Thursday, November 25th, 2010 at 12:00 pm  |  22 responses

The Fighter

Manute Bol did more than block shots.


Unfortunately, we didn’t have room to run all the great Bol quotes we collected in the feature itself. Fortunately, we can do so here.

“One time we were playing Larry Nance’s team. He was one of the better leaping big guys [during the 1980’s]. My job was to make Nance go baseline and once he went baseline, Manute was supposed to be there. Well, he dunked the ball over Manute. I don’t think Manute talked to me for two weeks.”  — Dan Roundfield

“Manute was a little insecure about the way he looked on the basketball court. Obviously, when you are 7’7, and going in for a layup, it looks awkward. I remember Greg Grant, Tim Perry and myself were in the layup line before the game. Manute shot a layup and looked around to see if anyone was watching him. Greg tells me and Tim, ‘Guys, look at Manute when he shoots this layup. Look how funny he looks.’ He shot the layup and we all started busting up laughing. Manute runs by us and he slaps the hell out of Tim Perry and tells him, ‘What the hell are you laughing at?’” — Kenny Payne

“I was like, ‘How come I can’t have that [jersey] number?’ He said, ‘It will cost you $500,000.’ I said, ‘That’s how much I make all year.’ He said, ‘Exactly. That’s how you can get No. 10.’ I just took No. 5 instead. He got traded that next year.” — Tim Hardaway

“We used to take the bus up to New York when we played in Washington. We jumped out of a bus and went to a deli to get a sandwich and there were two guys. When Manute walked in, they said something to each other in Arabic and started laughing. Manute said something back to them and their jaw dropped. I said to Manute, ‘What happened?’ He said, ‘I speak Arabic, English and Sudanese. When I walked in, they said, “Look at that big asshole.” I said to them, ‘Hey, suck my dick.’” –  Jeff Ruland

“It was funny because he was 7’7” and I was 5’7”. He used to call me Little Man. We used to joke around a lot. He never found a short joke he didn’t like. He stayed with ‘Little Man.’ ‘Sit on my lap.’ ‘Let me rock you to sleep,’ or he would hold the ball up above his head.” — Greg Grant

“The thing I remember most about Manute Bol was during my rookie year, I dunked on him. It became a big billboard in Phoenix and it was my signature play as a rookie. It happened in the playoffs. They called an offensive foul on me and it was a terrible call. The last time I saw Manute, he came into my bar and I had a picture of it and had him sign it for me. It was funny. He came into my bar and we were both laughing about it. I was like, I got something for you to sign and I brought it out and he thought it was funny so he signed it. I don’t think anybody expected me to dunk it but I kept going and dunked it over him. The players went crazy and the crowd went crazy but Joe Forte called an offensive foul. You don’t forget that kind of stuff.” — Dan Majerle

“My wife at the time was in real estate and she helped for Manute to get a house. They raised doorways and everything. Manute decorated it. He had posters and pictures of him all over the townhouse. He said he decorated it in ‘Early Manute Bol.’” — Bob Ferry

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  • http://www.danchamb.com.br Lz – Cphfinest3

    Manute was a great man. Also kind of nice that he averaged more BPG than PPG for his career.

  • benno

    The nba needs a few more players with his character. Most of the players are in it for d monies, and when they get their monies, they blow it on flueseys, instead of helping people.

  • fsdfsdfd

    no need to talk about his game. hes dead and there are more important things than basketball.

    same with guys like phil jackson or kobe bryant. everybody talks about them like the are they are gandhi and martin luther king, but they have nothing in common with those men. theyre just basketball players man lets keep it real. what if kobe wouldnt be able to play because of some injury, what would he be ? just an average person, and being a good athlete doesnt make you a better person. everybody sayin he got that “killer” instinct but im not sure wether hes still a killer when it comes to real life or not, you know what im sayin?

  • fsdfsdfd

    best example: michael jordan.

  • The Philosopher

    For real, the NBA needs to establish an award in Manute Bol’s name.

  • jedi420

    @Philosopher – that’s a great idea, perhaps an award for the most charitable international player or something like that..

  • The Philosopher

    Tate George, I have spent considerable time with him, too. An anal kind of guy, if you do not know him.
    For a guy who has once made his living off of a single shot, one would think that he saved the world. or something.
    Manhute Bol REALLY must have been a hell of a guy to befriend Tate George.

  • http://minusthebars.blogspot.com don

    Ecellent piece. I feel blessed to have read about such a tremendous human being.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    RIP Manute Bol.

  • http://slamonline.com Ugh

    ” For real, the NBA needs to establish an award in Manute Bol’s name. ”


  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    This was so well done.

  • tavoris

    great article…and a classic reminder that there is always work to be done.

  • hillbilly

    I remember watching an old episode of “Inside the NBA” back when Manute was playing for the Sixers. The team was all standing around this big banquet table with a domed, silver serving tray in the center. Charles Barkley looks over at Manute & says something like, “Man, check out all this food! Let’s get some of this.” Without hesitation, Manute reaches over and lifts the lid of the srving tray, revealing the screaming head of Rick Mahorn. Manute’s horrified reaction was priceless. Hilarity ensued. RIP to one of the greatest pranksters & humanitarians the game has ever seen.

  • The Philosopher


  • Kent Kanada

    Manute’s a role model no doubt. Wish he was still around so I could learn more from him

  • http://slamonline.com Ugh

    “Manute reaches over and lifts the lid of the srving tray, revealing the screaming head of Rick Mahorn.”
    It’s on YouTube. It’s pretty funny.

  • Silent Storm

    I saw Manute in Annapolis Maryland last year. He was in a restaurant having dinner and when he finished everyone was mobbing him trying to get a picture. I was waiting to be seated and as he exited I held the door for him, he seemed like a well mannered and down to earth person. RIP

  • P.J.

    First celeb/athlete I ever saw in person was Manute at Dulles airport. I was 8, and too shy to approach; so my brother got the ‘graph. Might be cliche, but when they say ‘a better person than a player’, he was a better man than MOST of the greatest players to EVER hold the pill. R.I.P

  • http://twitter.com/coemgen17 Kevin

    I happen to live in the city where Manute last lived (Olathe, Kan.). I was a reporter for The Olathe News during part of the time he lived here. Manute’s life is a great story. However, the best part is not what happened to him, but what he did with it. If more professional athletes did even a fraction of what he did with his life to help others, instead of chasing money, women and fame, the influence on the world would be incredible. Sure, there are a lot of great philanthropic athletes out there — no doubt — but Manute set the standard. There’s more to live for than yourself — that’s what Manute’s example teaches us. Thanks for writing this article, Thomas. It’s a great and necessary one.

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  • Dylan

    I wasn’t really aware of who Manute Bol was, outside of a literal giant and a former NBA star, until I read this issue. And man, what a great story. I had no idea how much this man wanted change in his country and just how committed he was to doing just so. His really is a moving story.
    There need to be more stories like this.
    Stories about people being truly extraordinary. Stories about athletes that say more than simply how many assists a man can get in a game.
    I hope to make a career in Journalism after college, and it’s pieces like this that convince me it’s something worth doing.
    So, thank you Golianopoulos for one of the best sports stories I’ve ever read, and R.I.P. Manute Bol

  • gakbrenti

    muresan muresan muresan muresan