This article appeared in the October 29, 2019 edition of the Monitor Daily.

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When big is beautiful

Michael Dwyer/AP
The Boston Celtics' Tacko Fall (left) against the Cleveland Cavaliers' Dean Wade during an NBA preseason game in Boston, Oct. 13, 2019.

In today’s issue, our hand-picked stories explore the changing face of political conspiracies, camaraderie among Trump tailgaters, fighting fake political videos, how Afghan art inspires perseverance, and self-sufficiency on rollerblades in Congo.  

First, every decade or so, a really big man comes along in the NBA. Yao Ming and Manute Bol come to mind. Their stature alone gave everyone pause.

Tacko Fall may be that player today. He can dunk without jumping.

At 7 feet, 6 inches and 310 pounds, he redefines the term Big Man. For context, LeBron James is 10 inches shorter and 65 pounds lighter. 

To be clear, Tacko Fall is no LeBron James. His game is a work in progress. But he works hard and is smart. In 2015, the Bleacher Report asked him if he could be King James or Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, the computer science major replied, “I would be Steve Jobs.” 

That answer might be different today. 

On Saturday night, as the Boston Celtics' lead stretched to 25 points, Knicks fans at Madison Square Garden started chanting, “We want Tacko!” 

New York fans are not known for their grace or generosity of spirit, especially toward a Boston team. But that makes what happened so remarkable. They chanted until, well, they got Tacko. 

For the final 3:38, the Senegalese skyscraper worked the court, including two dunks. The crowd loved it. “For an undrafted player on the road in his first career game, the whole scene is incredibly surreal ... but as long as Tacko brings opposing fans together, I think it’s a beautiful thing,” wrote Deadspin’s Lauren Theisen.

Here’s to the beauty of unity inspired by awe. 

This article appeared in the October 29, 2019 edition of the Monitor Daily.

Read 10/29 edition
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