World's Tallest Basketball Pro Can Dunk Standing Still
MIDTOWN — White men may not be able to jump, but Paul "Tiny" Sturgess doesn't need to — he can dunk standing still.
"I try to jump a little bit, sometimes, to dunk," said Sturgess, a Harlem Globetrotter and the tallest basketball player in the world at a towering 7-foot-8. "I don't have to jump a lot to do [dunk]."
Sturgess, who hails from the tiny English town of Loughborough, population 57,600, is making his big time Manhattan debut on Feb. 18 with the Globetrotters.
"I've not been to New York yet," he told DNAinfo Wednesday during a phone interview from his tour bus, saying he was "somewhere" in the U.S. "I've seen Manhattan in the movies, I'm interested to see what real city life is like."
The upcoming show at the Garden, a comedic spectacle of dunks, jumps, spins, and other flashy basketball moves, is sure to showcase Sturgess' height, especially when he's paired with Jonte "Too Tall" Hall, who at 5-foot-2, is the shortest Globetrotter ever.
"We do a couple things in the show that accentuate our height difference," Sturgess said with a laugh. "Obviously, I can't tell you much more than that. You're going to have to come see the show."
Sturgess, who was recognized by Guinness World Records as the world's tallest pro-basketball player in November 2011, grew up in a country without much of a basketball culture.
He said he was drawn to the game from an early age: even before he shot up to the towering height that allows him to dunk a ball while standing on his tip-toes.
Sturgess honed his game while playing for Mountain State University in West Virginia and was recruited by the Globetrotters not long after he graduated in May 2011.
As you might imagine, he sees his height as quite the advantage on the court.
"It definitely helps, especially with rebounding and blocking," he said. "I've got long legs, so I can run up and down the court really well."
The Harlem Globetrotters will play at Madison Square Garden on Feb. 18 at 7:30 p.m.