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González, the 2.32 giant for whom the NBA and WWE sighed and died alone at 44

A Jorge gonzalez They called him ‘Giant’ since he was little. And it’s not surprising either, hey, because when I was 10 I looked like 15, at 15 I looked over my shoulder at all men and the one who got older (at that age when we all want to continue being children), I was even watching the rain beyond the clouds. Hey, Jorge, what will the weather be like tomorrow? Do you think we can go out and sell trinkets? And Jorge straightened his 230 centimeters, sniffed and said yes or no, depending on what the birds in the sky told him. Something like that.

As a child (but he was never small), Jorge began to grow more than the others. He was born in 1966. The city of El Colorado, very close to the border with Paraguay, right on the bank of a river called Bermejo, because Argentines show their vocabulary even to avoid repeating place names. Halfway between two oceans, so you can understand us, only that he could see both if he stood on tiptoe. They say that Jorge had acromegaly, a disease that basically causes the body to produce growth hormone beyond its means. What used to be called gigantism, go. Only those are the words of doctors and doctors. There, in the middle of a misery that sometimes stole the bread from his mouth, Jorge was just great.

Well, just no. A lot. Very. The guy was 2.15 when he was still a teenager, which is the height of a good pivot in Europe and the age of a young man in rural Argentina. And of course, with that bearing he ended up playing basketball. What is this about the ball, how does it get into that small ring, who can have fun with these things. On their way, they cross some of the sports totems there. Óscar Rozanovich, for example, who saw an endless teenager buying cigarettes and asked him if he played basketball (basketball and basketball we are going to use as synonyms … We clarify it in case you are high-level central centers). No, hey, they don’t even have slippers for me. A 56 chock, believe me. The voice that spreads and ends up reaching Najdunel, coach of the albiceleste. Many do not know that Argentina was the first world champion of this sport, back in 1950. To get revenge for football, surely. That was Chile third, Brazil fourth, Egypt fifth and Peru seventh, okay, but the United States also came out as runners-up and France, Spain or Yugoslavia were there. The thing is, after that brilliant start, basketball had gone into crisis over there, and a (very optimistic) Najdunel thought that the future lay in that big boy, with few words and sly humor (when the humor came out).

Jorge Gónzalez, in his time as a basketball player.  (Archive)
Jorge Gónzalez, in his time as a basketball player. (Archive)

Because, in addition, it continues to grow. Play in Gymnastics and Fencing, which is one of the scariest team names I know. Then he goes to Sport Club Cañadense (step back in the ‘cool’ of the denomination, no doubt). The guy is already at two meters and 30 centimeters, which is something worth taking into account (even more so at the time), so he makes his debut with the albiceleste. And it begins to look eighty …

Because he comes to Spain, to play nothing less than the Christmas Tournament, organized by the Real Madrid, something so topical, so from its time, like the Movida or the farlopa (and excuse the reiteration). A thing between the competition and the festive (which became erotic-festive hours later) where manes, mustaches and, in general, pints of pimp guys like Sabonis (breaking molds, and boards) or Petrović walked. Advertising of Larios, Licor 43 or Winston, cloud of smoke in the enclosure. They say that some spectator was even sober …

To the NBA with the Atlanta Hawks

Well, that’s where Jorge González appears. Year 1986. Y stands out, of course. Not for good (the guy was slow and clumsy), but just … hey. Tall as a strawberry tree. Between that showcase (at Christmas there are a lot of cameras and usually little news) and the 1988 Tournament of the Americas, some eyes are on it. Eyes of the good guys, of the Yankees. My God, there is money there. And he seems ready to dive into it. Atlanta Hawks picks him in draft. First Argentine in history. The position doesn’t look like much (fourth of the third round, 54th overall, just behind Anthony Mason), but still … You’re going to be famous, Jorge. You are going to be. Remember your friends.

If the boy even once had to be weighed on a truck scale

Only … Well, sometimes not. González leaves for Atlanta and they tell him that, hey, let’s see, how to explain to him without being offended … you are deep, friend. Fondón. I do not know if I understand. It is worth measuring 230 centimeters (it reached 232, but at this point what does a few fingers up or down matter), but the kilos … For 180 that goes, nothing less, and so there is no way. That here we run, and no knee can bear that. If he even limps when he walks, good man, when I catch him by band Laimbeer possibly send him to the hospital. Bit of a bastard, Laimbeer, I don’t know if you know him. Anyway, I lose … I lose weight. I got off … I don’t know, 30 kilos? And then we’ll talk. Do you think? Okay, here, this is my phone. And remember, no fried, donuts and the like, which go straight to the hips, hahaha If I am the monda.

Nothing, losing battle. If the boy even once had to be weighed on a truck scale. Or so the legend tells us. Don’t tell me it’s not picturesque. He never made his debut with the Hawks. But maybe in the United States I could make a career in another way … It’s just, look at me. They don’t want me to put myself in an office to type, right? If with a finger I pick five letters, friends. No, there has to be something. Anything else. Let’s see … yes, maybe on TNT.

Recruited for the ‘pressing catch’

TNT is the acronym for Turner Networking Television. Ted Turner TV, wow, these Yankees are very to put their names to names. There they broadcast every week something called WCW (World Championship Wrestling) and it consisted of … well, let’s see how I explain it … it was something of big guys in flashy costumes sticking together but in a lie. Here in Spain Telecinco began to broadcast it under the name of ‘pressing catch’, because you are never drunk enough when it comes to choosing titles, and because “gentlemen in underpants, gone on steroids, sweating a lot and hugging” was too long, I suppose. Come on, that the Giant González was recruited through Richard Kane (same scout who had taken him to Atlanta) for that typical American wrestling that went from city to city providing circus, theater and some pranks. Oh yeah…

Obviously, his tasks were not going to be jumping, or risky movements or speed. No, González’s main characteristic was being big (you see, there are some who are just handsome and nobody says anything to them), so they called him ‘Giant’ and put him there to share lazy hosts with Ric Flair, Sting and Lex Luger. Legends of this, folks, whatever this is. He trained for a year to prepare and then he spent another three in Turner’s company, which already greeted from the box next to Jane Fonda. He signed a contract for three seasons, in total, about $ 600,000. He never dreamed of winning so much …

He moved with difficulty, like star blows he presented head butts and slaps on someone else’s chest

Let’s just say watching Gonzalez wasn’t too much fun (and we’re being soft). He moved with difficulty, like star blows he presented head butts and slaps on someone else’s chest (which sounds like a whip cracking, chas, but surely they are of little effectiveness in a fight between neighborhood quinquis) and, in general, he fell little, clumsy and evil. But damn, it was so big … so much that Vince McMahon put his eyes on it and took it to the WWF, which is the company that you all know, because there they left the Last Warrior, Y Hulk Hogan, and Los Sacamantecas, and we were young, and on Saturday mornings there were no hangovers and life was a better place … I’m sure you know what I mean.

Anyway, that’s where the Giant makes his debut, because a guy of such size is always needed in this business, and one of those had just died André Roussimof after spending the last few years drinking beer from trash cans and remembering when Samuel Beckett I would take him by car, and then The Promised Princess, how good that “my name is Íñigo Montoya” and so on, damn, what a great phrase. Anyway, it took a Maciste (or a Mazinger) to oppose the little ones, and our protagonist fit the bill perfectly. That, hey, with what it was difficult for him to fit in places, it is not a plan to get exquisite either.

He came to fight in Wrestlemania (which is like the Olympic Games of this shed), nothing less than in front of the Undertaker

It is a star, too. In the WWF they put him, possibly, the ugliest suit of all history on world television, a kind of diver that looked like nudity (but without gonads, just in case) and had hair on shoulders and back, because if you’re tall you are supposed to tend to hirsutism, I suppose. He came to fight in Wrestlemania (which is like the Olympic Games in this shed), no less than in front of the Undertaker. And if you do not know who the Undertaker is, I congratulate you, because he is a ‘postmillennial’, and he has the best years of his life ahead of him, and he does not have gray hair in his bangs, and, honestly, I do not know what he is doing reading this with that of interesting things he has on the street to do. Really. ‘Carpe Diem’. Well, that, he lost against the Undertaker (because everyone lost against the Undertaker, mind you, except Tito Santana, who took his arm out of a body bag, I swear, and we all believed it, and, hey, now I understand a lot of things ), and his career was going up. A star. In his own, but a star. Cameos in the series. ‘The Baywatch’, for example, which is a bad place to aspire to the Oscar, but it looks good when it comes to taking pictures. Little dolls with his figure (identical in size to the others, which was clearly a scam). Luxury, training, work. Also women and excesses, of course. Happy times, remember later.

This is how Jorge González entered the ring.  (WWE)This is how Jorge González entered the ring.  (WWE)
This is how Jorge González entered the ring. (WWE)

He lost everything to be with the family

“My mother died”, he will tell the journalist years later Leila Warrior. “My mother died, and I came to Argentina, it took me so long to arrive that I could not attend the funeral, and then I spent some time here because I couldn’t leave the family alone. They, the Americans, did not understand it, and there I lost everything. They fired me. He would never be the fighting Giant again, only Giant, to dry. I continued a bit in Japan, that there is a lot of love for these things, but it was not the same. Less money, more toughness. I ended up coming back. No more ridiculous leggings, no more looking mean. For what…”.

It also had health problems. The weight, as always, which reached 200 kilos. Diabetes, a side effect of his acromegaly. They say that He passed out in his last Japanese match. Lipothymia The knees? Shattered. More and more pain. What sense does it make. Only life was unfair. He, who had won so much, soon began to see that everything was losing him. Little by little. With the success, friends sprang up around every corner; as it began to wither, he found that there were fewer and fewer left. Sometimes he was on TV, or in old reports that recalled his glory years. But nothing more. He could barely stand. Crutches first, even a wheelchair later. I lived almost in poverty. How far were the beaches of Malibu, Pamela Anderson and the other girls.

In the end, In 2010, Jorge González died. He was in a health center in San Martín. I was only 44 years old, a thousand health problems and as many centimeters as stories to tell. Some about sports. Others, the good ones, who knows what …

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