Watch a Time-Lapse Video of Alex Len Being Sketched

by Ben York

How would you sketch Alex Len?

For Arizona Republic cartoonist Steve Benson – who has drawn some of the most notable celebrities and personalities of our time – the theme was pretty simple: a gymnastic basketball player.

“I used to do gymnastics when I was young,” Len told Benson. “So I joined the gymnastics club. As soon as I came in there the coach told me I wasn’t going to be any good and that I was already the tallest person there and the youngest.”

As the story goes, when Len switched schools he was noticed by the basketball coach there who encouraged him to play, and that’s when Len fell in love with the game.

“I grew up in a really small town in the Ukraine,” Len said. “About 70 percent of the men worked in the coal mines. My grandfather worked there for probably 50 years. My father was a coal miner. My mom told my father to take me to [the mines] as motivation not to work there.”

Len’s decision to focus on basketball has certainly paid off in more ways than one.

See Benson’s time-lapse video below courtesy of

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