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Old 06-19-2010, 11:55 PM
J.B.'s Avatar
J.B. J.B. is offline
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Apache Juntion, AZ
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Default RIP Manute Bol (1962-2010)

RIP big guy


Packed small college gym on a cold winter night in ’85, and a friend’s father had driven us to campus to see Manute Bol for ourselves. No one had ever seen such a sight on the basketball court, arms and legs that went on forever, rising and rising until they reached a narrow face with such uncertain eyes. Plopped across the world, here was Bol, a 7-foot-7 center out of the Sudan, out of your wildest imagination.

Near the end of the night, Bol had obliterated a muscular, undersized Division II center who had spent the night throwing elbows into his kidneys and chest. As Bol watched the final minute, we walked slowly behind the University of Bridgeport’s bench and some kid stopped a few feet from him and said loudly enough for Bol to hear: “Is he real? Can I touch him?”

At 7-foot-7, Manute Bol towered over the NBA for 10 seasons from 1985-94.
(NBAE/ Getty Images)

I’ll never forget Bol glancing back toward him, his sad, soft eyes delivering an answer to a question that no one ever needed to ask. Basketball has never had a truer humanitarian, a most gregarious and generous gentleman. His life was an inspiration, heroic and ultimately tragic. Bol died on Saturday at age 47 in a Virginia hospital, and the wire report says he lost out to kidney disease and a painful skin condition.

“A beautiful man, someone you would never stop laughing with,” Jeff Ruland said by phone Saturday afternoon. Ruland had been a veteran when Bol arrived as a rookie with the Washington Bullets in ’85, and they had stayed in close contact through the years. “He always talked about how he had killed a lion with a spear in the Sudan, but I was always pretty sure he had done it with one of his free throws,” Ruland said.

Bol had planned to