River Cities

Looking up! 7-foot-1 Virginia Gardens teen named world’s tallest

Kevin Bradford, 16, of Virginia Gardens, jokes with teammate Jesus Alfonso during basketball practice at Miami Springs high school. The 2016 Guinness World Records has named Bradford, who is 7-foot-1, as the tallest teenage boy.
Kevin Bradford, 16, of Virginia Gardens, jokes with teammate Jesus Alfonso during basketball practice at Miami Springs high school. The 2016 Guinness World Records has named Bradford, who is 7-foot-1, as the tallest teenage boy. For the Miami Herald

At seven-foot-one, 16-year-old Kevin Bradford says he looks up to no one.

“I’ve seen him grow up over the years and he’s always been the tallest kid at his age since he was 3 years old,” said Spencer Deno IV, mayor of tiny Virginia Gardens, just north of Miami International Airport.

By eighth grade, Kevin reached six-eight, towering over classmates and teachers.

“He is eating me out of house and home,” said his mother, Martha Bradford, who is six feet tall. “He is still hungry after eating a 24-ounce steak.”

Kevin, a descendant of Miami Springs pioneer Andrew Heermance, has become a celebrity around Miami and frequently draws crowds.

“I was shopping at Dolphin Mall and some tourists stopped to take a photo with me,” he said. “Then about 14 more people waited in line to take pictures, too.”

Being so tall has its drawbacks, Kevin said. He notes that when riding in his mother’s Toyota Corolla, he has to push the seat all the way back to fit inside.

Once he boarded a jet but could not fit into a coach seat. So the airline gave the 245-pounder a complimentary upgrade to first class.

More than anything, Kevin laments, he avoids visiting theme parks.

“It is not safe for me to ride on the roller coasters,” he said.

Aside from ducking doorways, bending down to take showers and shopping for size 17 shoes, Kevin is a typical teenager who likes to play video games, hang out with friends and play basketball.

“Kevin protects the paint [the area near the net] and helps with rebounds,” said Miami Springs High varsity basketball teammate Jesus Alfonso, 18.

Kevin considered bowling but chose basketball since it was so easy for him to reach up and touch the rim.

The 2016 Guinness World Records lists Bradford as the “tallest teenage boy.” Last year’s tallest, seven-foot-five Broc Brown of Michigan aged out when he hit 18, according to Guinness.

Kevin’s growth plates are not yet closed, his Guinness profile says.

So he may still be growing.

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