LARGE AND IN-CHARGE
Olathe resident and former NBA player Manute Bol is big. As Rodney Dangerfield once described Jimmy Carter (played by Dan Akroyd) in a 70′s Saturday Night Live skit, in which the President had become a giant after being exposed to radiation at the leaking 3 Mile Island plant, “He’s so big, he could sit on the Brooklyn Bridge and dangle his feet in the water!” OK, that’s one of my all-time reaches, but it is, afterall, my blog.
Manute is 7 feet 7, and he’s got a heart to match. At a recent Royals game he sat in the Buck O’Neil Legacy Seat (he deserves a medal for being able to squeeze into a normal-sized ballpark chair!). The Royals recognized him for all the work he does to help raise money and awareness about the plight of his native country, Sudan. He’s actively involved in Sudan Sunrise, a non-profit, non-denominational organization that helps facilitate the efforts in South Sudan in education, health, community development and church planting. He plans to return to Sudan in the next few weeks…as he’s heading an effort to build a school in his home village.
Manute can call anybody “Shorty.” I’m 5′ 11″ by the way. Manute played for Washington back when they were the “Bullets.” He also played for Golden State, Philadelphia and Miami. As you might guess, he was an all-world shot-blocker in his day. He twice blocked EIGHT shots in a single quarter! He played in the NBA from 1985 through 1994.
Trey Hillman has a chat with Manute Bol. Too bad the Royals aren’t in need of a first baseman. It would be almost impossible to “sail” a throw over his head! 7 feet 7 inches, but just 220 pounds. That’s lean. At one point he was a teammate of five-foot-three-inch Muggsy Bogues. They were the tallest and shortest NBA players in history, and on the same team! Besides his athleticism and his big heart, he’s also known for having a great sense of humor.