tall are you?!”
That’s the first question Jontay Porter gets asked as we walk up to the front desk at the Aqua Golf facility in Denver. “I’m 6-10—you?” Porter responds. The wide-eyed clerk says he’s 6-foot-5 himself; he has never felt this small.
As we make our way past the desk and toward the first hole, we notice that there’s a driving range to our left, with golfers trying to hit floating targets on a small lake. Porter looks at the scene longingly—if he wasn’t hurt, he’d want to be out there. But he’s recovering from the two ACL surgeries he’s had since last October. Two weeks before he hopes to hear his name called in the 2019 NBA draft, he has not yet been cleared to pivot off his right knee. So instead of the driving range, the 19-year-old former Missouri basketball player and I are here to stroll through 18 holes of mini golf. There are only two sizes of putters available, small and large, and even the large one looks toothbrush-sized in Porter’s hands.