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Sunday, February 23, 1997 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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`Big Foot' Nickname Fits Teen With Size-22 Basketball Shoes

AP

BRAMPTON, Ontario - Allan Joseph's nickname is Big Foot, and with good reason.

The 15-year-old student at Brampton's Notre Dame High School has been on quite the growth spurt. He is 6 feet 8 and his feet have grown 10 sizes the past year to an incredible size 22.

When basketball coaches Dan Hamilton and Dario Pretto persuaded the 10th grader to play this year, they couldn't find a pair of shoes big enough.

So Pretto approached Reebok, the sporting apparel company that outfitted the school's team, and the NBA's Los Angeles Lakers, whose star center Shaquille O'Neal also wears a size-22 shoe.

"It took six weeks, but Reebok got him a complimentary pair from somewhere in the United States and Shaquille's shoes, which are also free, are coming," Pretto said. "You have to see them. . . . They look like some kind of display or a pair of bookends."

Joseph seemed pleased by the arrangement.

"I was quite surprised they could get me shoes so quickly and figured they'd cost $400 a pair," said Joseph, who paid $600 for a custom pair of ice skates. "It's funny, no one believed me before when I mentioned my foot size and tried to get a pair of shoes."

Joseph, whose father wears a size-12 shoe, said he became concerned about his growth spurt.

"I was tested by doctors and they told me that I could grow as tall as 7 feet, 2 inches. . . . That's scary stuff. It's frustrating when my friends buy clothes and I have to look to the specialty

stores for the over-sized items."

Copyright (c) 1997 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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