World's tallest basketball player visits Kettering school

A world record holder and Harlem Globetrotters star visited a Kettering school as part of anti-bullying week.

By Sam Wildman
Thursday, 21st November 2019, 4:54 pm
Updated Thursday, 21st November 2019, 4:55 pm
Paul with KBA primary pupils.
Paul with KBA primary pupils.

Former professional basketball player Paul Sturgess stunned primary pupils during an assembly at Kettering Buccleuch Academy by standing up to reveal his height - 7ft 7in.

He became a Guinness World Record holder in 2011 as the planet's tallest professional basketball player and shared stories from his career with children before 30-minute sessions with each year group.

The visit was formed part of the academy’s anti-bullying week activities, designed to raise awareness of bullying and how it can be prevented.

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Paul showed the children basketball tricks.

Abbie Underwood, curriculum lead at Kettering Buccleuch Academy, said: “Pupils’ social, moral and cultural development really is at the heart of our school. It is fundamental that we give our children as many experiences as we possibly can and show them that anything is possible if they work hard and have confidence in themselves.

"Paul was a real inspiration to all pupils and staff – his story was incredibly moving and compelling and resonated with every single child.

"He showed everyone that it is OK to be different and we can’t thank him enough for visiting us during anti-bullying week.”

Paul, 31, was nicknamed 'Tiny' and drafted by the exhibition Harlem Globetrotters side in 2011. He is the tallest ever to play for the team and joined with fellow rookie Jonte 'Too Tall Hall, who at 5ft 2in was 2.5ft shorter than him and at the time the shortest Globetrotters player ever.

Paul also shared stories from his career.

Paul wears a size 19 shoe and is the tallest man in Britain after Neil Fingleton, who was 7ft 7.5in, unexpectedly died in February 2017.

Paul featured prominently in the 2007 ITV1 television documentary Supersize Kids: Britain's Tallest Teens when he was 19 and playing at Florida Institute of Technology.

In 2014 he signed for British Basketball League side Cheshire Phoenix.

On his visit to the Weekley Glebe Road school the children mastered some new basketball tricks, developed their teamwork skills by taking part in group games and asked Paul questions about his life and career so far.

He told them about the challenges he has overcome to get to where he is today and encouraged pupils to aim high and embrace their differences.

One year 3 pupil said: “I couldn’t believe how big he was. He was so tall and nice. He told me to never worry about what anyone thinks of me.”

Another said: “Paul taught us that it is OK to be different and it isn’t how you look on the outside but how you are inside. He told us to never give up on our dreams.”