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April 27th, 2016

29-Year-Old High School Basketball Player Did Not Know He Was 29 Years Old

Honi Ahmadian @HoniAhm
High School

Jonathan Nicola Elia looks slightly older than those kids (Nick Brancaccio – Windsor Sun)

One of the strangest basketball-related stories in a long time was unearthed last week when it was revealed that a high school basketball player was actually 29 years old.

The man, named Jonathan Elia Nicola, is from South Sudan and is currently being accused of posing as a high school student in Canada as well as entering the county illegally. He is under custody. But Nicola claims that he was unaware of his age, saying that his mother never told him the exact year of his birth.

Nicola says that in South Sudan, one does not need to know one’s age and as a result his mother had told him that she could not remember when he was born. However, Nicola has reportedly attempted to get into the United States on multiple occasions, citing his birth year as 1986 in documentation. Officials believe this is the correct year of his birth.

The whole situation is so strange. It seems unlikely that a 29-year-old was unable to distinguish himself from his high school teammates and friends. Perhaps more unlikely is that those around him never questioned or were tipped off on the fact that he was seemingly much older. Yet, he managed to continue attending high school and playing basketball so who really even knows anymore?

For his part, Nicola is adamant that he is not lying, telling the Toronto Sun that “I am not a liar person. I am religious. I pray to God.”

Nicola has been in custody since April 15th. Hopefully, this situation is resolved soon.

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