Manute Bol, Rest In Peace
The story of a retired professional athlete ending up without a penny to their name after earning millions in their career isn’t particularly rare. The typical story consists of money being wasted on cars, jewels and gambling debts, but Manute Bol, who passed away on Saturday at the age of 47, wasn’t your typical jock.
The Sudanese Bol, who played in the NBA for a decade, ended up giving away almost his entire fortune while trying to improve the living conditions of the people he left behind in Sudan. During his playing days, the 7’7” Bol would return to his homeland every offseason, and after his career finished in 1995, he sold himself as a public sideshow as a jockey, ice hockey player and boxer to help raise money for Sudanese children.
As the tallest player in NBA history, he was one-dimensional on the court as a defensive stopper, but he excelled like no other at that dimension. He blocked five shots a game as a rookie with the Washington Bullets (now Wizards), which remains the rookie shot-blocking record. Manute also holds the record for blocks in a half (11) and most blocks in a quarter (8). He’s also the only player in NBA history to have more blocks in his career (2086) than points (1599).
However, one quirk to Manute’s game was his three-point shooting. During the peak of his career with the Golden State Warriors and Philadelphia 76ers, he was hoisting up threes at a ridiculous rate, and in one game against the Phoenix Suns he hit six threes (from 12 attempts) in a half.
We’ll give the last word on Manute to his former teammate and NBA legend, Charles Barkley (as told to the Philadelphia Inquirer):
“It was an honor and a pleasure to play with Manute. He was a wonderful guy. Me, him and Rick Mahorn were like three peas in a pod. He was hilarious. Anytime anything would happen, a plane would be late, luggage would be lost, whatever, he would say, ‘You f–kin’ Americans.’ It cracked me up every time.”
Oh, and Manute was also possibly the first person to use the term “my bad”.
R.I.P. big man, you will be missed.