Manute Bol was born on October 16, 1962. He was an acclaimed and widely celebrated Sudanese-American professional basketball player and an avid political activist. Bol was 90 inches tall, making him, together with Gheorghe Muresan, the tallest player in the history of N.B.A. He was among the best shot-blockers in basketball’s history, being ranked in 2020 as the second player in N.B.A. history in blocked shots per game and 16th in total blocked shots. Bol was an extremely talented player. That is why we celebrate him today.
Manute Bol was born in Turalei, Sudan, to Madute and Okwok Bol, and he grew up in Gogrial. His father was a Dinka tribal elder and well respected in society. The family name Bol comes from a lineage of extremely tall men and women. His mother was 81 inches, while his father was 79, the same height as his sister. The Dinka ethnic group comes from the Nilotic people, who are among the tallest people in the world. His passion for sports began with soccer, which he actively played until 1972 when he decided to quit because of his height. Later, as a teenager, Bol started playing basketball for teams in Wau and Khartoum.
In 1982, Don Feeley, who had been coaching at Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey, visited Sudan to provide training for the Sudanese national team. He encouraged Bol to come back with him to the U.S. to play and helped him get a spot in Cleveland. Bol couldn’t speak nor write English at the time and had to enroll in E.S.L. classes at Case Western Reserve University. He did not, however, qualify for Cleveland State University. He then declared his intent to play in the N.B.A. professionally, and the Los Angeles Clippers drafted him in 1983. Bol became their 97th overall pick, but the N.B.A. ruled him ineligible for the draft because of a late declaration.
Bol was playing for the Bridgeport Purple Knights in college when he was chosen by the Washington Bullets during the N.B.A. draft in 1985. Throughout his N.B.A. career, from 1985 to 1995, he played not only for the Washington Bullets but for three other teams. Manute Bol has always been a legend when it comes to basketball and life.
Bol meets up with coach Don Feeley, who facilitates his move to the U.S. to play basketball.
Bol gets drafted by the Los Angeles Clippers and is selected as the 97th overall pick.
Bol enrolls in the University of Bridgeport and starts playing for the Purple Knights.
He signs with the Rhode Island Gulls, playing in the U.S. Basketball League.
Why We Love Manute Bol
He values family
Bol was the hope for his family back in Sudan. After coming to the U.S., he did all he could to provide for his family back home. He was especially passionate about his sister and wanted to make enough money to get her out of Sudan at the time.
He was athletic
His passion for sports began with soccer, which he was actively playing in 1972, but because of his height, he couldn’t continue. Later, as a teenager, Bol began playing basketball and played for teams in Wau and Khartoum.
He was philanthropic
Bol was always proud of his heritage and even ended up being philanthropic and giving back to his community. He spent most of the money earned throughout his career as an N.B.A. player to fund several causes that focused on his birth nation, especially during the war period.
5 Surprising Facts
He comes from wealth
Being a descendant of the Dinka community, Bol was considered noble, and his great-grandfather, known as Bol Nyuol, was a chief of the Tuie Dinka of Northwest Sudan.
Manute means ‘blessing’
His name was given to him by his father and it means ‘special blessing.’
He is hometown mates with Ring Ayuel
Ring Ayuel and Bol came from the same hometown, Turalei, which is home to some of the tallest people in the world.
He was the tallest N.B.A. player
In the history of N.B.A. players, Bol was the tallest player ever.
He was forced to drink milk
As a teenager, his culture demanded that for four months, Bol and his peers did nothing other than sit and drink milk.
Manute Bol FAQs
What was Manute Bol's highest-scoring game?
Manute Bol had his most points in a game on March 3, 1993, and on December 12, 1985, with 18 points.
How many 3s did Manute Bol make?
He made 43 three-pointers in the course of his career.
How Manute Bol die?
He had kidney failure and died while undergoing treatment.
Manute Bol’s birthday dates