Monday, June 21, 2010

Manute Bol: R.I.P.

Originally, I planned to start my new summer series The Pickup Diaries today. However, I couldn't in good conscience ignore the passing of Manute Bol.

Read about him...especially his activism. Seriously.

If you weren't following the NBA in the late 1980s and early 1990s, it's hard to describe Manute Bol. Manute wasn't a great player -- although, as Neil Paine of Basketball-Reference pointed out, he was one of the most prolific shot blockers in league history -- but he was unlike anything anybody had seen before. It was part cultural phenomenon, part freakshow. And I don't mean that in a negative way. It's just that you couldn't not stare at Bol. I watched him play the Pacers twice in person, and I was transfixed (although Manute didn't log many minutes).

I mean, the dude was nearly eight feet tall. He once blocked four shots on a single possession. He even drilled six three-pointers in a single half (against the Phoenix Suns...of course).

Like I said, he was unlike anything anybody had seen before. And we'll never see anything like him again.

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