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.