Manute Bol

I don’t have a lot to say about this. I don’t really follow the world of sports — basketball or otherwise — so I’d never heard of Manute Bol until that Slacktivist piece and another article, posted just a little while before he died. (Sadly, I lost the link for that one; it included more in the way of quotes from Bol, giving his feelings on basketball and the Sudan and the intersection of the two).

But I wanted to post this because I don’t get the impression many people knew more than a passing bit about him, whether they follow the world of sports or not. And that’s a great tragedy, in my eyes. Here’s a guy who didn’t spend his newfound wealth on big houses, fast cars, drugs to inject or snort or smoke: he kept enough to live on, and poured the rest into bettering the lives of people back home.

I don’t demand that all sports celebrities (or all celebrities of any stripe) wear hair shirts and take vows of poverty for the greater good. But when a guy comes along who sees his fame and wealth as a gift to be shared with others, then I want to do my tiny part to spread his story, as a counter-effect to all the tales of Athletes Behaving Badly.

I hope that, with Manute Bol gone, the good he fought for isn’t forgotten.

0 Responses to “Manute Bol”

  1. shveta_thakrar

    Thank you for this.

  2. rachelmanija

    Thanks for linking. I hadn’t heard that Manute Bol had died, though I did know who he was, thanks to my Dad, who is a huge basketball fan. How can you forget the Dinka warrior who killed a lion with a spear?

    That’s a beautifully written article about a really good guy.

    • Marie Brennan

      The saddest part is, the other article I read — before the Slacktivist one — ended on a hopeful note that he would recover.

  3. d_c_m

    Thank you for your post. Yes, it is good to see people help out their community. Rest in Peace Manute Bol.

  4. la_marquise_de_

    He sounbds lovely. I hope his example inspires others.

  5. toddalcott

    The first time I saw Manute Bol was on Letterman. When he sat down, his knees came up to his elbows.

    What a lot of people don’t know about Bol was that, aside from his basketball skills and his tireless work on the behalf of his nation, he also coined the phrase “My bad.”

    Apparently, while in practice, when he would make a mistake, instead of saying “My fault,” he’d say “My bad,” simply because of his relative loose grasp of English. His teammates thought it was charming and they started saying it too, and then the fans picked it up from there.

    So there’s three things right there worth remembering.

    • Marie Brennan

      I had no idea about the “my bad” thing. That’s charming, knowing he left such an odd little mark on American culture.

      I just wish the mark he wanted to leave had been larger and more lasting.

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