Skip to main content

The 12-year-old giant standing at 6-Foot-10 impressed the basketball world

The pre-teen from Anjou, a borough in east Montreal, became an unsuspecting internet star over the weekend when a video of a game he'd played against fellow 12-year-olds in Spain went viral. Playing on eight-foot nets against players that looked like toddlers, by comparison, Rioux thoroughly dominated.

Rioux stood like a maypole in the center of the pre-game huddle, his teammates dancing around him. He swatted away shots with ease. He dunked without leaving his feet. He scored backward over his head.

Missing a jump shot from inside the three-point line? Doesn’t matter, just take two long strides towards the hoop, pick up the offensive rebound and slam home a dunk. Your teammate’s in possession but is too well guarded and can’t see an option with the shot clock running down? Never mind, just pass to the bloke whose armpits sit inches above everyone else’s head.

Just make sure the ball doesn’t hit the roof en route to Rioux’s outstretched hands.

In the last three years, he's helped propel the Chénier School basketball team to the top in terms of the number of medals won in competitions between elementary schools under the Pointe de l'île School Board.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

Rioux, who's just two inches shy of the Toronto Raptors' tallest players — Jonas Valanciunas, Jakob Poeltl, and Lucas Nogueira are all seven feet — has been playing basketball since he was five his dad said. Jean-Francois, who was a volleyball player, knew even as a toddler that Olivier would be tall. He's grown at the rate of about 10 centimeters a year, and doctors have told the family he hasn't stopped.

Jean-Francois is 6-8, while Rioux's mom Anne Gariepy is 6-1. Rioux's older brother Emile, who is 15 and six foot nine, also plays basketball. "It's hard work ... all the time he puts into it," said the boy's father, Jean-François Rioux. "It's good for him — basketball helps him spend his energy."

Even competing against teams from different school boards, Chénier triumphs. The school, overwhelmed by the success, has stopped counting its awards.

Shaquille O'Neal, by comparison, was 5-10 at Rioux's age but would grow nearly a foot time he turned 16.

After leading Chenier elementary school to numerous titles, Rioux will attend Saint-Jean-Vianney high school, which his dad said has a strong basketball program, in the fall. Like many young athletes, the dream is to one day sign a lucrative contract with the NBA.

Chicago Bulls guard Alex Caruso

“The NBA told me I couldn’t” — Chicago Bulls guard Alex Caruso wasn't allowed to switch jersey number

Caruso wanted to honor Bill Russell, but the NBA had a surprising reason not to allow the switch.

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James and assistant coach Phil Handy

“This man doesn’t work hard all the time” - Lebron James’ work ethic was once questioned by an assistant coach

Phil Handy initially thought LeBron James didn't give his full effort all the time until he witnessed Zero Dark Thirty 23 in the playoffs.

Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka talks with forward Jayson Tatum

"S**t, on Twitter, like everybody else." — Jayson Tatum on how he found out about Ime Udoka's suspension

Tatum, who mentioned that he developed a close bond with Udoka, also revealed that he hasn't spoken to his head coach since the suspension was reported.

USA guard Kobe Bryant, Spain forward Pau Gasol

Kobe Bryant ran through Pau Gasol’s chest just to send a message

Kobe Bryant wanted to set the tone from the first play, and it didn't matter if he had to pin down a close friend.

Milwaukee Bucks forward Khris Middleton, guard Jrue Holiday, and forward Giannis Antetokounmpo

Three Milwaukee Bucks players on ESPN Top-100 list

Despite popular opinion, Jrue Holiday was ranked higher than Khris Middleton.