England may not be renowned for its basketball prowess, but it does hold one interesting record: The world's tallest professional player.
Paul "Tiny" Sturgess, is listed at a whopping 7'8", a full 7 inches taller than Shaquille O'Neal. Hailing from Leicestershire, he has been in America since 2007 playing for his University team and subsequently famous exhibition side Harlem Globetrotters. He now plays in the NBA's second-division "D-League" for the Texas Legends, who are hoping to develop his game for the highest level.
That may be a tall task, writes Eurosport in a recent profile:
Sturgess hasn’t seen much court time, because despite his size, his body isn’t yet court-ready in the eyes of many. And as it turns out, developing Sturgess’s body to handle the demands of pro basketball is surprisingly complicated.
For starters, Sturgess is not especially well-conditioned. The 26-year-old left his native England in 2007 to play college ball in the States, and after school he joined the Harlem Globetrotters in 2011. There, he was known for his “No Jump Dunk.” He played in exhibition games for a team focused on entertainment, not competitive development.
"Not to take anything away from Paul’s accomplishments with the Globetrotters, but they didn’t practice, they rehearsed," said Travis Blakeley, the Legends' director of player personnel and assistant coach.
And if he sounds familiar to any Brits out there, there may be a reason (besides the fact that it would be difficult to forget a 7'8" man): He appeared on ITV's documentary Supersize Kids: Britain's Tallest Teens way back in 2007.
Hopefully Britons will be able to catch Sturgess facing off against the world's biggest stars in the NBA soon.