7' 5" Chinese 14-Year-Old Zhang Ziyu Is Unstoppable on the Basketball Court

In Friday’s Hot Clicks: a hoops prodigy who towers over her peers, a breakout game for a young USMNT striker and more.
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Prayers up for her competition

If you thought Giannis Antetokounmpo was a dominant force on the basketball court, wait until you see Zhang Ziyu.

Zhang is a 14-year-old girl from China who went viral on the Chinese social media site Weibo on Thursday, thanks to footage of her towering over her opponents while leading her team to a championship in the U15 National Basketball League. Just how tall is she? According to China’s Global Times, she measures 2.26 meters, or 7 feet, 4.9 inches.

Zhang recorded 42 points, 25 rebounds and six blocks in Thursday’s championship game, according to the South China Morning Post.

The obvious comparison is to Yao Ming, but that’s not exactly accurate, is it? Although Zhang is reportedly about only an inch shorter than Yao’s listed height, she’s way taller in comparison to her foes than Yao was in relation to his fellow NBA players. She must be at least two feet taller than every other player on the court.

The result is comical. In that entire highlight reel, I count two plays where both feet leave the ground. Otherwise, she’s collecting rebounds, blocking shots and scoring layups while standing flatfooted or maybe getting up on her tiptoes. She’s so tall that jumping is completely unnecessary.

Even when the defenders stretch their arms as high as they can go, they barely reach Zhang’s chin and she’s able to get shots off with ease. You have to give Zhang’s opponents credit, though. They’re completely outmatched but they try their damnedest to stop her. The girl taking the jump ball at the beginning of the video is especially admirable. She jumps as high as she can and Zhang just calmly tips the ball to a teammate.

Zhang has always towered over her peers. She was 5' 3" in first grade and 6' 10" in sixth grade, according to the Times. She’s already taller than both of her parents. Her unnamed father is a 7-foot former pro basketball player and her mother, Yu Ying, is a 6' 6" former Chinese national team player. 

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