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.
The best of SI
Concacaf’s Gold Cup lacks the prestige of other continental championships, so what can be done to fix it? ... Each MLB division’s x-factor as the second staff begins. ... U.S. Olympic rugby player Alev Kelter turned to the sport after playing hockey and soccer at Wisconsin.
Around the sports world
Blue Jackets goalie Elvis Merzlikins says Matiss Kivlenieks saved the lives of him and his pregnant wife when he was hit by a firework. ... Bryson DeChambeau said his driver “sucks” after a lousy round at the British Open and the driver manufacturer isn’t happy about it. ... Australian star Liz Cambage pulled out of the Olympics, citing the strain on her mental health. ... A Ugandan weightlifter has gone missing in Tokyo after failing to qualify for the Olympics.
This guy has an interesting story
The 21-year-old Daryl Dike had himself a game against Martinique
Due to popular demand, the Mets are bringing back their black alternate jerseys
You have to love Monty Williams
I’m not a huge fan of Machine Gun Kelly, but I enjoyed this profile of him in GQ. ... Satellite images show just how much snow melted during the Pacific Northwest heatwave. ... Netflix is reportedly aiming to eventually start offering video games.
A good song
Email email@example.com with any feedback or follow me on Twitter for approximately one half-decent baseball joke per week. Bookmark this page to see previous editions of Hot Clicks and find the newest edition every day. By popular request I’ve made a Spotify playlist of the music featured here. Visit our Extra Mustard page throughout each day for more offbeat sports stories.