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RIP Neil Fingleton – The 7’8″ Former Worcester Resident, Holy Name, Holy Cross, UNC Legend, And Game Of Thrones Actor

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It’s with a heavy heart that we pass along the sad news that former Holy Name, North Carolina, and Holy Cross basketball star Neil Fingleton passed away today at the age of 36. Neil came to the states from England as a sophomore to play basketball for the Napoleans.

Two years ago 18 yr old Neil Fingleton traveled to Worcester from his home in Durham, England to learn a game he had never played. Tommorow (Dec1) he will have come full circle when he announces ( at a press conf at Holy Name High School of Worcester) his decision to accept a full Basketball scholarship at the University of North Carolina. Staff Photo: Mark Garfinkel

ca. 2000, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA --- Neil Fingleton (7'6") with his basketball team at Holy Name Central Catholic High School. He now plays center for Holy Cross College. --- Image by © Michael Brennan/CORBIS


I remember it well because Holy Name was already good before he got there, and I went to a school that played Holy Name twice a year. Our center was 5’11”, 240 pounds of pure fatness. There’s was a 7’5″ Brit who was just learning the game. As you can imagine, we got slaughtered something like 100-40, resulting in a conga line around the Holy Name gym with 30 seconds left in the game, and the eventual suspension of several Worcester South High School students.

By the time Neil went to college at North Carolina he was 7’8″ and easily the tallest player in this prestigious basketball school’s history. He’s the last Central Mass basketball player to make the McDonald’s All-American team. Here he is swatting the shit out of Brian Boddicker, who went on to star at the University of Texas:

His highlight reel at UNC wasn’t as glamorous – sitting out his freshmen year due to injury, and then playing in only one game in his second season. Here’s his career highlights at UNC:

After that it was on to Holy Cross where his playing days eventually fizzled out.

My favorite photo of 2003 is Colgate's Dave Hardy having to guard Holy Cross' Neil Fingleton, who stood more than a foot taller than Hardy, during a Patriot League basketball game in Hamilton, Feb, 11, 2003. This kind of mismatch happens sometimes in basketball with the movements of players back and forth on the court and caused me to laugh even as I was taking the photo. There even seems to be a smirk on Hardy's face as he realizes what he is suddenly up against. I laugh everytime I see this image. I know you're wondering just how tall Fingleton is. At 6'2'', Hardy stands three inches taller than I do, but guarding a man 7' 6" tall is a BIG order. (MICHAEL DOHERTY) CQ

But his acting career was just beginning. You can read all about it on his Wikipedia pageHis greatest role was probably his brief gig on Game of Thrones.



Remarkably his parents are only 6′ and no one in his immediate family is particularly tall. We’re not sure exactly what happened, or how he died, but the man was a legend in his brief stay in Worcester. May he rest in peace.






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9 Comment(s)
  • Chris
    April 5, 2017 at 2:22 pm

    Why do you advertise for the attorney that rep jorge sambrano? Anthony Salerno

  • Too Tall Tim
    Too Tall Tim
    February 27, 2017 at 11:58 pm

    My condolences to his family, his friends, and fans.

    It is true that many of us who have physical conditions resulting in some types of gigantism have heart or vascular issues, but Neil was known to be a genetic giant, as am I, and we usually have hearts that have grown in proportion to the rest of our body and have the ability to function much like that of an average person. I personally have an issue with erratic blood pressure but it might not be related to my gigantism. My doctors don’t seem too concerned about it. I have the common arthritis issue but that’s not life threatening.

    A personal friend of Neil’s made this statement on a website –
    “The reports of a heart attack are FALSE. Nobody knows of the cause of Neil’s death until the results of an autopsy. Although 7’7″ tall Neil was genetically tall and accordingly his cardio vascular system was proportioned according to his size, and he just looked like a regular guy as he was in perfect proportion until he came over and stood next to you and then you realised that he was 232cm (7’7″). He was a very fit man having played basketball in the US. The film roles that he undertook were often very punishing like the fight scene he did in 47 Ronin with Keanu Reeves (this was actually Neil who did this and not CGI. All in all Neil was unique; the tallest ever non acromegalic human being, perfectly proportioned and ONE in 7 BILLION people!”
    “Neil had a wicked sense of humor and he was an exceptional role model to tall people. Although Neil didn’t become a member of the Tall Persons Club he actively mentored some super tall kids in different countries and helped them learn to handle their height.” –

    Kind-of makes me nervous. I’m 28 and perhaps naively thinking my life span would be to around 50 like the other giants in my father’s ancestry, but Neil’s death makes me wonder about my own mortality…

    Tim M., aka “Too Tall Tim/Timmy)”

  • Finnish Goalie
    February 26, 2017 at 9:36 am

    That’s a shame. I had friends that played for Saint Peter-Marian when he was on the team. Strange to think how many years have passed.

  • Sarah from Webster
    February 26, 2017 at 9:15 am

    “There’s”? Really? It should read “theirs”. Love you guys. Proof read before you publish.

  • Dave P
    February 25, 2017 at 11:04 pm

    I remember seeing him play against Leominster at WPI when I was in high school. Leominster had a guy that was legit 7 feet, who I’d see in the hallway occasionally. I couldn’t believe how small he looked next to Fingleton though.

    I had no idea he was the Thenn from Game of Thrones.

    It’s sad to see him go at such a young age.

  • Troubled Nostrils
    February 25, 2017 at 6:37 pm

    As I recall, he missed 2 or 3 dunks in that one GoT episode. Clanged’em right off the rim.

  • Publius
    February 25, 2017 at 6:20 pm

    Found success in Game of Thrones though he was not much of a college player, not D1 anyway.

  • Doer
    February 25, 2017 at 6:11 pm

    Sad, he was very young. He graduated Holy Cross, played pro-basketball in Europe, went on to acting too. He had it going on for sure. RIP young man.

  • Turd Burglestein
    February 25, 2017 at 6:05 pm

    A lot of times people who are abnormally tall like that will have a pre disposition for heart issues. The problem is they have a normal sized heart trying to powerba super sized body and their heart just has to work harder than yours or mine. Andre’ The Giant also had issues of this nature.

    RIP Neil

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