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Wilt Chamberlain, Shaquille O’ Neal, and David Robinson were all remembered in their day for being tall prominent athletes in basketball. Currently, there’s a kid in high school ball that towers over them! In fact the only professional NBA star in recent years to match the height of high schooler Tacko “Taco” Fall is Yao Ming at 7’5. Fall is just a junior in high school. He hasn’t been playing basketball very long, but he makes it look easy. Will we soon be seeing “Taco” in the NBA in just a few short years?
Honestly it’s too soon to tell. While the video shows his size is a distinct advantage on a high school level, and likely a professional level, he’s still very green. According to multiple sources tracking the teen’s development, Taco only averages about five rebounds a game, which isn’t any more or less than an average height player. For Tacko, who is originally from Senegal, it would be cool to play basketball in college and professionally, but he also dreams of becoming a biochemist.
I say good for him for trying something new so much later than those who try to achieve the dream, and to do what feels right. If he wants to go pro and make a lot of money, I’m sure here in three years there is a team who would be interested in working with him. However, most former athletes will tell you there is a tremendous sacrifice when you get groomed through high school to try and take a shot at the pros. Your social life exists within the confines of your team, your studies take a toll, and in general you miss out on a lot in life pursuing a dream that may one day never come to fruition. Of course a height advantage is going to increase your probability of success, but at what cost?
Perhaps that’s too real of a way to think about it. Right here and now “Taco” is making ESPN highlight reels and having the time of his life dunking on kids a foot and a half shorter than him. That’s a feeling that has to be great, coming from a guy who was usually the one dunked. Good luck with whatever you decide to do “Taco” and I hope to hear more about you in the future!