Ball is life. You get it, and so do we. Some people, though, take their love of the game a bit too far – and Jonathon Nicola appears to be one of them.
According to Trevor Wilhelm of the Windsor Star, the top player for Windsor, Ontario’s Catholic Central High School was arrested earlier this week after border officers discovered the 30-year-old had been posing as a teenager for the past six months.
For a story detailing his prodigious on-court exploits that was published in January, Nicola told The Star he came to Canada in late November after fleeing war-torn South Sudan. He’d been living with Catholic Central coach Pete Cusumano ever since, who reportedly believed the lanky center “had a shot” to play in the NBA.
Neither the Canada Border Services agency nor school officials would shed any further light on these exceedingly strange circumstances. Nicola is being held under violation of the Immigration Refugee Protection Act. Authorities elected to continue detaining him after reviewing the case on Tuesday; an additional hearing with the Immigration and Refugee Board is scheduled for next week.
At 6’9 and 202 pounds, Nicola surely towers over most if not all of his opponents – as many grown men would. He also shows a smooth shooting stroke and relatively advanced ball-handling ability for a player of his size.
A Twitter user responding to the story claims to have been dunked on by Nicola, too.
— retro_Boomie (@acebxxmie) April 21, 2016
No one without first-hand experience could possibly comprehend the pains Nicola was going through in South Sudan. Perhaps fraudulently enrolling in high school was the only realistic route he saw to making it out of his native country. It goes without saying there are layers to this tale the public will never fully understand.
Something everyone knows, though? A 30-year-old basketball player of even modest ability will dominate teenage competition on the hardwood – especially one standing three inches short of seven feet.