Meet Jahmani ‘The Jordan of dwarf basketball’



Tiny Jahmani Swanson stands just 4ft 5ins tall but has become a giant of the sport with his show-stopping displays.

The 29-year-old’s strength, speed and scoring record has made a mockery of anyone who thinks basketball players need to be tall.

He plays pro-league basketball with a court team in New York, and has no problem taking on players almost twice his size.

Jahmani thrives on proving wrong anyone who doubts his abilities and has amassed a legion of fans on Instagram.

He said: “People underestimate me all the time and that’s what really motivates me more.

“People think if they’re bigger than me they can post me up but just because I’m small it doesn’t mean I’m weak.

“People come at me because they want to think that I’m not that good.

“I love it. It’s been something I’ve been facing since I was one or two years old.

“I face it when I’m on the street and I face it when I’m on the court but it’s a stage and I love showing what I can do.”

Jahmani-SwansonJahmani can also count celebrities like David Beckham amongst his many supporters, and has played alongside the likes of actor Jamie Foxx and musician R Kelly.

He said: “I meet a lot of celebrities at games and charity events because I always get invited because I am well known for my videos.

“It’s funny because quite often the celebs want to have pictures with me as much as I do with them. I had my photograph snapped with David Beckham who told me he was a fan.

“Lemar Oden and Khloe Kardashian both loved my videos and loved my game so they wanted to hang out with me. He was really good player and she was really fun – and of course beautiful.

Jahmani-Swanson 4“I played Jamie Foxx when I was in New York, he is so charismatic on the court and a great player.

“R Kelly loved shooting hoops when I took to the court with him in LA. He was so much fun, and talented. He must have shot 60 hoops.

“R Kelly and Jamie could be pros in their own right, it makes for better game.”

When he isn’t inspiring on the court, Jahmani tours around US schools encouraging children to follow their dreams – no matter what their ‘limitations’.

He said: “I tell kids what I have overcome and say to them that they can achieve it too.

“It’s the kid who may have one hand who is told he can’t play and then he sees me and knows he can do it.”

Jahmani’s hero as a child was Michael Jordan, and when he was just a toddler he became obsessed with basketball.

He said: “I was sleeping with a basketball instead of a teddy bear when I was a kid.

Jahmani-Swanson 2“All I wanted to do was play. I was a huge fan of Michael Jordan and if he was playing then I was playing.

“My mother had to tell me many a time to stop playing ball at 12 o’clock in the middle of the night because they got tired of hearing the ball bounce and things breaking.

“Basketball is something I really love – it’s in my DNA.”

Jahmani is confident that if he was five or six inches taller that he would be playing for NBA, but says that he wouldn’t change anything about his life.

He said: “I know God has blessed me with my talent. Basketball has got me to where I am in life and it’s going to keep giving me more.

“If I was five foot one I’d be the best in the world and a lot of my fans say I am the best player in the world anyway.

“But I wouldn’t trade this. I’ve never in my life said I hate being short.

“I’m doing everything I would do if I was tall and now when I walk outside I feel like I’m six foot, eight foot, nine foot, whatever. I still get seen and I still do what I’m doing.

“The world is a stage and I’m here to perform.”


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