Kenny George is a center who currently plays for the University of North Carolina at Asheville (UNCA) Bulldogs. At 7 feet 8 inches he is the tallest college basketball player in the United States and is believed to have the biggest foot of any basketball player in the world at U.S. shoe size 28. Oh my.
Kenny is the tallest player to ever suit up for the UNCA Bulldogs, and the tallest to ever play in the Big South Conference. Currently a junior, he leads U.S. college basketball in blocked shots averaging 5.3 per game.
Gigantism or acromegaly — in which a tumor on the pituitary gland causes an oversecretion of growth hormone — may be the cause of Kenny's condition. He does not stop growing.
George was on the varsity squad by his sophomore year at the Latin School of Chicago.
He was 6-11, huge for a kid that age, but even then he had exceptionally good control of his body.
But George’s body kept growing. By his senior year, his feet had grown beyond size 23, the largest athletic shoe made. In search of a size 25, Shaquille O’Neal sent several pairs of his size 22’s to Chicago. They shipped them to a New York City shoemaker who cut off the soles and toes and reshaped them into 25’s. But George is now a size 28.
Kenny can literally dunk the ball without leaving his feet.
Because of his immense size, he has had knee problems in the past, missing two seasons after having surgery on his knee caps and lack of foot speed keeps him from getting to rebounds that fall out of reach of his big wingspan.
Whether he has had or can have the surgery to remove the abnormality in his pituitary gland is unknown - a procedure that can have negative effects on a player's abilities.
His speed in the open court has shown some improvement but will need to get a lot better before he could be expected to contribute anything in the NBA. It's questionable whether he first can pass an NBA physical, and second whether he has the quickness to keep up with the flow of traffic in the NBA to make plays in the half court set.
Kenny George is right out of a novel. If his basketball career doesn't take off, he could certainly look into a career in movies as his 7-foot-8 size could make him an Andre the Giant or Gheorghe Muresan type of star on the big screen.
By all reports a great kid with a lot of fans and supporters. When you see him play, it's hard not to root for him.
Naturally such immense size brings serious drawbacks. George’s joints are under considerable stress, and everything from buying shoes to going out with his friends can be difficult.
He is too tall to fit into a driver’s seat, so he does not have a driver’s license and must ask friends for rides. When the semester ends, his father drives 650 miles from Chicago, his hometown, to Asheville so George does not have to squeeze into an airplane seat.
George says he faces no long-term health problems because of his size, but still has his pituitary gland checked by an endocrinologist once a month. “I’d probably still be tall if I didn’t have an overactive pituitary — just not 7-8,” he said. At 7' 8'' Kenny makes dudes who are 6 foot 8 look like little children.
George hopes to play in the NBA, but he has other interests — including graphic design, animation, comic books and cartoons. He arrived on campus with storyboards of movie ideas; he has written several short stories and screenplays and said he would like to produce films.