Ehe tallest player in NBA history could be North Korean Ri Myung-hun. With their 2,35 metros entered the Guinness Book of Records as tallest living human being. However, a law that is 81 years old and the bad relations between North Korea and the United States They ended up frustrating the dream of the giant, who even changed his name in honor of his idol: because of his admiration for Jordan, he asked to be called Michael Ri.
Having brought to fruition that adventure undertaken at the end of the 90s, Ri would have surpassed the 2.31 meters of Gheorghe Muresan and Manute Bol, the two highest in NBA history. And he may have opened the door to Asian players, something he did later. Yao Ming. But above anything else he might have exercised diplomatic work between two opposing countries. Despite his efforts and his wishes, none of this was achieved.
In 1997, the North Korean giant traveled to Canada to train. She soon drew attention to her size, but also to her coordination, unbecoming of someone her size. In the NBA his name began to sound as if he were the protagonist of a mythological story. Six franchises showed interest in giving it a try. Everything was going and Ri’s dream seemed on track… until top with bureaucracy and international relations.
The United States Department of State prevented him from playing in the NBA by joining the law of trading with the enemy, of 1917, which prohibits US companies from doing business with, among other countries, North Korea and its citizens. Later he was allowed to play on one condition: you should not send any of your salary to North Korea. the beloved leader Kim Jong Il, a great fan of basketball and the American League, wanted to see his compatriot in the League, but not at any price. He refused that first proposal and said that would only accept if Ri was paid in wheat.
used as a political weapon
The player just got tired of being in the crossfire of the two powers. She felt that she was being used as a political weapon. “I thought that if I could play in the NBA, it would contribute to friendly relations between my country and the United States. But my efforts have had the opposite effect. They wanted to use me for political purposes. The ones that I surrender”lamented in an interview with CNN.
Ri keep playing in north korea, of whose League there was no news, and with the national team, in which he was the most outstanding player. In addition, he was given a place in the army. The last that is known about him, at 54 years old, is through some photos in which he appears with Dennis Rodman on one of the eccentric player’s diplomatic trips to Pyongyang, since he is a friend of Kim-Jong Un. “I wanted to test my skills. I was not interested in money or politics. As an athlete, I just wanted to try.”said who could be the greatest giant in the history of the NBA.