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7-9 Giant Sun Mingming (USBL, ABA, IBL, Mexico-LNBP)

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  • 7-9 Giant Sun Mingming (USBL, ABA, IBL, Mexico-LNBP)

    For those of you who don't know, Sun Mingming (1983-C-233) is one of the world's tallest people. While his 7-9 frame (he weighs 370lbs) is enough to garner interests from the NBA, like most giants his speed and stamina are seriously in question. Sun hopes he can enter the NBA, but so far he has not played professionally anywhere. (His home team Heilongjiang plays in China's second division, but Sun was too slow to pass the minimum running requirement.) With the help of his agent Charles Bonsignore he has relocated to Ventura, California for the past year and had a brain tumor removed after funds were raised to help him. For more about him, see

    Sun has recently joined the minor league USBL team Dodge City Legend in Kansas, where he wears #55.

    Official press release
    General Manager and Head Coach, Dale Osbourne is excited to welcome Sun as a member of the team. "The fans and team cannot wait for Sun to arrive. We feel that the USBL is the perfect opportunity for Sun to finally get on the basketball court and play the game he loves." Osbourne said.

    Sun is equally excited. "I am very happy and thankful to the people in Dodge City. I will always play hard and be a good team player. This has been a long process and it is still early in my career. I know I must continue to get faster and will put in the training necessary to accomplish my goals. At this time, I want to once again thank all the families from around the country who donated money toward my surgery. Your generosity will never be forgotten."
    Joshua Kinder of the Dodge City Daily Globe wrote:
    Legend signs world’s seventh tallest man

    Move over Yao Ming, there’s a new Chinese star looking for the riches of playing in the NBA, and believe it or not, he’s even bigger than the 7-foot-5-inch Houston Rockets star.

    Standing an astonishing 7-foot-9-inches and weighing 370 pounds, Sun Ming Ming signed this week with the Dodge City Legend in the hopes of developing his game to make a run at the next level.

    Sun, just 22 years old, came to the United States a little more than a year ago and declared for the 2005 NBA Draft, but was not selected, mainly due in large part to the consensus of NBA scouts and coaches that thought he lacked speed and mobility at his size.

    But much of his poor stamina was traced back to a brain tumor attached to his pituitary gland, thus making him grow at a much faster rate and more fatigued, quicker. He had the tumor removed this past August and has since been given a clean bill of health, said Legend head coach and general manager Dale Osbourne.

    Osborne just returned from a trip to Ventura, Calif., where Sun has been living and working out the last six months. He's been practicing with Ventura Junior College to help get back in playing shape.

    And his next stop is Dodge City, where he'll make his professional debut and try to get back on the NBA Draft board. The USBL also produced 7-foot-6 Manute Bol, who went on to lead the NBA in blocks twice and make it the 1986 All-Defense team. And if Sun does ever make to the NBA, he'd be the tallest ever in the league, just ahead of 7-foot-7 Gheorghe Muresan.

    But Osbourne said Sun, who is the seventh tallest person in the world according, has a long way to go before he'll be playing along side the Yao's and Shaq's of the NBA. Sun, who played for the Chinese Junior National Team, has to improve on his agility and become better at running the floor.

    "He’s going to learn the pro game and see how much harder he’s going to have to work to get to the NBA," Osbourne said. "He’s running floor a lot better and his endurance is improving since the surgery. He’s come a long way, but he has a long way to go too. His mobility and consistency in running the floor is his biggest problem.

    "But when you’re as big as he is, it’s a load."

    That too will change the way Osbourne coaches this season, because though it seems Sun would be a force in the paint, his speed, or lack thereof, will impact the way the Legend play.

    "This is the biggest human being I have ever seen," Osbourne said. "I’ve stood next to Shaq and this guy is a lot bigger than Shaq. He’ll create some problems for other teams, but he’ll cause some problems for us too. You have to coach differently when a guy like that is in the game."

    Former NBA and collegiate star Roy Tarpley, who joined the Legend late last season, is expected to return to Dodge City this season and according to Osbourne, is excited to work with Sun on the ins and outs of the pro game.

    "He’s 7-foot-9. You don’t have to be really skilled in basketball at that height," Osbourne said. "But the running, reacting, the jumping, he’s never been taught any of that. Roy is looking forward to working with him. It just makes sense. You put a guy that has NBA experience, a 7-footer as well, with Sun and work with him, it can only be a good thing."

    Sun's size will also be an issue just in getting him to Dodge City. He's expected to arrive several days before the Legend's April 23 season-opener at Nebraska, but will not be able to fly in to the Dodge City airport. He won't fit on the plane.

    "I got to go to the Dodge House and get him two beds put together," Osbourne said. "When you’re that big for the rest of your life, how do you do all the little things that we don’t even think about, just taking showers and living life? When we fly him out here, I have to make sure he’s in an exit row. I can’t put him on a plane and fly him here. He won’t fit. When I get him in Wichita, I have to have an SUV. He won’t fit in my Toyota Camry.

    "There’s a lot of things to think about."
    Roy Tarpley, mentioned in the article, broke his hand in December and will not rejoin the team soon.

    From Dodge City Legend Basketball show with head coach Dale Osbourne and Joshua Kinder aired on April 22
    JK: How did this come about?

    DO: I got a phone call on September of 2005 from a friend of mine, Harold Woolfark, Sun Mingming's agent. He said, "I've got a young man from China, he's 7 foot 9." I said, "Excuse me?" ... He had an operation. He had a (tumor beside his) pituitary gland grown in his brain. When they first flown him over from China, they were working him out, and he was getting real tired. So they obviously took some test and found it in his head. They took it out, and he was hospitalized and had to get on some medication. After he got out of the hospital, he started working out and getting strong. And when I got the phone call in 05, Harold told me what was going on with him, and I said, "OK, soon we will look at him." About two months ago, he called me back, and said "Sun is getting stronger, he's getting better, he wants to give USBL a shot, to see where he stands right now." I said "Sure, fine", so I flew out there about a month ago and had a chance to meet him. And he IS 7 foot 9, he is 370 pounds, he's a large young man. When I watched him work out, I've seen a lot of upside, seen a lot of potential there. He's 22 years old, and I think what a lot of people have to remember is that, he's only been playing basketball 2 or 3 years, and hasn't been--I shouldn't say--didn't have the best coaching. Plus he got sick, had to gain his strength back. Now he's working out again, he's come a long way, but he still has a long way to go. One thing I love about the guy is he loves to play basketball, he loves to watch the NBA on TV--we watch games together--and he wants to get better. Brian Hoberecht has done an outstanding job working him out on some one on one stuff and the one thing me and him talk about all the time is that Sun Mingming really works hard. We've had been working him out for about 7 days, he probably had one bad day fighting through some things that we liked him to do. But other than that, he's done everything we asked. Being 7 foot 9, 360, 370 pounds is a load. So we really try to concentrate and focus on running the floor, obviously his endurance, and also the fact that basketball is a game of changing directions. So we've been working on him in that aspect of the game, but 22 years old and 7 foot 9, you can't teach 7 foot 9; 370 pounds, you can't teach that kind of stuff, so we hope to see some good things from him.

    JK: What's his biggest drawback at this point? Is it the speed? Or is it getting used to the American game?

    DO: I think the speed. The USBL is a league of guards, so it's a fast game. But I think that's good for him. I think he needs to realize that, and see how much harder he has to work. Changing directions like I've mentioned before. His endurance. But he's getting better. He's the guy that picks things up. He's smart, he speaks pretty good English, and he wants to learn. Every time we've asked him to work out, we asked him to get up early and work out, he's been there. The first day of practice, it was a two-hour practice, doing nothing but running. And I know the last 15 to 20 minutes, the guy was running in lines, and he was just...I said to myself, "I hope 7 foot 9 and 370 pounds doesn't fall on the floor because I don't know how to get him up." But he kept running the drills, he didn't stop and he didn't quit. And he said afterwards, "Coach I was tired but I wasn't going to stop because I have to work hard." So that's the thing you have to love about him. Being 22 years old, there is a lot of upside there for him.

    JK: You told me about a coversation you had with him initially, and you wanted to find out whether or not he was actually playing basketball because of his size, or because he wanted to.

    DO: Yeah, I think that's very important, a lot of people play the game of basketball because they are tall, they've been teased or pressured to play basketball. So I asked him the first minute in Ventura, California, I said, "I need to find out one thing. Do you play because you are 7 foot 9 or do you play because you love to play?" He said, "No, I love to play." And since he's been here...First we brought him out here earlier than the other guys, and we worked him out, but also I heard the fact that he had his basketball in the hotel, because they have a little basket in the hotel lobby, and he's out there shooting all the time, so that's telling me the guy really does love to play the game of basketball. And any time you have a passion, and you love to play, you are going to get better, and that's what I think he understands.

    JK: How far can he go?

    DO: That's kind of hard to tell right now, it depends on how hard he wants to work. So far he's shown he really wants to work hard to get better. One thing I'm hoping he learns in playing for Dodge City in USBL, that this is a step away from the NBA, so you have to play really hard, if you can conquer this step, hopefully the next step can be the NBA. One thing I have to point out, just like I said, he's only 22 years old, he's not like he's 30 or 31. Twenty-two years old, he's only been playing basketball for 2 or 3 years. We've seen great improvement only over the week of practice, so hopefully if he continues to improve, you never know what will lead to him.
    A Chinese newspaper "Sports Weekly" sent a reporter Gu Lin to Dodge City to cover him. Here's my translation of his April 25report.
    Sun Mingming: Close to the rim, but far away from the NBA

    Dodge City, KS--The 7-9 Chinese giant Sun Mingming debuts in the United States Basketball League (USBL) on April 23rd. At 3pm, all of the 1000 some seats in Dodge City Civic Center are filled, since this is the home opener of the Legend team, based in this central Kansas city with a population of only 30,000.

    Ten days after arriving, Sun Mingming received the loudest cheers from the home fans, whose team is the USBL defending champion. However, head coach Dale Osbourne did not let him start. Every time a time-out was called or when the quarter was about to start, Sun Mingming would always stand up, both hands on the lower part of his sports wear, pulling constantly as if he wanted to give the coach signals. Each team led for about 20 minutes, but in the last 5 minutes the game kept going back and forth. In the end, the Chinese giant finished the game as a spectator on the bench. "Of course I am disappointed, I was hoping I could perform." Sun Mingming lowered his head, pulling his pants unconsciously. "My goal is the NBA, this has never changed. But I know I have a long way to go. Coach said I can play in the next game in Pennsylvania. Right now I need to get playing time first. This is my short term goal."

    Legend's head coach Osbourne is a 6-6 outgoing big black man. After his first victory, he said with a shade of embarassment: "Today I didn't let Sun play, because I didnt want to take chances. I can't rush in a game like this. Sun can't either." Then he is getting more direct: "To tell you the truth, Sun is not up to the level of starting yet. He can't run and he can't jump. But he's only 22 and still has a lot of potential."

    But on the night after the game, Sun Mingming's agent Charles Bonsignore had a different explanation over the phone. He explained, since Sun just joined the team, the custom-made giant size uniform had not yet arrived, and the smaller uniforms don't fit the Chinese giant. Sun Mingming also said: "During the game, inside my outfit was not my #55 but a #8 jersey, which they lengthened on the bottom to fit me. Coach told me this is one of the reasons I didn't get to play today."

    There are at least 2 reasons why Bonsignore sent Sun Mingming to this team. One, since the 2000 season the team has already won 3 USBL champions. Two, the team promised to give Sun Mingming sufficient playing time. Ever since visiting America for the first time in 2001, Sun Mingming has never played in professional games. Speaking about his weaknesses, the giant sounded very clear: "It's critical for me to improve my conditioning." Since the surgery last year, Sun Mingming had been training by himself in Ventura, California. The removal of the tumor improved his conditioning greatly, but still not to the level that professional baskeball demands.

    It is not an easy task to improve his conditioning here. During the season, the Legend focuses on running plays and shootings in their 2-hour daily training session. The head coach confessed he had "not designed a play to make use of" the Chinese giant. Of course Sun Mingming could not receive a special treatment of improving his conditioning with someone.

    "During practice I think about a lot of things: the moves during the game, my stamina. But on the court if I get exhausted after running 2 laps, I won't be able to box out, shoot and pass like I would like to." Appearing firm, he stopped for a few seconds. Since he didn't get to play in the game, nothing could cheer him up. Sun Mingming had always dreamed about playing, and what would happen during the game. "The smaller American players always get excited when they see a foreign big man. Everybody wants to dunk on me. I won't let them even if it means to throw them to the ground. I know what I should do; I need to be more agressive." Sun Mingming's basketball dream looks hard to fulfill, but he's prepared to work hard and play hard. "Tip-toe dunking? I can't do that. But I can jump up and throw it down, with force."

    The Chinese giant stands very close to the rim, but far away from the NBA. The good news is, he will never give up.

    Sun’s daily Life

    The 7’9’’ big man has always been lonely since arriving in North Carolina for training in 2004. The language barrier had been his biggest obstacle, so when he first arrived in the US he almost never spoke. When remembering those days, he stated matter-of-factly: “It’s much better now. I knew there would be such problems even before coming to the US, and Agent Charles had told me to get prepared.” Language is not the only big problem. Currently Sun Mingming still only holds a US visitor visa, and the Dodge City Legend and Charles Bonsignore are trying to get him a new work visa.

    “When I first arrived I knew no English word other than YES and NO. I was alone in North Carolina, no family, no friends. Back then, the only communication I had was answering YES when they asked me if I was hungry. When I’m done eating dinner I go to sleep, no recreation or anything.”

    Since then he had bought an $800 laptop, so before going to bed at night he can play some solitary or watch some television. Finally some recreation in his life. However, during practice in the day, he still faces language problems. “It’s actually easier at practice than doing something else, since I can just follow what others are doing,” he said. “Most of the time I don’t understand the plays that coach told us, but it’s quite helpful to look at where everyone else is running.”

    To overcome the language problem, he got hold of a tape recorder and some English tapes. Unfortunately the recorder stopped working recently. “I’m going to buy a new one in a few days,” he said. “It’s hard to learn without a teacher, but I’ve got to learn, otherwise it’ll be painful.” The giant knows quite well the limits placed on his progress if he could not fully comprehend his coaches and teammates. However, at least for now, his agents cannot hire a translator or a language teacher just for him.

    However, after the surgery and the recovery, as well as being on his own in the US, Sun Mingming now sees everything optimistically. “There is no obstacle I can’t overcome. When I first came here, I didn’t know that fried eggs with cheese can be so delicious. I’m only 22, English shouldn’t be a problem for me.”

    Sun Mingming is a smart man. He wouldn’t miss an opportunity to speak with teammates or locals even though he couldn’t understand much. “The only way to learn is to speak. You also won’t progress when you don’t get to play; language is just like basketball. Right now I’m determined to achieve something here.”
    Last edited by sinobball; 06-06-2006, 02:46 AM.
    aim low, score high

  • #2
    7-FOOT-9 Sun Ming Ming is working to convert himself from SIDESHOW into a SHOWSTOPPER

    The Wichita Eagle

    SALINA - There is the thought that he should be used to it by now. After all, Sun Ming Ming of China has been really tall -- extraordinarily tall -- for a long time. There's also the idea that he has been through worse. In September, doctors removed the tumor attached to the pituitary gland in Sun's brain. It was responsible for the production of excess growth hormones, the ones that made him nearly 7 feet, 9 inches at age 22. Those hormones would have killed him within the next decade by eventually making his internal organs too large to function.

    So he has faced death, pondered that fate heading into brain surgery.

    What could the taunts and stares of people mean after that?

    Quite a bit, actually, which was again evident Friday night in Salina. As Sun took the Bicentennial Center court with his Dodge City Legend teammates before a United States Basketball League game against the Kansas Cagerz, there were countless eyes bulging, numerous giggles and more than a handful of jaws that dropped.

    And who can blame them really? How many times has anyone seen a person a shade shorter than the 7-9 at which he's listed?

    Yet it grew worse. There were references to Ling Ling, the famous panda, and at least one person said, "I didn't know they could make Asians that big -- he looks like a monster."

    Perhaps Sun has grown used to it, learned to deal with it by now. When asked after Friday's victory, the face that's normally easy to smile turned to stone as he assured that was not the case.

    "It hurts me," he said. "I'm not used to it. How could I be?"

    A different game

    How sweet it would be for Sun to get his revenge on the court, to dominate and wipe away the smirks and jeers.

    It stands to reason that someone who would have an eight-inch height advantage on Shaquille O'Neal could do just that. Unfortunately for Sun, that's not the case.

    He has little to no basketball experience. He was discovered just more than two years ago in the industrial city of Harbin, China, by Zhang Weiping, the respected basketball mind in charge of putting together China's Olympic basketball team for 2008. Sun had not played organized basketball before that.

    With the help of his agent, Charles Bonsignore, Sun declared his eligibility for the 2005 NBA Draft. He moved to Greensboro, N.C., to train, and several NBA teams held private workouts.

    The NBA scouts knew immediately Sun was not ready. At somewhere between 350 and 370 pounds, he labored up and down the court. Several scouts mentioned to Bonsignore that perhaps Sun should see a doctor because of the lack of stamina.

    So, if nothing else, Sun's pursuit of NBA glory led to the diagnosis and surgery that hopefully saves his life.

    That does not satisfy Sun. He wants to join Yao Ming -- his 7-5 countryman who has used basketball to become an international star -- in the NBA. He wants his height to be looked at as an asset, not a curiosity.

    There's a long way to go.

    Though Sun spent time after his surgery with a junior-college team in California trying to get in playing shape, it still just takes so much energy for him to move on the court.

    Entering Friday, he had appeared in half of Dodge City's six games, a total of 30 scoreless minutes. Against uptempo opponents, Sun is too big a liability.

    "He has to work on his conditioning, mobility, agility, everything," said Legend coach Dale Osbourne, who was contacted by Bonsignore about signing Sun. "But he is getting better. He really listens and learns. It's coming, and it's just going to take time."

    Yes, Sun can dunk without leaving the floor, but that does not help a great deal during games. Despite nearly swallowing the ball in his huge hands and a release point on his set shot that's nearly even with the rim, Sun has surprisingly good touch.

    He showed that in the second half Friday, when he scored the first points of his professional career by draining a 17-footer. He finished with two points, three rebounds and three fouls in 14 minutes.

    "He's just huge," said Cagerz center Eric Williams, who is 6-10. "It's funny, all my life, people have said, 'Man, you're tall.' He's the first guy I ever told, 'Man, you're tall.' "

    Sun knows that developing some semblance of a post game will be the next step after improving his speed and stamina. Before Friday night's game, Sun spent more than 10 minutes posting up and taking passes from teammate Lazarus Sims.

    A starter on the 1996 Syracuse team that played for the national championship, Sims is a veteran and de facto assistant coach for Dodge City. He has spent extra time with Sun.

    "He listens to what everyone is telling him and is really trying to get better," Sims said. "If we get in an up-and-down game, he hasn't played. But when he plays, he helps us. He sets really good picks."

    Well, that stands to reason. But even Sims seemed to be irritated that Sun is known only for his size.

    "He's just playing the cards dealt to him," Sims said. "He's a good guy. He laughs and jokes with everybody.

    "All the attention he's getting does not bother us at all, but it bothers him."

    Large obstacles

    In his scouting report on, Sun is listed as the seventh-tallest person in the world.

    However, lists Xi Shun from China as the tallest living man. At 7 feet, 8.95 inches, Xi is one-fifth of an inch taller than Sun. On a Chinese talk show, the 54-year-old Xi said he hated his height.

    "I do not like people looking at me like they're watching a strange animal," he said.

    In April, 2004, Leonid Stadnik of the Ukraine was the tallest living man at 8-4. In an Associated Press story, he painted an even darker picture.

    "My height is God's punishment," he said. "My life has no sense."

    Sun can commiserate.

    "He stops traffic in the airport, like we're traveling with the Beatles," Osbourne said. "On our last trip, I made it a point to walk about five minutes behind him. People were still going berserk, all of them talking about Sun. I saw him literally stop traffic in New York."

    But that was not the most notable thing to come out of the Legends' tourist activities in New York. They were walking past the Ed Sullivan Theater, where the "Late Show with David Letterman" is filmed, when a producer stopped Osbourne. He wanted to have Sun on the show.

    Though it would mean free seats for the players and great publicity for the team, not to mention the entire USBL, Osbourne turned down the invitation.

    "I didn't even have to ask Sun," Osbourne said. "I knew he wouldn't want to do it. He doesn't want to talk about his height anymore."

    Even beyond the mental challenge Sun faces every moment, his height is a logistical nightmare. He had to fly in to Wichita because planes big enough to fit Sun even into an exit row do not fly in to Dodge City.

    After opening the season at home, the Legend will complete a span of eight straight road games today with a 3 p.m. rematch in Salina. The travel wears on everyone, but it especially takes a toll on Sun. He unfolded out of a GMC Suburban Friday like a 6-6 man would have to do out of a Mini Cooper.

    "Small flights," Sun said, smiling. "Very small flights. It is tiring."

    Sun's determination, however, is evident. Even when he is having trouble catching his breath on the court, Osbourne said he complains about playing time. Practices are never long enough, either.

    He wants to reach the NBA, just like 7-6 Manute Bol of the Sudan did after playing in the USBL. If Sun did make it, he would be the tallest player in NBA history, topping 7-7 Gheorghe Muresan.

    Sun is still trying to pay for his surgery, which insurance would not cover because it was considered a pre-existing condition. Bonsignore and a group of supporters, who started, are trying to help, but Sun would like to do it himself.

    He would like to be known for something he accomplished instead of something he just happens to be.

    "I just want to get better, better at everything," he said. "I like it in Dodge City. A lot of people come to the games. I hope being here helps me. I hope I improve every day."
    Published Sunday, May 7, 2006

    Giant Steps

    7-foot-9 native of China begins basketball career with Dodge City Legend

    By Joshua Kinder
    Morris News Service

    Special arrangements are always needed for the Dodge City Legend's Sun Ming Ming. Finding clothes that fit, a bed that he can sleep in and even walking through doors can all be difficult.

    But for 7-foot-9-inch Sun, it's a way of life -- a way of life that doesn't get any easier to deal with or accept, even at age 22.

    Being more than 6,000 miles from his homeland of China only complicates things, let alone being transplanted to Dodge City as he pursues his dream of playing in the NBA alongside fellow countryman Yao Ming.

    Wherever Sun goes, he gets attention -- whether it's getting off the plane in Dodge City and garnering repeated "Holy moleys" from a young Legend fan, or walking down the streets of New Jersey during the team's recent East Coast road trip and having a taxicab driver stop in his tracks, get out of his car and gaze at his astonishing size.

    Even though Sun's height is a luxury in his sport, being one of the tallest people in the world is also a burden for a shy young man who wants to be treated just like everyone else.

    "I've gotten used to the attention," Sun said in a recent interview through interpreter Janney Duncan. "But most of the time, it's not very convenient for me. I've tried to accept it, but it's hard sometimes. I don't like all the attention, all the time."

    Though Sun often completely ignores many stares and swarming hordes of gawkers, Legend head coach and general manager Dale Osbourne said his prized pupil is often caught between two conflicting reactions -- embracing the attention or just wanting to hide.

    But when you're as big as Sun, hiding and living a public "normal" life is almost impossible.

    "He's trying to understand Dodge City," Osbourne said. "It's new to him, and he's a very humble and quiet guy that doesn't want to be disrespectful to anybody. He's always going to get a lot of attention, no matter where he goes. I don't think people realize what he has to go through everyday, being 7-foot-9 and 370 pounds. It's not easy and something that most people really wouldn't want to go through."

    Legend guard Keith Salscheider said just being in an airport with Sun is "crazy enough" to be memorable.

    "He's got to duck to miss about every sign hanging from the ceiling in the airport," Salscheider said. "And then to see him get on the small planes or even the bigger planes ... things are just not made for a man that size.

    "It's almost like a 'Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory' thing, where everything is just way too small and you're walking around in a tiny house."

    Learning basketball

    Sun's story can't be told without mentioning the major brain surgery he underwent just six months ago to remove a pituitary gland that was causing him to grow at an increased rate.

    Sun has grown three more inches just in the last three years, since he turned 19. And it's not that Sun, who grew up in a small town in Northern China, just awoke to find himself towering over everybody else. He was already 6-7 by age 15 when he was discovered and started playing basketball.

    However, because of the surgery, he hadn't played competitive basketball for almost a year when he arrived in Dodge City. During the last six months of recovery, he was living in Ventura, Calif., where he was working out with a junior college team and taking English lessons five days a week.

    But Sun has lacked the professional coaching that would translate to the pro game. He's raw, to say the least. He struggles, but he's getting better with time -- and he said he's got a lot of time if it means he could play in the NBA some day.

    "Everything takes time, and I need to go step by step to get to the goal," said Sun, who likes to spend his free time playing on the computer. "I think I've improved, but I'm not where I want to be yet. Since I came over here (to the United States), there wasn't a lot of systematic training. I had to prepare for the surgery and the recovery.

    "Now I need to get in better shape and get faster. This is a good opportunity that I have here, so I want to take my time to do it right."

    But he did say, with a big smile on his face, that if he had his way, he would be playing in the NBA right now.

    Osbourne said the speed of the game in an up-and-down-the-court league concerned him at first, but Sun has started to make adjustments and changed the coach's opinion of what he might be able to do.

    "We were concerned with the speed of the game, with this being his first professional game," Osbourne said. "But I think he's adjusting pretty well.

    "I think he's really trying and as a coach, what I need to do is stop thinking of the ways he was going to hurt us and start thinking of the ways that he can help us. We've been using him in a positive way and becoming more consistent with his minutes and choosing our times with him."

    Although Sun says he's playing the sport now because he wants to and because he loves it, it didn't start that way. In China, since he was so tall and so young, he had more of a mandate to start playing basketball than the opportunity it has now become.

    "When I started, it was like 'I should play basketball,'" said Sun, who wears a size 19 shoe and a 7XL basketball jersey. "But once I got into it, I started to fall in love with the sport. It's just like students who at first went to school because they should, not because they liked it or wanted to, but when they get into it, they may like it more.

    "That's how basketball was for me."

    So far, his venture into professional basketball hasn't been all that smooth. Sun didn't see any action in the Legend's season opener at home against the Nebraska Cranes, despite the nearly 1,700 fans who showed up to see his debut.

    However, Sun did see his first action on Dodge City's East Coast road trip, including 17 minutes of play during the Legend's comeback victory over the Brooklyn Kings last Sunday.

    He's yet to score a point and has just one rebound eight games into the season, but he blocked three shots in his five minutes of playing time last Saturday.

    "I've said this from the beginning, from day one, that he's come a long way, but that he's got a long way to go," Osbourne said. "I think people need to understand that. But we're going to use him. I just don't want him to feel that we have him here because he's 7-foot-9.

    "He's not here to sit the bench. We're going to pick and choose the spots to get him in and use him when he can be the most successful and help this team win games."

    Osbourne said the chance to coach Sun is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

    "I was very excited when we signed him," he said. "It's not every day as a basketball coach that you have a chance to work with a guy like Sun. It's a great opportunity to help him grow as a basketball player and help me grow as a coach. I've learned a lot already."

    Helping Sun succeed

    Everyone around Sun knows that he wants to follow in the footsteps of another former USBL player to make it in the NBA, 7-foot-7 Manute Bol, and nobody wants to see him succeed more than his teammates.

    "The camaraderie has been real neat," Salscheider said. "Each one of us has wanted to help him succeed and see him do well. We make sure that he understands exactly where he's supposed to be on the floor and if he's not doing something quite right, we explain that to him as well."

    Salscheider said he's especially seen the camaraderie between Sun and his teammates who have played in professional leagues overseas.

    "The guys that have been in similar situations where they're faced with a different language, different culture and a different setting are taking a special interest in trying to help him out any way possible," said Salscheider, who has played in Australia and Europe.

    So if not Dodge City and his NBA dreams -- or even the game of basketball -- what would Sun be doing?

    He says he has "never thought about it."

    Joshua Kinder can be reached at [email protected].
    Check out Sun's video!
    Enjoy the videos and music you love, upload original content, and share it all with friends, family, and the world on YouTube.

    Box scores:
    4.23 DODGE CITY 85, Nebraska 83

    4.28 LONG ISLAND 98, Dodge City 96 (OT)
    3min (no statistics)
    "Beating the defending champs is definitely a confidence builder," explains Steve Castleberry (19 points, 9 rebounds), who also had the unebviable task of guarding 7'9" Sun Ming Ming. "I thought I ran into a wall at times," explains Castleberry, who stands at a mere 7'0".
    4.29 Dodge City 86, PENNSYLVANIA 78
    5min 3b 0/1FG 1PF

    4.30 Dodge City 99, BROOKLYN 91
    17min 3r(1o) 1a 3TO 3PF

    5.02 BROOKLYN 96 Dodge City 88
    8min 3r(1o) 2a 2PF

    5.03 Dodge City 103 LONG ISLAND 86

    5.05 Dodge City 97, KANSAS 92
    14min 2p (1/2FG) 3r 3PF 1TO

    5.07 Dodge City 81, KANSAS 98
    4min 2PF 1b

    5.13 DODGE CITY 104 Oklahoma 98 (2OT)
    5min 2p (1/1FG) 1r 2PF 1TO

    5.14 DODGE CITY 105 Brooklyn 96
    5min 0/1FG 1r 1b

    5.16 Nebraska 102 DODGE CITY 109

    5.19 DODGE CITY 86, Oklahoma 88

    5.20 Dodge City 94, NEBRASKA 93
    4min 1r

    5.23 Dodge City 114, OKLAHOMA 104
    4min 1b

    5.26 DODGE CITY 106, Long Island 94
    8min 4p (1/2FG 2/2FT) 3r(1o) 1b 1PF

    5.30 DODGE CITY 96, Kansas 91
    7min 2p (1/2FG) 1PF 1TO (first dunk)

    6.1 Dodge City 94, OKLAHOMA 96
    2min 1p (1/2FT) 1or 1PF

    6.2 DODGE CITY 105, Kansas 91
    7min 4p (1/2FG 2/2FT) 2r 1PF

    6.4 Kansas 84, DODGE CITY 72
    7min 2p (1/1FG) 1a 2PF (first start)

    6.6 Dodge City 79, NEBRASKA 89
    6min 2r

    6.8 Dodge City 100, OKLAHOMA 104
    4min 0/1FG

    6.9 Dodge City 108, NEBRASKA 104

    6.11 DODGE CITY 99, Oklahoma 109

    6.13 DODGE CITY 96, Nebraska 85

    6.14 DODGE CITY 107, NE Pennsylvania 94
    14min 2p (1/3FG 0/2FT) 2r(1o) 1PF 1TO

    6.15 DODGE CITY 100, NE Pennsylvania 76
    10min 2p (0/4FG 2/2FT) 2r(1o) 2a 1b 1PF 1TO

    6.17 Dodge city 90, KANSAS 98

    6.18 DODGE CITY 128, Albany 111
    2min 4p (4/5FT) 1PF

    6.19 DODGE CITY 112, Albany 100
    3min 2p(1/5FG) 1or 1PF 1TO
    Dodge City appeared to coasting in the first half with a solid rotation of players in and out of the game, and even spending the last two minutes of the half going exclusively to Sun Ming Ming in the post, where he was 1-for-5 with a dunk.
    Postseason (all games in Dodge City)

    6.23 DODGE CITY 101, NE Pennsylvania 83
    2min 1p (0/1FG 1/4FT) 1or 1TO

    6.24 DODGE CITY 100, Kansas 94

    6.25 DODGE CITY 92, Nebraska 100

    ...Yep, not ready for NBA.
    Attached Files
    Last edited by sinobball; 06-27-2006, 08:57 PM.
    aim low, score high


    • #3
      Sun Mingming Stats

      Click Here
      Last edited by Kings; 06-27-2006, 11:31 AM.


      • #4
        Houston Chronicle:
        June 27, 2006, 2:12PM
        Another Yao in the making?
        Sun is taller than 7-6 star but not ready for NBA


        Like many basketball players from China, Sun Ming Ming dreams of one day meeting Yao Ming and listening to the stories about his experiences in the NBA.

        Or even better, he imagines playing against Yao in an NBA game and getting a tutorial from the player with whom Sun has always — and always will be — compared.

        Right now it's just a giddy dream for the 22-year-old Sun, who freely admits that he looks up to Yao, the superstar import who is a cultural icon in his native China.

        The irony is that while Sun figuratively looks up to Yao, the Rockets' 7-6 center would have to look up to Sun, who stands an astounding 7-8 1/2 in his bare feet. In his shoes, Sun tops out at just over 7-9, far above the heads of the top-ranked centers in this year's NBA draft.

        But while 7-footers such as Bradley's Patrick O'Bryant, UCLA's Ryan Hollins, Senegal import Mouhamed Saer Sene and Michigan State's Paul Davis should hear their names called Wednesday night, Sun will be in Greensboro, N.C., hoping to realize his dream of making it to the league — and meeting Yao.

        "I would love to play against him, but I really want to just meet him and ask him for advice on how to make this journey," said Sun through his interpreter, Jim Chang. "Obviously, we're from the same country, and we have something else in common — height.

        "So he would know all the obstacles and tribulations that have happened on his journey from China to NBA superstar. I would like to ask him what it's been like, and hopefully he would be able to offer some advice to ease my transition to hopefully one day playing in the NBA."

        Despite mind-boggling size that allows him to dunk without leaving the floor, a feathery shooting touch, Yao-like passing skills and a genius-level IQ, Sun remains at least a year away
        from trying to land in the NBA as a free agent.

        Sun grew up in a tiny town called Bayan in Heilonjiang Province, where he was steered into basketball — a smaller Division II team — because of his size. In 2003, Sun was discovered by Zhang Weiping, the former national team coach who was scouring China in search of prospects for the 2008 Olympic basketball team.

        Weiping tipped off agent Charles Bonsignore, a friend who had been sending American players to play in China. Bonsignore brought the towering prospect to America with an eye on the 2005 NBA draft.

        But during workouts, NBA scouts noticed that the 360-pound Sun had very little strength or stamina. It was suggested that Sun see a doctor, a tip that wound up saving his life.

        Back in China, Sun's physical deficiencies were passed off as "low iron," but tests in the United States showed a brain tumor that was pressing on his pituitary gland. The life-threatening condition not only was the cause of Sun's non-stop growth but also prevented his body from producing testosterone.

        Surgery was performed 10 months ago, and Sun is just now starting to build the strength and endurance to match his height. Sun got his feet wet in the United States Basketball League this past season for the Dodge City Legend.

        "(Before the diagnosis) I was definitely frustrated, knowing what people expected of me because of my size," Sun said. "But after I found out I had the tumor, I was actually relieved to find out that there was a reason this was happening to me and that it could be cured.

        "I can now do all the things that other players can do, without limitations."

        Bonsignore is now placing Sun in a "velocity center," where he will work exclusively on increasing his speed and agility.

        "He's still far away," Bonsignore said, "but little by little, he's making progress."

        But while Sun is progressing, Bonsignore warns against expecting another Yao.

        "I think people need to appreciate what an amazing, amazing athlete Yao Ming is," he said. "Before Yao Ming, they (the biggest players) all were Sun Ming Mings. They were (7-7) Gheorghe Muresan and (7-4) Mark Eaton.

        "But Yao has spoiled the NBA. They now expect a guy that height to be Yao Ming, and that's not going to happen. I think people need to sit back and appreciate what an amazing athlete Yao Ming is."

        [email protected]
        aim low, score high


        • #5
          People in the US, make you turn in to Discovery Channel on October 15th at 8pm EST.
          Tall Sun Ming Ming dreams of NBA career
          By Jennifer Kwan

          TORONTO, Oct 9 (Reuters) - At nearly 7 feet 9 inches (236 cm) tall, with size 19 feet, Chinese basketball player Sun Ming Ming dreams of joining the National Basketball Association.

          But what has made him so tall and given him dreams of following his countryman Yao Ming into the U.S. professional ranks was also a threat to his life.

          A tumor at the base of his skull was pressing on his pituitary gland and making him grow, and had to be surgically removed last year. Without the surgery, he faced the possibility of heart failure and early death. A tiny piece of tumor remains.

          "Yao Ming is the pride of all Chinese people," Sun said from Greensboro, North Carolina, where he is training to improve his speed and agility.

          "Could I be like him one day? This is not something that can happen just because I wish it to happen. I need to work hard and even if I work really hard, I don't know if it will ever happen."

          Sun arrived in the United States from China in February 2005. Sports agent Charles Bonsignore says he took a risk by taking on the then lead-footed player and agreeing to raise funds for medical bills that already exceed $100,000.

          "I said, 'Let's see what we can do and make this guy into an NBA player,'" Bonsignore said from his office in Ventura, California.

          Sun was eligible for the 2005 National Basketball Association draft, but wasn't chosen because of his lack of stamina. He landed awkwardly and felt winded often.

          Sun's huge feet were covered with corns and welts, his toes were gnarled and an X-Ray showed the bones in his toes were deformed because he didn't have shoes that fit him properly while he was growing up.

          Then doctors made a more shocking discovery: a tumor was crushing Sun's pituitary gland and it was secreting excess growth hormone that caused him to grow and grow.


          Dr. Hrayr Shahinian, director of Los Angeles-based Skull Base Institute, who performed the brain surgery on Sun in September 2005, said the condition was a blessing and a curse for Sun, who barely needed to jump in order to dunk a ball.

          "It is a curse because this disease, if it is left alone, if untreated, can be fatal and he may die of heart failure right on the basketball court," he said.
          Robert Pershing Wadlow, who suffered from gigantism and died in 1940 from a foot infection at the age of 22, is recognized by the Guinness World Records as the tallest man in history at 8 feet 11 inches (272 cm). The tallest living man is Xi Shun at 7 feet 8.95 inches.

          By all accounts, Sun's recovery from surgery has been successful. But a tiny piece of tumor remains lodged in his skull close to the carotid artery, the main blood vessel from the heart to the brain, and the optic nerve.

          Treatment could include radiosurgery or special drugs, both of which are costly.

          If he succeeds in playing in the NBA, Sun would be the tallest player in its history, overtaking Manute Bol and Gheorghe Muresan, both 7 feet 7 inches (231 cm). Yao Ming and Shawn Bradley, both 7 feet 6 inches (229 cm), are the tallest players currently in the league.

          "The first thing you notice about Sun Ming Ming is that he's the largest human being you'll ever see on Earth," said Bill Paolantonio, executive producer of a (the) documentary about Sun. "It is an amazing feeling when he walks into the room. He stops the room. He's that large."

          The documentary, "Anatomy of a Giant," airs in the United States on the Discovery Health channel on Oct. 15. It follows Sun's journey from Harbin, China, to his recovery in the United States after the three-hour brain surgery.
          Sun's height is one thing that impressed Dale Osbourne, general manger and coach of Dodge City Legend in Kansas and prompted him to sign Sun onto the minor league team for a short contract in March.

          The 360-pound player averaged only about 5 minutes per game, said Osbourne. That compares to about 20 minutes for an average player.
          "It's going to take time," said Osbourne. "He's got to continue to work hard on his foot movement, continue to work hard on his stamina and he's got to continue to hit the weight room and get stronger upper body and lower body strength."

          Sun is now training about five hours a day, yet still finding time to soak in a little Americana, from learning English to eating new food; shopping to playing pool and even getting a taste of night life.

          "The dream that I had when I came to the United States has not changed," Sun said. "It will be great if I can play in NBA one day. I will work as hard as I can, do my very best to achieve that goal. But if it still can't happen in the end, at least I will have no regret." (additional reporting by Alice Hung)

          Sun is in Greensboro, NC hoping to play in NBDL this season.
          aim low, score high


          • #6
            Sun is in Greensboro, NC hoping to play in NBDL this season.
            That will be the best and worst thing for him. It'll be good, because it'll show whether or not he can play against NBA competition. But it'll be bad, because it'll show he can't. He's never going to make the NBA, and I'll be surprised if he makes it even in the NBDL.


            • #7
              sun ming ming is a legend


              • #8
                Interview with Sun Ming Ming and a bit of play on Jimmy Kimmel's ABC show: (He is really huge!)
                Die Liebe wird eine Krankheit, wenn man sie als eine Heilung sieht
                Artificial Nature


                • #9
                  Sun Ming Ming joins ABA, Maryland Nighthawks


                  7-foot-9 player joins ABA club
                  CHEVY CHASE, Md. - The "have size, will travel" basketball odyssey that's taken 7-foot-9, 370-pound Sun Ming Ming from China to California to Kansas to North Carolina made its latest stop Wednesday in the back room of a Chinese restaurant in this tony Washington, D.C., suburb.That's where the Maryland Nighthawks of the American Basketball Association introduced their newest player, a man they're touting as the tallest in the history of professional basketball.

                  Sun donned a uniform with the number 79 — Get it? — and his new team's owner and coach and a teammate all gushed about his "basketball IQ" and "soft hands."

                  The 23-year-old — who complained the XXXXXXL sweat shirt the team gave him was too small — was asked what his goals are.

                  "I hope," Sun said, "I make the NBA some day."

                  To which Nighthawks owner and ABA chief operating officer Tom Doyle said: "I'm quite sure he will."

                  Really? After all, Sun hasn't played organized basketball in more than six months, since a brief stint with the Dodge City Legend of the United States Basketball League.

                  Turns out, the NBA doesn't overlook 7-footers.

                  "We will monitor his progress. His name has cropped up, but since he's never really played, I don't know how he can be on our radar," Marty Blake, the NBA's director of scouting, said in a telephone interview. "We would be interested in a player of some repute anywhere in the world, especially one who's 7-9. ... As (former Utah Jazz coach) Frank Layden always said, 'You can't teach height.'"

                  Sun moved from his native China — where he played on a second-division team — to California about 1 1/2 years ago in hopes of making it in pro hoops. His career was put on hold last year while he had two operations for a pituitary tumor that led to his extraordinary size but threatened his life.

                  Sun said those procedures were successful and he's getting into shape. Doyle noted that his big addition needed extra training after taking time away from the court to shoot a fight scene in Jackie Chan's upcoming "Rush Hour 3."

                  "That was very fun," Sun said.

                  Nighthawks coach William Rankin expects Sun to be able to play about 28-30 minutes a game; his debut comes Saturday. That will also be Rankin's debut with the Nighthawks — he was hired about a week ago from a junior college team.

                  "When I interviewed for the job, I asked, 'Do we have a 7-footer?'" Rankin recounted. "And (Doyle) laughed and said, 'We have someone who's almost an 8-footer.'"

                  Sun has been in town about 1 1/2 weeks, working out daily with Nighthawks guard Randy Gill, who said of his new center: "Every day, somebody's going to get dunked on."

                  Doyle is big on Bill Veeck-style marketing, and he's hoping to organize an exhibition game with nearly-as-tall-as-Sun former NBA players Gheorghe Muresan and Manute Bol to raise money toward Sun's more than $100,000 in medical bills.

                  Did the Nighthawks want Sun more for his ability to play basketball or to draw crowds (the team averages about 600 spectators in its 1,000-capacity Montgomery College gym in Rockville)?

                  "There's no question that having Ming here sells tickets," Doyle said. "But there also is no question that having him here is a huge presence in our middle."


                  • #10
                    Nice for him, he just needs to play and hopefully he will have much minutes.
                    Die Liebe wird eine Krankheit, wenn man sie als eine Heilung sieht
                    Artificial Nature


                    • #12
                      Incredible, the ball looks so small
                      Die Liebe wird eine Krankheit, wenn man sie als eine Heilung sieht
                      Artificial Nature


                      • #13
                        Sun Mingming

                        USBL Stats

                        ABA Stats

                        Last edited by Kings; 04-19-2007, 01:34 AM.


                        • #14
                          Is that Georghe Muresan?
                          "No hay poder en el mundo que pueda cambiar el destino"
                          -El Padrino


                          • #15
                            7'9" center Sun Ming Ming arrives in Grand Rapids

                            7'9" center Sun Ming Ming arrives in Grand Rapids

                            The Grand Rapids "Flight", a Professional Basketball Team of the International Basketball League (IBL), recently signed the world's tallest basketball player. 23 year old Ming Ming Sun (233-C-83, agency: Passing Lane) of China stands 7' 9" tall, and weighs close to 400 pounds. He will be the starting center for the Flight this season.

                            Sun came to the U.S. about two years ago to pursue his basketball dreams. Before signing with the Flight, Sun played for the Dodge City Legend of the United States Basketball League (USBL), and most recently for the Maryland Nighthawks of the American Basketball Association (ABA). The addition of Ming Ming Sun to the team made the Nighthawks the first team to have five players over 7' on their starting line up. Because the ABA's season runs from early November to early March, Sun was free to sign with the IBL, whose season doesn't begin until mid-March.

                            You may have also seen Ming in a fighting scene with comedian Chris Tucker in "Rush Hour 3", or in the Discovery Channel documentary, "Anatomy of a Giant".

                            Ming of course dreams of a career in the NBA, but may have some work to do before seeing that dream become a reality. Some hindrances have been and might continue to be due to health problems. For example, a couple of years ago he had a life-threatening tumor removed from his pituitary gland. Although he seems to have recovered very well, this illness kept him from playing for quite a while. More of a problem might be the problems he has with his feet. As a youngster Sun is said to have worn shoes that were about five sizes too small for him; thus, his feet have become mangled and are in poor condition. Lastly, NBA scouts have been quoted as stating that Ming is a little slow on the court. Possibly due to the problems with his feet, or even due to his height and problems with coordination. Nevertheless, at 7' 9", we basketball fans can't help but see Sun as a potential/future NBA star.

                            The addition of Sun to the Grand Rapids Flight squad is very exciting and we here in West Michigan are looking forward to seeing him play. Sun will make his debut with the Flight on March 23. He is scheduled to arrive in Grand Rapids some time tomorrow.