Nine year old Victory Primary School pupil Briana Stewart got to shoot hoops with Nelson Giant Ali Granger last week when he came down to the school. Photo: Kate Russell.

Giant grilled by Victory student


A basketball-mad Victory Primary School pupil got the chance to sit down and interview a Nelson Giant last week, shoot some hoops, and attend her first-ever game at the Hangar on Friday night.

Nine year old Briana Stewart now knows what Mike Pero Nelson Giant Ali Granger has in his drink bottles, how many pairs of shoes he goes through in a season, and how tall he is.

Victory Primary School teacher aide Sharon Tarapipipi says Briana’s class, Room 11, is doing “passion projects” of their choice, and Briana chose basketball.

“Briana is visually impaired and has limited mobility, but enjoys playing basketball at school, and part of her project is to research information she would like to know about basketball,” says Sharon.

“Because of her visual impairment it is easier for us to work with electronic devices and she thought doing a filmed interview with a basketball player would be awesome.”

Sharon contacted the Giants and they were only too happy to send along Ali to be interviewed.

Briana found out that Ali has water and Powerade in his drink bottle, and has quite a few pairs of shoes.

“I am known to have lots of shoes. I have blue shoes for home games, white shoes for away games and a range of different shoes to practice with – so my good ones don’t get dirty for games, of course,” said- Ali.

Also, thanks to the school’s measuring tape, Briana found out Ali was just over 6ft tall.

Ali says the best question on Briana’s well-prepared clipboard was “who came up with the team name” – one that he didn’t actually know the answer to.

“I’ll have to get back to you on that one,” he told her.

Briana says she likes to watch basketball on TV and was “really excited” to find out a real Giant was coming to be interviewed by her.

Sharon says Ali went “over and beyond” their expectations.

“She thought he was funny and cool and she was really happy about the goodies he gave her,” she says.

“And, he spent time afterwards instructing her on how to shoot hoops which was something she had been wanting to get better at, so she’s been feeling really happy and proud of herself.”