World of Sport

British giant joins Harlem Globetrotters

World of Sport

Paul 'Tiny' Sturgess has become the first Brit - and the tallest ever player - to join the Harlem Globetrotters, the legendary New York basketball team famous for their showboating and trick shot displays.

And at an incredible 7'8" he is not only the tallest Globetrotter, but is also recognised by the Guinness Book of Records as the tallest professional basketball player in the world, ahead of 7'6" Chinese legend Yao Ming.

Tiny - who says he earned his nickname "because I make everyone else look tiny when I step on to the court" - was a decent footballer in his youth in Loughborough, and is also a keen golfer whose 360-yard drives dwarf anything seen in the professional game.

And though he fancied playing golf for a living, he was persuaded to try out basketball by a teacher at his school - and he has never looked back since.

The 24-year-old was always expected to be tall: his mum is a distinctly average 5'5", but his dad is 6'8" and Tiny was on course to be a similar size when he hit 6'2" aged 16.

But in the next 12 months he grew an entire foot, and kept on going until he reached the height he is today.

Though he's only recently joined the side, Tiny is already winning an army of appreciative fans with both his enormous size and his superb ball-handling skills.

"It's awesome. It's always nice to have a big guy like this," said team-mate Herbert 'Flight Time' Lang.

"We've had a couple guys over seven foot on our roster before, but none as big as him and he has a great personality. Fans love him."

Tiny himself is keeping his feet on the ground - which is a dizzying distance away for him, of course - and staying modest.

"I feel very honoured to be a part of the Harlem Globetrotters' prestigious history," he said. "I am thankful for the opportunity to be a part of this organization, and to travel the world and meet many people from all walks of life."

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