Video: 7-foot-7 freshman Robert BobroczkyCheck out the Romanian import on the court and in a one-on-one interview.
At just 16 years old, Robert Bobroczky
is the second-tallest basketball player in the world and taller than anyone currently in the NBA.
The 7-foot-7, 190-pound giant broke the Internet a year ago with highlights of him draining a variety of jumpers, swatting shots, dishing out passes and owning the competition. The viral video produced over 3 million views and inspired a number of hoax claims.
Not only is the native of Romania real – he has arrived in America to play high school basketball.
"Oddly enough, it all started on Facebook," SPIRE Institute (Geneva, Ohio)
Executive Director Bobby Bossman said. "We reached out to him a year ago and got to know him and his family. They trusted us and came over to America to visit and here we are. He's been at our school for three months now and lives on campus."
Ironically, Bobroczky's 7-1 father Zsiga competed on the Romanian national team with Gheorghe Muresan, who is regarded as the tallest player in NBA history at 7-7, along with Manute Bol.
Just a freshman, Bobroczky has yet to make his debut for SPIRE Institute, a state-of-the-art international academy. Bossman told MaxPreps that he expects him to suit up and take the floor by mid-January.
Bossman started the program and was the head coach for the past three seasons. Now in an administrative role, he said he feels that Bobroczky could morph into a special player.
"Robert has a great mid-range shot for his size and can also step out and hit 3-pointers,'' Bossman said. "He has great hands, passing ability and a soft touch around the rim. He has the body, intelligence and skill set to be a pro one day. He's not even close to reaching his potential. But the thing that separates Robert from others is his strong work ethic. The kid just wants it."
Bobroczky is on a different path than most high school basketball players. The choice to attend the SPIRE Institute – an officially certified United States Olympic and Paralympic training facility – was designed to help him reach his full potential.
"Robert is on the court six days a week," Bossman said. "We work on a lot of footwork drills, and it's extremely important that we keep building up his endurance and increase his mobility. He does speed, strength and agility training four days a week. He also meets with our physical therapist three times a week and sports psychologist twice a week for mental training."
At 91 inches and 190 pounds, bulking up is an obvious priority.
"We do weight training to harden his core and he's also in the pool three times a week with our trainers strengthening muscle groups," Bossman said. "He eats three meals a day along with protein and meal replacement shakes. The main thing is ensuring we give him enough calories in his diet, and we're in the adaptive stage to see how his body responds."
Bobroczky is fluent in four languages (English, Hungarian, Italian and Romanian) and carries a 4.0 grade point average.
"There's so much more to Robert than his size," Bossman said. "He's a bit quiet at first, but he has a great sense of humor. My 9-year-old loves him and they joke around all the time. He's very respectful and wants nothing for free. We went to the store, and he pleaded for me not to pay for shaving cream that he needed. He had five dollars waiting for me the next morning. He's just a great kid to be around."