NBA star Tacko Fall has a hidden talent up his (very long) sleeve: orchestra conductor!
The 7’5” Boston Celtics rookie took the stage as guest conductor for the Boston Pops on Monday, leading the famed musicians in a rousing rendition of the holiday classic “Sleigh Ride.”
Fall, 24, looked the part in a black tuxedo and bowtie, and gave Santa Claus a handshake on stage before he assumed his position on the podium.
He received a warm introduction from Boston Pops conductor Keith Lockhart, who even gifted the athlete a special baton that read, “Congratulations to Tacko!” according to the Boston Globe.
“Someone has come on the scene here, and in a few short months has stolen everybody’s hearts, not just ‘cause of his athletic ability, but also because of the size of his spirit and the broadness of his smile,” Lockhart told the crowd at Symphony Hall. “Ladies and gentlemen, it’s an honor to welcome the tallest person to ever conduct the Boston Pops, No. 99, Tacko Fall!”
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Fall brought his own flair to the gig, delighting the crowd with a little spin and at times making them laugh by wiggling his arms.
“What an awesome experience, thank you @thebostonpops!” he later wrote on Instagram.
Fall told the Globe the occasion was the first time he’d ever worn a tuxedo, and that he was rocking a size-48 double-extra-long.
“I look good,” he said. “At least that’s what they say.”
Of course, Fall isn’t the first Celtic to helm the orchestra — Shaquille O’Neal did the same in 2010, conducting three songs with the Pops, including “Sleigh Ride.”
O’Neal later joked that the gig really took a toll on him: “I have a whole new respect for conductors. I went through a rehearsal today, and my arms are shot right now,” he said at the time, according to ESPN.
Fall told the Globe he brushed up on O’Neal’s performance to help prepare for his own.
The Senegal native has become a rising star in the basketball world after he was signed by the Celtics after excelling in the team’s NBA Summer League.