World of Sport

Meet the 7’4″ 13-year-old set for NBA stardom

World of Sport

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(Pic: @Kali_beer)

Say hello to Robert Bobroczky.

He's a schoolboy from Romania. And he's very, VERY tall.

Very tall indeed. At an age when most kids are still comfortably wearing clothes that are exempt from VAT, Robert is a full 18 inches taller than the average human male. So not surprisingly, the biggest teams in basketball are already buzzing around and hoping to sign him up.

He's already moved from his native Romania to Italy where he's signed up for the academy programme at the Stella Azzura Roma basketball club - though he will only take up his place when he turns 14.

So far, Robert's family have rejected other offers which have already started coming in from across Europe's best basketball teams - including Real Madrid - saying that they want him to grow up in a stable, controlled family environment.

And that's a very sound idea: the history of sport is littered with promising youngsters over the years who have fallen by the wayside, struggled to meet their potential, got riddled with injuries from playing too much too soon or even disappeared completely: football's Freddy Adu and tennis's Jennifer Capriati are but two famous examples, while in the past it's even been suggested that the likes of Michael Owen could have had far better careers at the top had they not overdone it while young.

Taking even a cursory look at Robert's physique shows just how important that could be: though he's enormously tall - and is still growing at four inches a year - he is desperately thin with it.

In fact were he to sign for an NBA team today, he would be the tallest player in the league (beating the 7'3" Tanzanian star Hasheem Thabeet of Oklahoma City) - but he would also be one of the lightest.

But Robert is training hard with his coach to work on exactly that, knowing that building his strength, stamina and speed will be crucial.

Assuming all goes well, a Euroloeague move contract is his next planned step, according to this report from Spain. And that will be a stepping stone to the big one: clearly, Euroleague stardom would be small beer (once he reaches legal drinking age) compared to a potential multi-million dollar NBA contract.

Considering that his father, Zigmond - who stands a mere 7'1'' - enjoyed a successful basketball career, there's every reason to expect that Robert has more than just sheer size on his side.

And that's just as well, because tallness in itself is no guarantee of success. Nowhere is that better demonstrated than by Paul Sturgess.

Ever heard of him? Probably not, unless you happened to catch our article about him a few months ago. But at 7'8" he's the second-tallest living Englishman, and the tallest professional basketball player on the planet.

Sturgess is currently on the books at an NBA D-League (basketball's minor league) outfit called the Texas Legends. He is lucky to even get on the court most games, and averages just 0.6 points per game when he does.

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