In the fall of 2016, a guy by the name of Jonathan Nikola was playing as a 17-year old junior at the Catholic Central High School in Canada. At 6’9” and 225 lbs, Jonathan was looking like a grown man. Well, that is probably because that is precisely what he was—being regarded as one of the top high school prospects in Canada brought attention to Nikola and eventually got him busted, with the truth coming out. Jonathan was a 30-year old man posing as a 17-year high school player. So how did this even happen?
Jonathan originally came out of South Sudan because he fled the country due to the war that was happening there. While he was playing at his school, Jonathan was living with his head coach because of the program in their school that allowed housing of international students. He blended in perfectly and managed to get unnoticed for about five months.
But all the talk from coaches and scouts that viewed him as an NBA prospect ruined his decoy. I mean, a 30-year old grown man with any basketball skills was bound to dominate high school players based on the sheer physical advantages. Jonathan was acting, dressing, and socializing like a teenager, but in the end, his appearance and domination gave him away. Being listed amongst the 15 best recruits in the country was no small accomplishment but something that definitely brought too much focus on Jonathan.
Once the authorities discovered he wasn’t actually 17, they detained Nikola and accused him of breaching the immigration refugee protection act. Jonathan defended himself, saying he himself didn’t know how old he was. What a stereotypical and hilarious response. But come on, man, when you look at his face and stature, you can’t help but wonder how in the hell did he manage to trick all those people for five months. Kudos for the hustle, but Jonathan took it a bit too far. A crazy story you have to see to believe it.