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.
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 didn’t know how to play. I had many things to learn. I was lucky, many people helped me, developed me,” he says.
“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.”