Google search the name Sun Ming Ming (after you read this blog) and you will find a variety of news reports, many of which I am linking to in this story, from the Greensboro News and Record, Fox Sports, The LA Daily News, Asian Sports Net, and Arizona Central dot com to name a few. There is even a Wiki Pedia listing for him.
So who is Sun Ming Ming. He is the Great 'Tall' of China, says the Fox Sports dot com Headline. He is China's rising son and the next Yao Ming according to many sports writers, scouts and his trainers.
With size 19 shoes, a size 6XL jersey, size 50 jeans and listed as 7-foot-8 and growing, at 22 years of age he may just become the tallest living person in the world.(The Guinness Book of World Records says another 7-foot-8.95 inch Chinese man claimed the title this past January.)
He will be the tallest player ever to play in the NBA if he lives out his desire to get drafted.
Sun has been working out in Greensboro, living with Rocky Manning and training for his basketball career under the tutelage of former NBA player Keith Gatlin.
Today I had the chance to document this gentle giant for an hour while he shot baskets, mostly from the outside, making swish after swish with excellent form for a tall, lumbering center. This guy can just about grab the rim flat footed and can dunk with little or no effort.
And when sports anchor Danny Harnden tried to shoot baskets with Sun doing a little light D, the first shot was a BIG RE-JECT! (Danny shot the ball with a higher arch and made one shot out of about 6.)
But even though Sun can stand in the way of even the most formidable basketball opponent, it's another kind of obstacle that is standing in Sun's lane to the NBA.
Sun has a medical condition that has to be corrected. He has a disease called acromegaly or "gigantism," a hormonal disorder that results when the pituitary gland produces excess growth hormone(GH). A tumor that is pressing on his pituitary gland is the apparent cause of the condition.
It is the reason he has grown to be so incredibly large, but could also contribute to his early death if not surgically corrected.
Without surgery, Sun will keep growing and his vital organs, especially his heart, would run out of space to function. He could die before he is 30 if the tumor is not removed.
Sun was hoping to be selected in the June 2005 NBA Draft. That might have solved his problems by giving him the financial ability to have the surgery. He was not selected in the draft and now is looking for financial help to have the surgery that carries a pricetag of about $130,000.
But once he has the surgery he will be able to increase his athletic ability that is hampered by his condition. He will be able to increase his stamina and quickness and significantly raise the chances of landing in the NBA.
Fans and supporters of the other Chinese Giant, Yao Ming of the Houston Rockets, have even set up a page on their fanclub website to help raise money for Sun.
There is also going to be a reality television show about Sun that will provide part of the funds for the operation. One report says that it is tentatively titled "The Great Tall of China." We were told it would be airing on The Discovery Channel and would include his operation to correct his medical condition.
The show is being produced by LMNO Productions, whose cameras have documented his time in the US, although there was no other cameras around during our one hour shoot with him today.
According to published reports the shows producers have pitched the show to networks and it could be on the air as early as this fall.
For now the gentle giant is still working on his basketball skills the best he can, perfecting his very nice looking long range ability while waiting for his day on the operating table.