By Catherine Reid
A giant with size 19 feet has become Britain’s Tallest Man at a whopping 7ft 7ins.
Paul Sturgess, from Loughborough, Leicestershire, already held the record for the world’s tallest basketball player and eats a staggering 7,000 calories a day.
The 29-year old, who is 231.8cm tall, has now been crowned the tallest man in Britain, after the death of Britain’s previous tallest man in February.
Now a professional basketball player for the Harlem Globetrotters, the giant enjoys free first class upgrades on flights because of his height.
Weighing 24 and a half stone, Paul is also too big for a king sized bed and is famed for his ‘standing dunk’ on the basketball court.
He said: “I was always the tallest in my class, but never by much.
“I was a pretty average sized baby, weighing 9lbs, so I wasn’t massive but my mum did say I had really long legs.
“I hit 6ft when I was 15, and that’s when I had my really big growth spurt and mum took me to the doctors.
“By the time I was 17 I was 7ft, and I just got taller and taller.”
Doctors confirmed Paul’s unusual height is genetic, although his mum is a titch by comparison at just 5ft 6ins.
His dad is 6ft 7ins and the other men in his family are all over 6ft, although Paul is the first one to go over 7ft.
For Tall Paul, his height always made him popular in school and he was rarely criticised.
He started playing basketball in college before bagging a lucrative scholarship at Mountain State University in West Virginia.
Paul – whose nickname is Paul ‘Tiny’ Sturgess – said: “A couple of friends in college suggested I try basketball, and I got the bug for it straight away.
“I knew I had an immediate advantage and a lot of opportunities came my way, like being scouted.
“I can grab the basketball net from the floor and I do a standing dunk which has sort of become my trademark move.
“My height does have the awe factor, but to be honest – especially playing basketball – people are used to players being tall.”
Living in America, Paul doesn’t have too much trouble buying clothes or finding shoes to fit his size 19 feet.
But fitting in cars and getting on a plane usually poses a problem for the sportsman.
He said: “I buy my clothes when I’m in America and our sponsors [for Harlem Globetrotters] send us things every year so I don’t really have a problem getting shoes either.
“We have to travel a lot so we have a special tour bus with extra legroom and the hotels are contacted in advance to make sure I have a king sized bed.
“But even then, I have to sleep across it.”
He added: “Planes aren’t ideal but I usually get a free upgrade to first class so I don’t have any complaints.
“Driving is pretty difficult and I have to recline the seat all the way back – there’s no way anyone can sit behind me.
“I also have to hunch over in the shower and I eat tonnes.”
A typical breakfast for Paul includes cereal, an omelette, porridge, toast AND fruit.
For lunch he would eat two foot-long Subways and dinner is a 20oz steak with vegetables.
Paul, who’s currently single, said: “During basketball season I eat 7,000 calories a day, and outside of this I’ll usually have around 5,000 calories a day.
“My food bill is quite expensive but I can’t short myself when it comes to eating.
“When I’m on tour we’re given £50 a day for food and I’ll spend all of it every day.
“My mum was brilliant when I was growing up though, she never complained and always gave me what I needed.”
He was crowned Britain’s tallest man after the previous record holder, Neil Fingleton, died in February, aged 36. Neil was just 1cm taller than Paul.