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Inspirational Tuesday: Gentle Giant

June 22, 2010

Three days ago, Manute Bol, arguably the tallest basketball player to have ever played in the NBA, passed away at the age of 47 after a bout with acute kidney disease.

The Sudanese-born Bol, standing 7’7”, towered above all others in his time in the NBA. In ten seasons, he had modest per game statistics of 18.7 minutes, 2.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 3.3 blocks. Bol is the only player in NBA history to block more shots than he has made, and is ranked second in career blocks per game. But perhaps best of all, he was universally known as one of the nicest and popular among fans and teammates.

However, Bol never let basketball stardom under the bright lights pull him away from his roots. Off the court, Bol was a selfless philanthropist and activist. He is well-known for his efforts to improve conditions for those in his homeland of Sudan. In fact, Bol spent nearly his entire fortune from the NBA, and went bankrupt, donating money to organizations that were working in Darfur.

He drew international attention to the plight of the Sudanese refugees. Bol lost over 250 family members from religious violence, but was quick to forgive and hold responsible only those who were behind the policies of oppression.

With the not-for-profit Sudan Sunrise, Bol was working on building reconciliation schools in his homeland. His goal was to build 41 schools throughout Sudan.

“We always hear that you can’t help everyone. Manute tried to do that.”

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