Monday, June 21, 2010

Manute Bol, RIP

I note with sadness the passing of Manute Bol, one of the great characters of the NBA. More importantly, he was the sport's most courageous humanitarian. His life serves as something of an indictment to many current players.

I saw him play once as a kid. The Bullets were visiting the Sixers at the Spectrum and I was there way early. Before the pre-game shoot around, Bol came out to shoot on his. I watched as he bombed away from the 3-point line for several minutes. I don't think he made a single one. Sometimes his shots would miss everything. I think he clanged one off the top of the backboard.

Despite being 7'7", Bol wanted to be a 3-point threat. So much so that during the 1988-1989 season he took 91 attempts from behind the arc. Just think about that for a minute.

What's really amazing is that he finished his career shooting .210 from 3-point range. (In his final season he was a gaudy 3 for 5.) .210 doesn't sound like much, but I doubt I could ever get that accurate, while being defended, from the old NBA distance. Like everything else in his life, it was a testament to a man who believed--really and truly, not simply as a sentiment--that anything is possible.

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