Originally, I planned to start my new summer series The Pickup Diaries today. However, I couldn't in good conscience ignore the passing of Manute Bol.

Read about him...especially his activism. Seriously.

If you weren't following the NBA in the late 1980s and early 1990s, it's hard to describe Manute Bol. Manute wasn't a great player -- although, as Neil Paine of Basketball-Reference pointed out, he was one of the most prolific shot blockers in league history -- but he was unlike anything anybody had seen before. It was part cultural phenomenon, part freakshow. And I don't mean that in a negative way. It's just that you couldn't not stare at Bol. I watched him play the Pacers twice in person, and I was transfixed (although Manute didn't log many minutes).

I mean, the dude was nearly eight feet tall. He once blocked four shots on a single possession. He even drilled six three-pointers in a single half (against the Phoenix Suns...of course).

Like I said, he was unlike anything anybody had seen before. And we'll never see anything like him again.


Blogger Sean Stetson said...
i'm to young to remember watching him play, but viewing these youtube clips..he was a fantastic player..and from everything i read he was a selfless person, always upbeat, and charismatic person...im sure he has touched so many lives...he will be missed even though he was introduced to us as a circus act he was anything but...

Blogger Japes said...
RIP Manute you will be missed. I remember watching him and thinking, man he can't do anything else but when he's in the paint, there's no way you can score inside. It was hilarious watching him drain threes while shooting like he's about to throw a soccer ball inbounds.

Blogger 49er16 said...
RIP Manute

It was always an incredible sight watching him nail 3-pointers with such ease.

Anonymous JustinS said...
Manute was playing with the Sixers when Philly came to town for my first Blazer game ever. We had the cheapest seats in the old Memorial Coliseum, the highest row in the building back against a corner. Didn't even have real seats, just benches with painted lines denoting where your ass should end and the next poor ass should begin. Our backrest was the concrete wall of the arena. Oh, and I was near-sighted.

Still, though, even *I* could easily make out Manute Bol as he ran down the court. His freakishly tall, lanky body reminded me of a daddy long-legs spider and he trotted from one end to the other.

Blogger The Professor said...
I was hoping you were going to post something on this. A few years ago I heard about how he'd spent all his NBA money on helping people in his home country, and how he didn't have anything left to pay his medical bills when he was in a brutal car wreck. People toss the word "Hero" around a lot when describing athletes; Bol may actually be worthy of the title.

Blogger Solieyu said...
It's always bittersweet to watch players like Manute Bol (and Yao Ming). It's a mixed blessing being that tall, and despite their great height, they tend to come across as frail. Yao is unlikely to play at his former level ever again if at all.

Their height gives them unique gifts when it comes to basketball, and you can only think that a catastrophic injury is just around the corner. I mean, the guy was 7'7." To put that into perspective the hoop is only 10' high. He could easily reach over the rim flat footed. Yet he was only two hundred and twenty-five pounds. Less than LeBron James and Kevin Durant, and only a handful of pounds over the likes of Deron Williams and Kobe Bryant (Yao is a much 'healthier' 310 lbs, but his foot might as well be amputated).

Blogger Dan said...
I remember when I was a kid, I would play basketball in my driveway with my brother and friends. Sometimes, when we were messing around, someone on defense would grab a tree branch that was like 4 feet long and try to block shots. Whenever we blocked a shot with the branch, we'd yell out "MANUTE!!"

Looking at his career numbers, it's amazing that he had more blocks than defensive rebounds. That's never happened before (at least not anyone with at least 1 block per game, according to basketball reference)!

From what I've read/heard of him, he was a good man, supporting his country. He'll be missed.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
According to Wikipedia, Manute is the father of the idiom "my bad"!


Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Scroll down on his bballref page and look at his salary numbers. Amazing the work he did for Sudan, etc., what having your heart in the right place can accomplish. RIP.

In the meantime, here's Ty Lawson's brilliant championship plan: "I heard if u hit a kardashian u win a championship.. Kim k holla me!!! I need ya for 17 min"

Ty "17 minutes" Lawson, everybody, for your Basketbawful enjoyment.

Anonymous AK Dave said...

17min is well over the average...

Paulo Coelho says 11 minutes is average, so 17 min is 50% better than the average dude.

As for me, I've found 0:30 to be more than enough time. OK, 1:15 if you include foreplay.


WV: jetoll- I'm a jetoll over that @$$!!

Anonymous AK Dave said...
Question: what's more awe-inspiring: Manute Bol 3-pointer or Muggsy Bogues dunk?

(I think those 3's from Bol are just insane.)

Anonymous Karc said...
See, here's my question for Ty Lawson. Would he be willing boink Rob Kardashian if that meant a title?

It would have to be longer than 17 minutes, and there must be video.

Anonymous Sorbo said...
I don't think Ty would be able to last 17 minutes with Rob. He's too much man for anyone to handle for 10 minutes, let alone 17.

Blogger eileen said...
Dan, that tree branch story is hilarious.

I always liked Manute as a player, and for his ability to laugh at himself, like in this SNL classic.

I didn't know much about his humanitarian work until I read a book about a Sudanese refugee last year (What is the What, in case anyone is wondering) and Manute Bol was mentioned a few times for his charitable efforts. I was curious and looked up some articles about Manute and was amazed by what I found. The guy spent ALL of his money and worked tirelessly to help out his troubled homeland- it's really something to be commended. Sad that he died so young.

Blogger starang said...
WOW. I have some great memories of Manute. As a Suns fan, I remember watching him hit 6 3's. I remember Barkley just DARING him to shoot...multiple feet behind the line. It was amazing.

He was a great NBA story, and he will be missed.

Anonymous gebwel said...
looking at basketball-reference list of NBA's best shotblockers (by BLK%), i'm surprised to find hakeem came up so low. among the players ahead of him are regular bawfulites like joel anthony, jerome james, greg ostertag, desagana diop and darko milicic!

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