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This barker's got game



Published: Mon, September 2, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The young man grew about a foot and a half when he was a junior in high school.

By IAN HILL

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

TERRY HARRIS STANDS OUT FROM THE crowd at the Canfield Fair, and not just because he's 7 feet 6 inches tall.

Harris, 27, is one of the friendliest workers at the fair. There's typically a smile on his face as he talks and plays with fairgoers in front of the basketball game on Coitsville Drive.

"I pull them in with my personality," Harris said. "I talk to everyone. Children, kids, babies."

In the morning, before the fair is crowded, Harris starts conversations with fairgoers by tossing them basketballs as they walk by.

Later, when the fair is packed with people, Harris is the center of attention on Coitsville Drive. A crowd will gather and watch as he plays with teenagers by telling them to grab a basketball that he's holding above his head.

Most teens can't jump high enough to reach a basketball 10 feet above the ground.

Some fairgoers stop to have their picture taken with Harris. He recently posed for one picture by bending over and placing his elbows on a woman's shoulders.

"This is the thing I love to do," Harris said when asked why he works at the fair. "I love to make money. I love to be around people."

Background

Harris has been working at fairs for only about two weeks. He grew up in Harlem, New York.

Harris said during his first two years in high school, he was known as the short kid in class. At the time, he was 4 feet 11 inches tall.

Then, during his junior year, he grew a foot and a half.

"I went from a shrimp, from the shortest guy, to the tallest guy," Harris said, adding that he was "practically buying new clothes, new shoes every week."

Harris wouldn't go into many details about his past. He said he didn't play basketball during high school or in college because he was constantly moving.

'Hooking up'

Harris said he later played basketball in Sean "P. Diddy" Combs' tournament in Harlem's Rucker Park. He said he was a member of the Harlem Globetrotters and Wizards organizations for about a year.

He said that as a Globetrotter, he was responsible for embarrassing audience members by twirling balls around their heads or palming a ball and acting like he was going to throw it at them.

In Harris' hands, a basketball looks about as big as a grapefruit. He can hold a basketball in one hand using only his pinkie and thumb.

Harris gave a very laid-back answer when asked how he got his job with the Globetrotters and at the fair game booth.

"We just hooked up," he said. The game booth is owned by Steven Lisko and Sons.

Harris added that he's not sure where the future will take him.

"We'll see what happens from here," he said.

hill@vindy.com




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