Tuesday, January 15, 2008

So BIG, Yet Plays So small

Thanks to ESPN, a nationwide audience was able to watch in amazement the 7'7 360 pound Kenny George of UNC-Ashville. Of course, UNC-Ashville would never be aired, if they weren't playing the top ranked Tarheels of North Carolina. And still, without their giant sophmore, there wouldn't have been enough interest in the game to air it nationwide. This game was played last week, and I'm still not able to get the images out of my head. I stand at 6 feet 4 inches myself, and rarely find myself looking up to anyone. But the Tarheels' superstar, Tyler Hansbrough, who stands 6'9, resembled a child beside the enormous Kenny George.

George represented the tallest player in the college ranks, and unlike former NBA player Manute Bole, who had the 7'7 length, George also came equipped with bulk. Though he did finish the game with 4 blocks, I expected a more dominating performance from him. Size shouldn't always equate to greatness, but my first thought, if I was an opposing center would be something along the lines of, "Oh $h!t". But as I watched, the more obvious came into play. I watched a young man struggle to pull his body, and drag is size 28 shoes, from end to end. The Ashville offense would already be running a play, before he crossed midcourt.

The game moved on, and more and more it appeared to be an exhibition of one player, rather than a spotlighted game on the ESPN calendar. And once George became posterized, with the much smaller Hansbrough rising above him and slamming it through, I thought maybe the Ashville coach would call a timeout to substitute George for the bearded lady. But the ESPN ploy was effective, because I tuned in to that $h!tty game thinking size may bring an upset.

George has 2 more years to become a player, but I think in this instance his size presents a physical handicap. His court expressions often made me believe he was bored, like the kid forced into a sport he doesn't enjoy, just because of his height. Hell, I hear it several times myself. "Wow, you're tall. You play basketball?" Actually, I did, but that's besides the point. Are all short people playing mini golf?

But in all seriousness, I wish the kid the best, but I'm also hoping ESPN and other networks won't continue to use him as a sideshow act.

No comments: