Fall aims to make his professional debut when the NBA season begins at the end of October
Tacko Fall only stepped on to a basketball court seven years ago – but the imposing 7ft 5in Senegalese is now hoping to become the tallest active player in the NBA.
Two and a half inches shorter than retired Romanian player Gheorghe Mureșan – the NBA’s tallest ever player – 23-year-old Fall is battling to make the Boston Celtics’ 15-man roster for the upcoming season after signing for the franchise in the summer.
The Celtics decided to move for Fall after he recorded the highest marks ever for wingspan (8ft 2.25in), standing reach (10ft 2.5in) and height with shoes (7ft 7in) at the NBA Draft Combine earlier this year.
Born in Dakar in 1995, Fall moved to the United States aged 16 – when he already stood at 7ft tall – and went on to play college basketball for the University of Central Florida.
His final game for the UCF Knights came against the Duke Blue Devils in a NCAA Tournament second-round clash, where he held his own against Zion Williamson, the New Orleans Pelicans star who was first pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.
“It’s a dream come true. I started basketball when I was 16, a bit late,” the centre told BBC Sport Africa’s Babacar Diarra.
“When I went to the US, I had many opportunities there. Many people helped me continue developing especially at the University of Central Florida.”
Fall admits he “wasn’t really aware of what basketball was” growing up, devoting his time instead to watching cartoons, but revealed that it was his grandma’s love for the sport that brought it to his attention.
It soon became his focus after he arrived in America as a teenager, although his entrance into the sport was not without its challenges.
“I was in Houston for a year. Then I kind of made the rounds: I went to Tennessee, Georgia, then to Florida. I stayed there for two years in high school and then I went to UCF.
“I worked so much to get this opportunity to play in the NBA. So right now, I am dreaming.
“Now, basketball is my life. If I don’t play for one day, it drives me crazy.
“I feel blessed. I am just a little kid from Senegal, I barely started playing basketball six years ago. God truly blessed me.”
source: bbc Africa sports 🏀