He may be short, but he’s a cut above the rest

Dylan Tong

No one chooses to be short, but choice — and courage — are involved in joining a sport typically dominated by tall people.


At 151 cm, 17-year-old Dylan Tong was the shortest when he joined his secondary school basketball team at Bishan Park Secondary (BPSS). He is also the shortest in his current ITE College Central basketball team, and in Team BPSS which he played with at W.A.D! Games on July 20, 2013.


He had played other sports such as soccer and table tennis, but he found basketball to be his favourite, so he joined anyway. He has been playing the sport since the age of 13.


“People said I was short (and should not play basketball), but I didn’t care about what other people say about me,” he said. To him, he found that playing basketball was “very fun”, and that was more important than people’s remarks about his height.


He believes tall and short players each have their advantages and disadvantages. “Tall guys can be slow, whereas short guys are faster. Short people can also dribble the ball very low, so it’s difficult for others to snatch the ball.”


He tries to work on his strengths, being fast and accurate in shooting the ball into the hoop. He also learns from roles models such as Chicago Bulls’ player Nate Robinson who’s among the shortest players in the NBA (National Basketball Association).


Dylan said: “He wasn’t very good in his first few seasons, but he is someone who never gives up and will give his best. He became a role model for me because he’s short and yet he could get into the NBA.” Nate Robinson and another player, both 175 cm tall, are currently the shortest players who still actively play for the NBA, which is widely considered to be the premier men’s professional basketball league in the world.


To others who may struggle to stand out and be different, his encouragement is this: “Ignore the criticism. Know what your own strengths and weaknesses are. Be even better at your strengths, and work on your weaknesses.”

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