Former NBA player Manute Bol has died, he was 47 years old. In mid-May Bol was hospitalized at the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville, Virginia with a skin disease called Stevens-Johnson Syndrome that caused him to lose patches of skin. Bol also suffered from kidney failure and underwent dialysis treatments during his hospital stay.
“Sudan and the world have lost a hero and an example for all of us,” said executive director of Sudan Sunrise, Tom Prichard. “Manute, we’ll miss you. Our prayers and best wishes go out to all his family, and all who mourn his loss.”
Bol played 10 seasons in the NBA for the Washington Bullets, Golden State Warriors, Philadelphia 76ers and Miami Heat. Drafted by the Washington Bullets in 1985 Bol stood 7 feet and 7 inches making him one of the tallest players in NBA history. Bol was primarily a shot blocker and is the only player in NBA history to average more blocks than points. Bol had career averages of 2.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, 0.3 assists and 3.3 blocks per game.
Manute Bol’s best work was not done on the basketball court but in his charitable work for his native Sudan. For over 20 years the Christian Sudanese have been the victims of slavery, displacement, and genocide by the northern Islamic government of Sudan. Bol lost over 250 family members during the Sudanese conflict.
A man of high moral character, Bol used all of his resources and time to assist the oppressed people of southern Sudan. Manute Bol made over $5 million dollars in his career and used most of it to help rebuild his war-torn country.
85% of the people in the south of Sudan are illiterate. Children who are receiving an education are being taught under trees. Manute Bol believed that education was the only way to get Sudan out of its depressed state. Bol’s goal was to build 41 schools in the region. One school has been built, and there are 40 more to go.
“We are in the process of still helping Manute build a school, and we will continue with that,” said Janis Ricker, operations manager of Sudan Sunrise.
To help in building a school in Manute Bol’s village of Turalie go to: http://www.sudansunrise.org
The world is in much worse shape without Manute Bol in it. Manute Bol was from the Dinka tribe of southern Sudan. His first name “Manute” means “special blessing.” Bol was indeed a special blessing for the people of Sudan and the rest of the world. Rest in peace Manute, and thank you for all of your hard work.