The chants at the TD Garden Arena for Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens to make the change grew louder and louder. Celtics fans had come to see their 7 ft 5 rookie and they weren’t taking no for an answer.
And so Tacko Fall, from Senegal, checked in at the start of the second quarter in the Celtics preseason opener against the Charlotte Hornets.
All that’s left now is for him to convince the Celtics coaching staff he deserves a spot on their 15-man roster for the NBA season.
Tacko Fall only stepped onto a basketball court seven years ago – now he’s on the verge of becoming the tallest 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 signed for the Celtics this summer.
Boston made their move 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.
So is he feeling the pressure?
“Pressure?” replied Fall. “I feel like I’m in a dream. I’m in the Garden, playing for the Celtics with all these great players. There’s no pressure. I’m just going out there and having fun.”
“I started basketball when I was 16, a bit late,” the centre told BBC Sport. “When I went to the US, I had many opportunities there. Many people helped me continue developing especially at the University of Central Florida.”
“I feel blessed. I am just a little kid from Senegal, I barely started playing basketball six years ago. God truly blessed me.”
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