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Baby Shaq?

Discussion in 'Other Sports' started by drapg, Aug 12, 2002.

  1. drapg

    drapg Member

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    I know most of us have heard rumors and stories about this alleged "Baby Shaq" somewhere in the midwest... But here is a touching story about the boy, and his mother's great concern about his health as he continues to grow into the next Shaq.

    Courtesy of Bryan Mullen of the Tennessean.


    A gentle giant at 12, is Allen next Shaq?



    Pam Allen repeated the routine for three months:

    Set the alarm for 3 a.m. Rush into her son's room.

    Shake him awake.

    Begin talking about anything, everything.

    As soon as her son's eyes grew heavy, she would talk louder. As soon as he laid back down, she would try to pull him up.

    Do not fall back asleep, she would say.

    That's the length a mother will go to when her son wakes up every morning appearing to have grown another inch. That's the length a mother will go to when her son, who was born in 1990, wakes up each morning looking more and more like a grown man.

    ''A family member told me Auri was doing all his growing at night,'' Pam said. ''I just panicked. I didn't know what else to do. My baby wouldn't stop growing.''

    Auri Allen stands 6 feet 6½, weighs 301 pounds and turned 12 on July 10. He is completely healthy according to a battery of doctors. He is often asked for autographs from Titans fans. He is often asked for autographs from Vols fans. He is, he says, just like any other kid entering the seventh grade, which he will do later this month at Montgomery Bell Academy.

    ''I'm nice, friendly, smart, gentle and tall,'' Auri said. ''And I like to play basketball.''

    Keeping in check

    The comparisons have already begun. He's bigger than Los Angeles Lakers center Shaquille O'Neal was when he was 12, way bigger than former Pearl-Cohn High School star John Henderson at the same age. He can dunk a tennis ball on a 10-foot basketball rim, and he is more coordinated than you would think. He wants to play in the NBA and dislikes football, much like Henderson at his age. Of course, Henderson went on to become a first-round pick in the NFL, and you'd have to believe Allen has that potential if channeled toward the gridiron.

    Wait. Hold on. Pam Allen doesn't like to get caught up in that kind of talk just yet. She knows what the future could hold. She has seen her son dominate opposing players on various youth basketball teams (including one run at an international title in the Canary Islands, Spain, this summer). She knows the edge her son has playing on league-mandated 8½-foot rims, the way he can hang on the net standing flat-footed.

    But worrying about college scholarships or the NBA is not on Pam's priority list right now. Most of her time is spent trying to clothe and feed Auri, as well as making sure he remains healthy.

    ''To be honest, I haven't gotten to that point yet,'' said Pam, who stands 6-1 herself, and played basketball at Lebanon High School and Belmont University. ''I'm his mom, and he's my baby. That's how I look at it. It's tough enough to get this kid shoes, much less spend time worrying about NBA stuff, or whatever they call it.''

    Pam spent a whole weekend trying to get Auri a pair of dress shoes recently. It's tough when your kid wears a size 18. He probably will grow to another size in less than three months.

    She eventually found a pair a 12-year-old wouldn't be embarrassed to wear. So they drove to pick them up … in Atlanta.

    ''The man was so nice that he gave me $50 off for coming so far,'' Pam said. ''That was the only pair we could find.''

    When Auri needed a new pair of basketball shoes earlier this year, she walked around the Hickory Hollow Mall for hours. Finally she found a pair that fit him. They cost $200. They were the only pair in the mall that would fit her son's feet.

    She wept as she left the store, and continued crying as they walked through the mall. Strangers asked if everything was all right. Auri asked, ''Mom, why are you crying?''

    ''I couldn't believe I had to buy a pair of shoes that big for my 11-year-old son,'' Pam said. ''I couldn't stop crying.''

    It was one of the rare times Pam, who was a Metro police officer for 16-1/2 years, let her emotions take over. She is a self-described tough mom, but loving just the same. Auri isn't allowed to date, and has yet to question anything his mom makes him do. If he gets a rare C on a report card, the X-Box is taken away for two weeks. A slight mumble may be heard coming from Auri, but that's it.

    Her motherly care is obvious. Pam has a team of doctors following her son's health — neurologists, endocrinologists, podiatrists, orthopedic pediatricians.

    They have charted Auri's growth for years:

    • He was born 8 pounds, 13 ounces, and perfectly healthy.

    • He was 23 inches long.

    • He was born one month early. The doctor said he would have weighed 11 or 12 pounds if he was born on his due date. ''That wouldn't have worked for me,'' Pam said.

    • At age 8, he was 5-9.

    • At 10, he was as tall as his mom.

    • He has a 44-inch waist.

    • He measures 60 inches across the chest.

    • He has an 18½-inch neck.

    • He has only 14 percent body fat.

    ''This amazes all of them,'' Pam said. ''He's healthy. His bones are good, his calcium intake is good, they check his heart, arteries and lungs. They have checked everything on this child and haven't found anything wrong. All they say is that he hasn't really started growing yet.''

    Gulp.

    According to Pam, the growth plates on Auri's feet are still far apart.

    ''They say he has at least five more inches of growth,'' Pam said, shaking her head. ''He is supposed to hit a growth spurt at 13, then hit another one at age 15. We took this test on the Internet where you put in the heights of everyone in your family and older relatives. It said he will be 7-foot-1 or bigger.''

    Mature decisions

    ''I don't like football practice,'' Auri said. ''I like the games, but I don't think I want to play football. I'm going to stay with basketball.''

    That sound you hear? It's every college football coach in the country gagging.

    Maurice Fitzgerald understands Auri's sports choice; he encountered the same situation several years ago. The Pearl-Cohn football coach first met a 12-year-old John Henderson while officiating a youth basketball game. Henderson was about 6-3 and weighed 210 pounds, and Fitzgerald said one of his first thoughts was throwing a football uniform on the youngster.

    But in the upcoming years, Henderson gave Fitzgerald fits.

    ''A lot of times kids who are so big at such a young age don't like football,'' says Fitzgerald, who later coached Henderson in high school. ''They don't want to hurt anybody. Plus, there's a lot of pressure on them to play football.''

    Henderson quit football entering his junior year of high school, but Fitzgerald eventually talked him into getting back on the field.

    ''I think I need to find a job as a financial planner,'' Fitzgerald said, laughing. ''That was about $10 million worth of career advice.''

    Auri was raised to keep his strength in check, from gym class to organized sports to hanging out with friends.

    He is gentle by nature, but his normal movements can be injurious to others his age.

    ''I've always told him he was bigger than the rest of the kids, stronger than the rest of them,'' Pam said. ''I tell him not to push anyone because his push could be seen as fighting. He could push them down without meaning to. I've always told him to keep his hands to himself. … He's just an easygoing, mild, humble and gentle child.''

    Sheer size is usually the determining factor on what sport bigger children can play. Fitzgerald said Henderson was suited for basketball in middle school and early on in high school. He was taller than the competition, and athletic enough to run the court if he had to. In high school, however, Fitzgerald noticed Henderson's future would be on the football field.

    After a doctor's appointment, Fitzgerald asked Henderson how tall the doctors said he would be.

    ''Six-foot-five,'' Henderson had said.

    ''That was the size he was at that time,'' Fitzgerald said. ''At that point, he had the build of a football player, and there were plenty of basketball players who were 6-5, 6-6, 6-7.''

    Auri, however, may be closer to 7 feet by the time he is done growing, and his mom said his weight shouldn't change very much from what it is now (she has him on a strict diet which includes plenty of chicken and vegetables. Sodas are not allowed, and pizza is ordered only twice a month in the Allen household).

    At that size, basketball may very well be Auri's calling.

    ''He will probably grow out of football size,'' Fitzgerald said. ''Nature will dictate what he can and can't play.''

    In the end, Pam says, it will be Auri's decision. But there's one thing Auri has no say in: national attention.

    Fitzgerald experienced it with Henderson. The Tennessean first wrote about Henderson when he was in middle school at St. Pius X, and the national media soon followed. Fitzgerald said certain types of attention are harmless while other kinds, including shoe company reps and wannabe agents, can be detrimental.

    ''Auri is going to be out there with those sharks,'' Fitzgerald said. ''I remember [John] gave me these business cards after a [middle school] game, and they were all from shoe companies. … Nowadays, even college coaches are looking at middle-school kids. He is going to receive a lot of attention. Listen, I don't care who you are, when people keep telling you, 'You're so good, you're so good,' sooner or later you are going to believe that. But it helps to have a supportive family, and Auri has that.''

    Small reflections

    Perspective is what Pam is teaching Auri, and he's learning quick. She knows Auri is two years away from high school, that he won't graduate high school until 2008, and that he's a year away from being allowed to see a PG-13 movie.

    Auri understands the attention, and appears to better suited for it than kids much older.

    On this afternoon, it doesn't appear he's too stressed out. He sits on the couch like it's a folding chair, puts down a book he has been reading (John Steinbeck's Travels with Charley: In Search of America), and asks a visitor if he wants something to drink.

    ''Would you like some ice in that, sir?'' he asks.

    Later, Auri talks about his size as a blessing, a gift from God. He also talks about the negative sides people do not see, the way bigger kids are seen as marks in some coach's win columns, not as youngsters growing up with all the attention of professional athletes.

    ''The one thing that bothers me most is when I have to tell someone, 'No sir, I don't play for the Titans. I'm only 12.' They look at me like I must be slow or stupid. They think I must have been held back three or four times. I want to tell them I'm smart and make good grades, but ...''

    Auri's voice trails off. He sits up and a serious look appears on his face.

    ''I wish sometimes people would see my personality before they see anything,'' he said. ''I think about that when someone meets me for the first time, and all they see is how big I am. I want them to think I'm a nice person first.''

    His mom, standing nearby, shakes her head and appears a bit stunned at his words. What a great way to put it, her face seems to suggest. It's as if she's in a dream state. It's as if Auri were saying …

    Get up, mom.

    Wake up.

    I'm growing in more ways than one





    This kid's physical stature is amazing. 12 years old, 300+ pounds and 6'6"???? :eek: He's already getting approached by shoe companies... damn!

    the boy, the myth, the legend:
    [​IMG]
     
  2. RC Cola

    RC Cola Contributing Member

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    This kid has a lot on his shoulders.(his future,not weight.) His family too. I remember hearing that he was sad that he couldn't fit in the McDonald's play area thing. (I think this is the same kid, there can't be 2 6'6 300lbs.) Seems to have a good mother too. I don't really know what to think, though. First time I've seen so much attention on middle-school kids, so I don't know if they usually turn out or not.
     
  3. devestata

    devestata Member

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    Jeez, what's he gonna top out at? 7-8 450?:confused:
     
  4. devestata

    devestata Member

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    RC, I dunno if you've heard of OJ Mayo. He is also supposed to be an NBA Star like Auri Allen...
     
  5. RC Cola

    RC Cola Contributing Member

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    You mean there are 2 baby shaqs! MAN! What's going on?!

    That name sounds more familiar, so that's probably the one I was thinking about.

    Next thing you know, there will be 3 other 7'6 players from China.
     
  6. devestata

    devestata Member

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    lol...I think Mayo is supposed to be better than Lebron James who is the Jordan...so OJ Mayo is one of a kind!:eek: :D ;)

    BTW, you are right...there is a 6'11 Center in China right now who is supposed to be better than Ming...and he's only 12...check nbadraft.net's International prospects...
     
  7. RC Cola

    RC Cola Contributing Member

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    Yeah, I think I went there once. I read about a 20 year old 6'11 guy from Mexico. I think it said he only had one arm though. Hmm... that might be a bit of a disadvantage, don't you think?

    I read about that 12-year old somewhere, but didn't think about it till after I posted. Still, what's going on in the world. I don't remember these guys 10 years ago. Then again this is probably being brought up because more people care, so there are more stories.
     
  8. devestata

    devestata Member

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    Lmao at the Mexican guy...I've never heard of him! :D

    Yeah, I think these stories are being brought up because the NBA is all about potential these days...and the NBA is now scouting grades K-12!:D
     
  9. Ubiquitin

    Ubiquitin Clutch City 2K
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    I've meet Lebron James before, this kid is the ****. He could school any player out there today. Doesn't he go to Akron? Bah, I can't remember.
     
  10. HOOP-T

    HOOP-T Member

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    OK, something is wrong with the picture. Either that basketball is much bigger than regulation size, or the kid ain't that big.
     
  11. TheFreak

    TheFreak Contributing Member

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    Has he tried out for the Cavs yet?
     
  12. Rocket River

    Rocket River Member

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    What is the Diameter of a Basketball?

    I estimate him to be about 7~7 1/2 basketballs high on this
    picture.

    Rocket River
     
  13. RocketForever

    RocketForever Contributing Member

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    Exactly, he doesnt look that big with that ball in hands. May be he took that pic when he was 8?
     
    #13 RocketForever, Aug 12, 2002
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2002
  14. RocketForever

    RocketForever Contributing Member

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    how did u measure it? I think he's about 6 1/2 basketballs high.
     
  15. Nomar

    Nomar Member

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    Play football kid. Its a much cooler and funner sport.
     
  16. RocketForever

    RocketForever Contributing Member

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    yeah that kid looks like a future NFL offensive lineman in the making.
     
  17. drapg

    drapg Member

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    if he grows to be any taller, no QB will be able to see over him! face it, he's destined to play ball with the Lakers at some point in the next 15 years.
     
  18. Zac D

    Zac D Contributing Member

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    I thought the Mayo kid was just supposed to be good, not huge... ?
     
  19. FranchiseBlade

    FranchiseBlade Contributing Member
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    I'm 33 and I'm only 5'8", but I feel I have a big growth spurt still to come. I'm pretty sure that even though my basketball skills aren't NBA quality right now, with my upcoming growth spurt and some NBA coaching and training I should be ready by the time I'm 38 to make my entrance into the league as 6'9" Dominique Wilkins type player.

    I'd love to play with the Rockets, but I understand that it's a business so I'll just have to wait and see.:D
     
  20. Rocket River

    Rocket River Member

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    guestimation . . . nothing scientific

    Rocket River
     
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