One look at Marvadene "Bubbles" Anderson will tell you she's not a typical teenager. At 6'10'', she is presumed to be the tallest 16-year-old girl on the planet.
Bubbles, a Jamaica native who got her name because of her good humor and bubbly personality, started to notice she was different when she was 12 or 13 years old. At that time, she says she stood 6'4''. "At that age, I was feeling left out," she says. "Then, I found out that I can do stuff with my height."
At age 14, Bubbles began playing sports in Jamaica. She became a top netball player, which is Jamaica's equivalent of American basketball. Last July, Bubbles decided to move from Jamaica to America to live with family friends and learn to play basketball. When Mary Klinger, coach of New Jersey's prestigious Rutgers Prep School girl's basketball team, saw her play, she offered her a position on the team on the spot.
Now, she's the starting center for the Argonauts. She's been making up to 23 points per game, but because of a knee injury, she has to sit out the rest of this season.
Off the court, Bubbles is adjusting to life as an extraordinarily tall teenager. She doesn't have much trouble fitting in...but she does find it difficult to find clothes that fit.
"How do you make people at ease with your height?" Oprah asks.
"Well, if they ask me a question, I always answer with a smile," Bubbles says.
Bubbles' teammates say that after you get to know their star center, you forget about her height and realize she's just like everyone else.
"I want to be an inspiration to others," Bubbles says. "To all the tall people out there: Don't feel like you're alone. Just be happy and love yourself. Then, you'll get love from other people."
Bubbles says she wants to become a pediatrician and play professional basketball in the WNBA.
Even though Bubbles has only been playing basketball for four months, Coach Coyle-Klinger believes she has incredible potential. "If she continues to work and progress the way she has in such a short time, she'll reach her goals," she says. "She has such a burning desire to be the best."
Doctors also have a prediction for Bubbles—she'll continue to grow! Bubbles has been told she could reach an astounding 7'1''.