This Was The Other Sport Big Show Excelled At

Coming in at a towering seven feet high, Big Show is one of the tallest wrestlers in WWE history, even if he is actually on the shorter end of the WWE's list of its seven tallest Superstars. He tied with Kane and Big Cass for spot number five, but the promotion has seen four other giants taller than seven feet. Still, stack 400 pounds onto that skyscraping frame and add in Big Show's expert flair for spectacle — as seen in his highly publicized feuds with Shaq and Floyd Mayweather – and you've got the perfect recipe for an absolute tyrant of the squared circle.

Big Show's definitely got the accolades to back that attitude up, too. According to his official WWE bio, he has taken the WCW World Championship from Hulk Hogan and is known as the first Superstar to win Championships in the top three promotions: WCW, ECW, and WWE. At WrestleMania 31 in 2015, he came out on top at the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. "Still knocking heads more than two decades after his in-ring debut," reads his bio, "Big Show remains a monstrous threat. Best of luck to anyone who crosses his path."

But Big Show didn't start out dominating in the ring. As a younger (though still just as giant) man, he once struck fear in the hearts of opponents in a totally different type of arena.

Big Show also excelled on the basketball court

Big Show is actually a very well-rounded athlete. He started off with team sports back when he was still just good old gargantuan Paul Wright. He played football and basketball in high school in South Carolina, and although you'd think such a big dude would be perfect for the gridiron, where he truly excelled was on the basketball court. According to Bleacher Report, Big Show had some pretty impressive stats, averaging over 32 points, 20 rebounds, and 11 blocks per game during his senior year. In one state playoff game, he racked up a whopping 61 points. He made the all-conference team three years and the all-class team two years during his high school career.

Big Show said in a 2013 Sports Illustrated interview that basketball gave him his first taste of what it felt like to please a crowd. He sunk the first shot he took in seventh grade made the 60 or so people in the gym cheer for him (what "might as well have been Giants Stadium," he said), and he liked how it felt. "It got me hooked," said Big Show. Sports became his way of connecting with other kids, a place where his huge size didn't set him apart in a bad way. "I had always stuck out as a bit of a freak, so athletics gave me a chance to make friends." It would also be his ticket to university.

Big Show played ball for the Wichita State Shockers

Although he towered over other players on the court, Big Show said he sat the bench a lot because of his attitude. "I was an arrogant S.O.B. as a young teenager if you can imagine that or not," he told SI. And that attitude became even more of a hindrance when he went to play ball at Wichita State. "I was used to being the guy, the stud in high school. Team play was kind of a new concept," he said. It was difficult for him to adapt to the ball-moving, team-oriented world of college basketball. And his trash-talking got him into even more trouble. He was punished with runs at five in the morning and made to sit the bench a lot. Luckily, that attitude was perfect for a sport like pro wrestling.

His college ball experience wasn't what he'd thought it was going to be, but it did teach him a lot about life. He ultimately didn't get his degree, a mistake he's always said he wanted to correct someday. He advised college athletes not to neglect their studies. "If there's any advice I could give any of those athletes, it's that life has a lot of challenges in front of you and don't put all your eggs in one basket," he said. "If you have a chance to get the degree, get it." Still, traveling the world wrestling ain't bad, either, big guy.