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Manute Bol and 76ers

Updated on June 29, 2010

With a mother who stood 6'10 inches tall, it becomes easy to understand how ex-Nba basketball player, Manute Bol, grew to a final height of 7'7 inches. How sad to learn of his passing away on June 19, 2010.

The cause of death was a combination of acute kidney disease and a rare skin condition, Stevens-Johnson Syndrome a very painful condition that causes its victims to lose patches of skin. He died at the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottsville, Virginia.

He was 47 years old and is survived by ten children. Four of those children live with his wife, Ajok, in Olathe, Kansas.

Bol, from Southern Sudan and of the Dinka tribe, finished his NBA career in '95 after playing professionally for 10 years.

This giant of a man, reported taller than all others except Gheorghe Muresan, a Romanian who at 7'7" was drafted to play for the Bullets

Quoting him,“My mother was 6 feet 10, my father 6 feet 8 and my sister is 6 feet 8,” he said. “And my great-grandfather was even taller — 7 feet 10.”

Bol the 76er

Bol is fondly remembered by 76er fans as the incredibly tall, razor-thin, tooth-pick who we were sure would be massacred by his much heavier opponents.Yet he actually surprised fans by becoming a intimidating defensive presence achieving impressive goals in the number of blocked shots he obtained over his 10 year long career.

Bol first came to the in 1990 and played for three seasons in Philadelphia.

Manute Bol the Humanitarian

Shortly before his death, Bol was again in his home country of Sudan,after spending several months in Sudan to help build a school with his Sudan Sunrise group. He stayed in the Sudan longer than he originally intended because he was asked to stay through the Sudanese elections.

His health deteriorated,three dialysis treatments and Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, a condition believed contracted as a reaction to kidney medication he took in Africa finally took its final toll on his health.

Just How Tall Was He?

According to this NBA Giants article, the list of basketball players who measured at least 7'5 1/2 in their bare feet were as follows:

1. Manute Bol

Born in: Sudan

Years Played: 1985-1995

NBA Position: Center

Height: 7'7" barefoot or 2.31 m

Weight: 230 lbs. or 104.5 kg

Bol's barefoot height was 7'6 3/4" (2.31m) as measured by the NBA, prior to when he entered the league, making him the tallest player in NBA history. He also has the largest wingspan in NBA history, at an amazing 8'6" (2.59m). Bol ended up growing another 1/4" from before he entered the NBA, to early in his NBA career, to a height of 7'7" (2.31m) barefoot.

2. Gheorghe Muresan

Born in: Romania

Years Played: 1993 - 2000

NBA Position: Center

Height: 7'7" barefoot or 2.31 m

Weight: 303 lbs. or 137.73 kg

Listed at 7'6 1/2" (2.30m) barefoot in Europe and the NBA, at the time he was drafted into the NBA. Muresan eventually grew another 1/2" to 7'7" (2.31m) in height barefoot. He has a gigantic 7'10" (2.39m) wingspan, the 2nd largest in NBA history.

3. Shawn Bradley

Born in: Germany

Years Played: 1993 - 2005

NBA Position: Center

Height: 7'6" barefoot or 2.29 m

Weight: 280 lbs. or 127.27 kg

Bradley is 7'6" tall barefoot (2.29m) as measured by the NBA. He was measured at exactly 7'5 3/4" (2.28m) barefoot prior to being drafted into the NBA. He then grew another 1/4" after this and ended up at exactly 7'6" (2.29m) in height barefoot, as measured officially

4. Yao Ming

Born in: China

Years Played: 2002 - present

NBA position: Center

Height: 7'6" barefoot or 2.29 m

Weight: 310 lbs. or 140.9 kg

In October of 2002, Yao was measured at 7'6" barefoot by NBA league officials. *Note that it has been reported in both Asia and Europe that Yao has since grown to 7'6 1/2" or 2.30m barefoot, which would actually make him the 3rd player tallest in NBA history, and just 1/2" in height shorter than Bol and Muresan. However, the last official NBA measurement from October of 2002, has not been updated, making verification impossible. Yao was measured at 7'5 1/2" (2.27m) prior to being drafted into the NBA. His 7'5" (2.26m) draft listing was a typographical error by the NBA, and later corrected to 7'5 1/2".

5. Chuck Nevitt

Born in: US

Years Played: 1982 - 1994

NBA position: Center

Height: 7'5" barefoot or 2.26 m

Weight: 250 lbs. or 113.64 kg

Nevitt was measured by the NBA at 7'5" (2.26m) barefoot.

It should be pointed out that over 90 percent of all NBA players in the modern league era are listed by their heights with shoes on. However, all NBA players have the option of being listed by either their height with shoes, or without shoes. In the cases of all 5 NBA giants above, they were listed by height without shoes.

Teammates Tallest Man vs Shortest Man 7'7 vs 5'3

Manute Bol 7'7    Mugsy Bagoes 5'3 (Real name-Tyrone Curtis
Manute Bol 7'7 Mugsy Bagoes 5'3 (Real name-Tyrone Curtis

'My Bad'

It is Manute Bol who many suggest came up with the expression, 'my bad' that is now used by everyone secure enough to accept responsibility for a mistake.

According to basketball folklore and sources such as the St. Louis Post and USA Today, the following is the story that accompanies Bol's use of the expression:

"St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Jan. 10, 1989: When he [Manute Bol] throws a bad pass, he'll say, "My bad" instead of "My fault," and now all the other players say the same thing.

USA Today, Jan. 27, 1989: After making a bad pass, instead of saying "my fault," Manute Bol says, "my bad." Now all the other Warriors say it too."

I guess time will reveal whether this actually occurred or not. If so, it is most interesting.

Other Interesting Tid-bits

Once killed a lion with his bare hands

Learned to speak English by watching TV, listening to his teammates and his friends.

Bol set some outstanding records. Including blocking 397 shots during his rookie season and holds the all time NBA record for the most blocked shots per minute.

One of Bol’s proudest moments was with the Philadelphia 76ers.

“The time I blocked four shots in less than thirty seconds against Orlando,”

A Life Defined By More Than A Sport

Manute was known for sending home practically all of the money he earned during his professional career supporting various causes related to his war-ravaged nation of birth, Sudan.

Happy to be Alive

Following an accident on June 30, 2004 in Connecticut.(A taxi he was riding in flipped, throwing Bol from the car and leaving him seriously injured. The driver of the taxi was killed. It was later determined the driver had been under the influence) Manute had to spend thousands of dollars for rehabilitation from his car accident. He was just glad to be alive and so willing lived a more modest life after 2004.

Final Arrangements

 Manute Bol's funeral will take place beginning 10:00 AM, Tuesday, June 29, 2010. The Washington National Cathedral has information on its website about the program, and more information will be released as it becomes available.

Here is the link to the live funeral service:

Barley Pulls Prank on Bol

Barkley Talks Seriously About Loss of His Friend


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    • John Alan profile image

      John Alan 7 years ago from Florida

      Rest in peace, Manute Bol. Everything I have heard about him off the court seems like he was a really great person. That picture of him next to Mugsy Bogues is classic... I remember in one game he hit like 6 three pointers.. i thought that may have been one of his highlights of his career lol.. i think he went 6 for 6

    • Jen's Solitude profile image

      Jen's Solitude 7 years ago from Delaware

      Hi BK, You know I have been trying to remember the tallest person I have ever met. I think it is 6'3 or maybe 6'5, I would love to meet someone 7' or taller. Thanks for your comment, it is good to see you.

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      I've always enjoy reading about Manute Bol. He had a sense of community and didn't seem to think only of himself which was so refreshing - it was always sharing sharing sharing.

      His whole family was tall and imagine - a grandfather at 7'10" - I would have loved to walk among these giants - how amazing!

      There have been tributes for Manute Bol both on TV and in print and they have all been glowing and honorable - what a legacy he has left.

      Thanks for such a nice tribute.

    • Jen's Solitude profile image

      Jen's Solitude 7 years ago from Delaware

      Thanks mquee, I appreciate your comment and I'm glad you liked the article. It is so sad he passed away so young.

    • mquee profile image

      mquee 7 years ago from Columbia, SC

      Hi Jen, this is a very well written and well researched article on a man I had a good deal of respect for. A lot of what we hear about athletes these days is negative, but Manute Bol obviously cared about helped others. Thanks for sharing this with us.

    • Jen's Solitude profile image

      Jen's Solitude 7 years ago from Delaware

      Thanks fastfreta, his funeral service is 10:00 this morning. I plan on doing a final wrap-up after it is over.

    • fastfreta profile image

      Alfreta Sailor 7 years ago from Southern California

      What a beautiful tribute hub. I didn't know he was dead. Very informative hub Jen.

    • Jen's Solitude profile image

      Jen's Solitude 7 years ago from Delaware

      Thanks Julestephen, glad you enjoyed it.

    • Juelstephen profile image

      Juelstephen 7 years ago from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

      You have a real knack. I love basketball and to see one of my favorites expressed in such a way...

      Well done.

    • Jen's Solitude profile image

      Jen's Solitude 7 years ago from Delaware

      It was a weird coincidence that my husband and I had just been talking about him, and the next day I heard the news report of his death. Thanks for the read, Darcdin.

    • profile image

      Darcdin 7 years ago

      Wow Basketball has always been my favorite sport but I was never interested in player's bio till now. Great article. It has me wondering what the other players are up to.

    • Jen's Solitude profile image

      Jen's Solitude 7 years ago from Delaware

      It is quite sad, ocbill. He leaves 10 children to mourn his loss as well.

    • ocbill profile image

      ocbill 7 years ago from hopefully somewhere peaceful and nice

      I remember Manute, it is very sad how he passed away but he has lots to proud of for what he did for his family and for Sudan. very admirable.

    • Jen's Solitude profile image

      Jen's Solitude 7 years ago from Delaware

      Glad you enjoyed reading about him DeBorrah thanks for stopping by and leaving your comment.

    • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

      DeBorrah K Ogans 7 years ago

      Jen's Solitude, How nice of you to highlight Manutes Bol's life so favorably... Thank you for sharing, Peace & Blessings!

    • Jen's Solitude profile image

      Jen's Solitude 7 years ago from Delaware

      Wow KT meeting someone that tall would certainly be unforgettable. It is a shame he passed away at only 47. If I remember correctly, his mom died at a young age as well.

    • KT Banks profile image

      KT Banks 7 years ago from Texas

      Thanks for so much information on him, Jen. We ran into him at an airport one time. It was startling to see someone that tall in real life, but he just shyly smiled at us.

      I think even if he wasn't that tall, he still would have gotten a lot of attention just because of that sweet face.

    • Jen's Solitude profile image

      Jen's Solitude 7 years ago from Delaware

      Hi Micky, glad you liked the videos. I remember when Barkley initially pulled that prank. It had been a long time since I saw it and Bol's reaction. :-)

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 7 years ago

      Gee Jen- what a WONDErFUL person! Thank you very, very much for this hub! I loved the videos. This is a great tribute to a super person!

    • Jen's Solitude profile image

      Jen's Solitude 7 years ago from Delaware

      Thanks Val. He had been retired for a few years and yes he did die at a young age, sadly enough.

    • valeriebelew profile image

      valeriebelew 7 years ago from Metro Atlanta, GA, USA

      He wasn't very old. I am not much of a sports follower these days, and was not aware of him; however, I am sure I will remember him now. (:v