‘Game of Thrones’ actor who played basketball for local schools remembered by friends, colleagues

Neil Fingleton towered over his teammates at Holy Cross.
Neil Fingleton towered over his teammates at Holy Cross. –DOMINIC CHAVEZ/GLOBE STAFF

On the HBO series “Game of Thrones,” he played a colossal, bearded creature named “Mag the Mighty,” a beastly looking character draped in bones who rode atop a mammoth in the fictional world created by George R.R. Martin.

Off screen, Neil Fingleton, who stood at a remarkable 7-feet, 7-inches tall, was more of a gentle soul, his physical presence overshadowed by his boisterous personality, sharp wit, and compassion for those around him.

“I’m a better guy for having had him and having known him, and having had him as a part of my life,” said J.P. Ricciardi, who coached Fingleton in basketball at Holy Name Central Catholic Junior-Senior High School. “He touched a lot of people.”

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