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Last Updated: Friday July 24 2009 15:20 GMT

Basketball helps boy beat bullies

Basketball has helped Laurence feel better about himself

Laurence was being bullied because he was really tall for his age.

Then he found a way to make himself feel better - basketball. Newsround sent Gavin to shoot some hoops and find out more.

"I used to play a lot of basketball when I was younger - it's one of my favourite sports!

Watching it on TV though, it seems as if all the players are giants. Most of the professionals are at least 1.82m (6") tall!! I'm just about 1.75m (5"9).

So it was really interesting to meet 13-year-old Laurence, who's more than two metres tall!

Basketball player Laurence
Laurence's height is an advantage in basketball!

Laurence told me how he was bullied when he was younger, because of his size. He towered above me, and I'm a fully grown adult!

BIG potential

It was one of his coaches who brought Laurence into the game, spotting his potential and putting his height to good use.

He plays in a position underneath the basket, so he can grab and collect any passes that come his way and drop them through the hoop.

Laurence has quite a height advantage over a lot of his team-mates but most of the other guys have got really good skills. They make a great team!

Can Gav score a free-throw?

Laurence is is in his first season as a basketball player, so he's getting used to the sport, but he's still pretty effective.

Fit and healthy

Since taking up the sport, Laurence has been much happier. He enjoys being part of a team and is keeping himself fit and healthy.

It's really nice to hear stories like this, about sport giving people a new drive and focus in life.

It certainly seems to have done the trick for Laurence! Him and his mates could very well be the next big stars of the future."