How would you like to go down in history as the shortest basketball player ever in Harlem Globetrotters history?
At 5 feet, 2 inches, Jonte “Too Tall” Hall bears that distinction with pride. You'll be able to see him in action Thursday when the Globetrotters bring their 2012 World Tour to the Memorial Coliseum.
Hall is a rookie with the Globetrotters — he first stepped onto the court with them the day after Christmas. His path to becoming a player for the Globetrotters started when he was a teenager and shot high school hoops.
He played for Community College of Baltimore County in Catonsville, Md., graduating in 2003. He spent the past year and a half as a member of the Washington Generals, an exhibition basketball team that frequently plays against the Globetrotters, before signing on with the Globetrotters.
Becoming a basketball star didn't come easily for Hall.
“Being small kind of made me work extra hard,” he said in a telephone interview from Nashville. “I always wanted to be taller. As I got in high school, I started accepting it.”
He also started working on the tough shots, learning how to be effective at his size. He spent hours at the gym, devoting extra time to perfecting his shots.
“I bring a lot of shooting ability to the team,” he said. His specialties are his dribble and 4-point shots, which are taken 35 feet away from the basket.
Growing up, he was inspired by 5-foot, 3-inch Muggsy Bogues, an NBA player from Baltimore. “He had me by an inch,” Hall said.
And there were others, such as NBA player Earl Boykins, who is 5-5.
“Guys like that kind of paved the way for me,” Hall said. “They pretty much gave me hope.”
The fact Hall was able to overcome the odds and succeed at basketball despite his short stature gives him a unique perspective. And it puts him in a good position to offer advice to a kid who might want to do a sport or activity but thinks he's not good enough or big enough.
This is what Hall would say to that kid: “Look, you can be anything you put your mind to. Put God first. You've gotta keep praying. … Never give up. You've gotta be positive. Work hard. You will succeed.”