Brave Williams from New York is just 17 but is already 7ft 1 and growing
Towering over his teammates at 7ft 1in tall, 17-year-old Brave Williams is hoping his height can help propel him to sporting stardom.
The 400lb senior at Lake Shore High School in Angola, New York, is already a highly-regarded member of his high school basketball and American football teams.
And the youngster is now setting his sights on winning a much-coveted college athletic scholarship.
‘When I was five years old, I was like 5ft 3in.’
'The teachers thought I was actually a second grader, so they put me in the wrong class for about an hour before they realised their mistake.’
'I had to tell them that I was just starting school.’
However, Brave very nearly didn’t make it to even his first birthday - he had to be delivered via caesarian because the umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck.
'The doctors tried to pull me out three times before they were going to take more drastic measures. But as soon as my dad touched my mom’s forehead, I let go, and the doctors got me out,’ Brave told high school sports site MaxPreps.
'My dad instantly named me Brave because I needed a strong name.’
Specialists were concerned that he might be suffering from a form of gigantism known as Sotos syndrome, but tests done at three months and again at three years came back clear - much to the relief of his mother Angela.
She said: 'Every day he grew more and more, so that was when I got worried.
'To finally get the word that you have just got a tall kid was really relieving to say the least.’
Brave is now 7ft 1in tall - the same as Basketball Hall of Fame legend Shaquille O'Neal - but experts predict will be 7ft 5in by the time he stops growing, the same size as his great-great uncle.
Brave said: 'He made a pine tree look like a sapling. So, I think that’s where I got most of my height from.’
Born of African-American and Native American heritage, Brave lives on the Cattaraugus Reservation in the Seneca Nation of Indians.
The tall teen sleeps in a custom-made bed, although his feet still dangle off the end, and wears size 21 shoes.
While Brave’s size makes him killer on the court, it does also attract unwelcome attention in the form of stares and comments.
Mom Angela said: 'It was tough for me when my son turned five because then he had to go to school and I had to share him with the world.
'It was hard because he is sensitive and people stare, they look, they point.
'Now he’ll take the time to talk to everybody, people ask him the same questions over and over again - “How tall are you? Are you a wrestler? Are you this? Are you that?” And he just takes the time to respond, that’s his special gift.’
Brave is now determined to go on and become a pro athlete, but says he wants to go to college and complete his studies first - and would like to major in engineering.
And for 5ft 9in Angela, Brave’s stature is more than just an accident of genetics.
'I thought about my son being tall for a long time, and I think there is a reason why he’s so tall - because it gets him noticed and makes people listen to him,’ she added.
'But the rest is what matters, what really makes him special. I know he’s going to do big things.’