA players," Bogues said. "I'm trying to change that, and show them that someone is in their corner. . . . Once they hear something like that, you'd be surprised at what they can do. They just need someone to tell them that."
Schmoke said: "Muggsy as a symbol emphasizes literacy and demonstrates that any guy can overcome all obstacles to achieve his dreams. Both messages are important."
Chauncey Gilmer, 12, a seventh-grader at Saint Katherine's School, joined Bogues on the basketball court after the news conference.
"Other people will probably think that he [Bogues] doesn't care about us because he's making all this money and is an NBA star and all," Gilmer said. "But Muggsy's not like that. He comes and visits us, like, four times a year."
What: Muggsy Bogues All-Star Classic, one of 10 NBA-sanctioned benefit games
When: Sept. 8
Where: Baltimore Arena
BBenefits: Baltimore Reads, a nonprofit organization that provides literacy courses to nonreading adults
Tickets: Priced $11 to $30, on sale now; can be purchased by calling (410) 481-SEAT, at Arena or at TicketMaster locations.