Updated: Tuesday, 25th February 2020 @ 1:10pm

Manchester Giants' Dunk King gets LeBron James seal of approval and encourages youngsters to take up sport

Manchester Giants' Dunk King gets LeBron James seal of approval and encourages youngsters to take up sport

By Sarah Brook

Manchester Giants Dunk King Champion Stefan Gill is urging youngsters to get involved with basketball and move the sport forwards.

The 5ft 7 guard – who is the smallest player in the team – joined the newly reformed Giants at the start of the season from Milton Keynes Lions.

Speaking exclusively to MM, Gill explained that people should not think twice about playing basketball and get involved.

He said: “Participation is the frontline to moving the sport forwards and providing Mancunians an opportunity to be professional athletes without having to travel thousands of miles away from home.”

Gill, who first picked up a basketball for the sake of playing a sport where he could stay warm, admitted that it was his childhood dream to play for the Giants.

He said: “At school, we used to get free tickets to go watch Manchester Giants play at the Manchester Arena.

“I instantly fell in love with the atmosphere and fast pace of the game.

“Ever since watching a Giants game, I always wanted to one day play for them and I am trying to make the most of every minute of my opportunity.”

Gill admitted that although the team have started the season in first gear, the Giants are transitioning smoothly into the league and the results will come.

He explained: “There is a very positive attitude towards where we are trying to be as a team, club and brand in terms of leaving a legacy on and off the court and I would definitely love to be a part of that.”

“Work hard, stay hungry and stay humble,” he added.

As the smallest player in the team, Gill believes his height affects his performance in all the right ways.

He said: “I am low to the ground, making me agile and quick.

“I'm also very strong and can jump a little bit too which helps.”

The Giants guard was crowned Dunk King Champion in 2012 and with the all-time basketball legend LeBron James on the judging panel, Gill was delighted with the achievement.

He explained: “It's always nice to have positive attention and as any competitive sportsperson would tell you, winning is the prime objective so it was a very good feeling.”

Picture courtesy of twilight-photography.co.uk

For more on this story and many others, follow Mancunian Matters on Twitter and Facebook.