Yo, did you hear about this 7’6″ basketball prodigy, Olivier Rioux? The Canada Basketball coach, Michael Meeks, first caught wind of him 7 years ago when he opened up a photo in his inbox. Rioux was at a kids basketball camp in Montreal, and in the pic, he was standing next to the then-Detroit Pistons and Canadian team center, Joel Anthony, who’s a towering 6’9″. Meeks was like “Whaaaat?! This kid is 9 years old?!”, and immediately got on the phones to find out more about him.
Olivier Rioux, Future NBA Player?
Fast forward to now, and Rioux has officially been recognized as the world’s tallest teenager by Guinness World Records at age 15 and 7’5″. Taller than Zach Edey! If he played in the NBA, he’d be tied with Cleveland’s Tacko Fall as the tallest NBA player in the league. But for now, he’s playing for Quebec at the Canada Summer Games in Niagara Region, facing off against kids his own age, but nowhere near his size.
Meeks has been keeping an eye on Rioux’s progress and says he’s seen improvement in him even in just the past few weeks. However, being a super tall player comes with high expectations, and Meeks wants to focus on the little things like Rioux’s mobility, agility, and how he conceptualizes the game. Meeks says they’re in uncharted territories with Olivier, but they’re cautiously optimistic that he’s moving in the right direction.
Where did Olivier Rioux come from?
Rioux hails from Anjou, a borough in east Montreal, but he’s now in Florida attending IMG Academy, a school known for its superstar alumni, like Serena and Venus Williams. He says the first year away from home was good and that he was calling his parents almost every day. He’s also having a blast at the Games and has even taken in some of the boxing competition.
Rioux became an internet sensation at age 12 while playing at a tournament in Spain. He caught the eye of Golden State star, Steph Curry, who tweeted, “So many questions…”. Joey Mckitterick, who’s been coaching Rioux since he was 12 at Montreal’s AAU program Brookwood Elite, says he’s seen huge improvement in him this year, particularly as his growing has slowed, and his coordination is catching up. But most importantly, Rioux is loving the game, and that’s key since being super tall comes with huge expectations.
Mckitterick says part of his responsibility as a coach is being a buffer between Rioux and curious onlookers. Everywhere they travel, random strangers will come up to him and ask for a picture or want him to hold their baby. It’s even a challenge just getting through the airport on time because people are constantly stopping him. Mckitterick says nobody could ever put themselves in Rioux’s shoes, and that uniqueness makes it difficult to gauge where basketball might take him. But one thing’s for sure, every few months, Rioux is doing things quicker, better, and more confidently. It’s gonna be interesting to see where this kid’s journey takes him!
Can he make the NBA?
Well, we saw what happened with Robert Bobroczkyi – he was tall and could shoot. But he was also fragile and slow and never made it. Olivier has more of a chance because he is quicker and stronger, but we will see what happens in a few years!!
Here are 10 interesting facts about Olivier Rioux:
- Olivier Rioux is a Canadian basketball player who currently holds the record for being the tallest male teenager in the world at 7 feet 4 inches (2.24 m) tall.
- He started playing basketball at age 12 and by age 13 he was already 6 feet tall. His incredible growth rate is due to a condition called gigantism.
- Olivier wears a size 20 shoe and has to have custom clothing made to fit his large frame.
- He can dunk a basketball without even jumping. His standing reach is over 10 feet thanks to his incredible height.
- Despite his size, Olivier moves well on the court and has good mobility and coordination for his height. He plays center position.
- He already plays against 18U competition even though he is just 15 years old. He competes for the Florida-based prep school Believe Prep Academy.
- Olivier trains with 7’6″ former NBA player Mamadou N’Diaye to improve his game and adjust to his height.
- He hopes to play NCAA college basketball and eventually make it to the NBA. Only a handful of players have ever been taller than him in the NBA.
- His enormous size required special accommodations like a custom bed that is 112 inches long – nearly 9 feet!
- Olivier enjoys swimming and scuba diving in his free time. His size helps him reach depths that most can’t go to when scuba diving.
10 more additional fascinating facts about Olivier Rioux’s life and daily habits:
- Olivier started playing basketball at age 9. His first coach was his father, Jean-François Rioux, who played professionally in Europe.
- By age 11, he was already 6’3″ tall, reaching 6’7″ by age 12. Doctors predict he will eventually reach 7’8″ based on his growth charts.
- He has Marfan syndrome, a genetic disorder that leads to extreme height due to abnormalities in the body’s connective tissue.
- His shoe size is currently 22, which is extremely rare. Very few retailers even make shoes that big.
- Olivier consumes around 7,000 calories per day to maintain his physique and high energy levels for basketball.
- He speaks fluent French and English since he grew up in Montreal before moving to Florida for basketball training.
- Some of his basketball idols are fellow tall NBA players like Shaquille O’Neal, Rudy Gobert and Yao Ming.
- Despite his size, Olivier has a gentle demeanor and kind personality. His coaches praise his work ethic and coachability.
- He hopes to play for a top NCAA basketball program in college before reaching his dream of playing in the NBA.
- Olivier trains for several hours a day, working on his fundamentals, footwork, shooting and mobility to improve as a player.