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A Very Tall ‘Bol’ Player With A Huge Heart

August 13, 2010

Well, i was  perusing through stuff online as usual you know favourite humour sites, checking out some new sites, net worth of websites on to see how much they are worth  or if  it’s  true what their owners say they are worth and of course the occasional peep at the perpetually open facebook site to see what friends are up to and checking out any incoming chats.

That was before i had gone through ‘milestones’- an obituary like column  on TIME magazine paying tribute to  Manute Bol; one of the sporting giants of the 20th century literally and as a figure of speech.

At 7 feet 7 inches, Manute was a man of  ‘stature’ and although not blessed with a huge frame[ only a tall one] he made up for that with his huge heart.

His height was not an HGH[human growth hormone] gone haywire sort of thing as with gigantism. It just ran in the family- Mum 6’7″,  Dad 6’8″, Sis 6’8″ and Granpa even taller than him at 7’10”.

And i wondered hey,this name is familiar especially the ‘Bol’ part.Duh! of course it was- he is a celebrity.

As i recollected i figured this guy used to play [basket] ball at the NBA way back when i was in  Primary [elementary] school when me and my brother involuntary followed the NBA  just because the telly was on and we loved watching. It after all we were just kids [ and bigger fans of the English premier league then].

His name kept coming over and over especially on  George Michael’s Sports Machine– a sports news programm i only liked for the Nascars, Dragsters and other speedy machines. I comprehended little else about Manute at that time so i promised myself to follow up as soon as i got online.

It didn’t happen that day, i forgot as other online ‘distractions’ took over my time.

But  my hunch was right. This guy had been doing a lot of good work with most of his fame and money [at least USD 3.5M] from his 10year NBA pro. career given to charity, ran his own Ring True Foundation which collaborated with Sunrise founded by another humanitarian the Rev Tom Prichard to help out in any way diplomatic or material during the war in Sudan.

Bol had the goal of constructing 41 schools in Sudan something Sunrise Sudan will have to fulfill following his untimely death from kidney complications and a painful skin condition[Steven-Johnsons syndrome] at the young age of 47, at the University of Virginia Hospital on June 19 2010.

His support for the war ravaged Darfuris and his common visits  to spend time with the refugees demonstrated his commitment to his country of origin and it’s people- probably his sense of humour helped too both in raising funds and raising their spirits of hope for a peaceful and equal Sudan.

The authorities were confused on what to do. Obviously they were unsettled at the same time impressed by his activities. Bol was offered a ministerial post [sports] which he refused since it came with a ‘convert to Islam clause’  . Bol was a Dinka-christian.

The authorities got an excuse then to deny this ‘SPLA sympathiser’ an exit visa to the US unless he came back with more money. Efforts from US  Senator Joe Lieberman and supporters saw him move to Egypt eventually back to the US  qualifying for a religious refugee status.

Bol was not an all round player. Apart from being the best blocker of all time other aspects of his game were pathetic but definitely not other aspects of his life during, and after the Hoopla had died down.

His commitment to his country and the suffering people is not up for contest.

“Manute  Bol  is buried in Sudan”.


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