The death of former Washington Bullets (now Wizards) player Manute Bol on June 19th has generated a lot of media attention. He is remembered not so much for his on-court accomplishments as for his commitment to fund the construction of hospitals in his homeland of Sudan. The depth of his generosity is enhanced by the fact that he delayed treatment of a serious kidney ailment in order to oversee the construction of one of those facilities. It has also been reported that he died virtually penniless.
To my knowledge, Bol did little to publicize his good works. But now through the power of the media, his accomplishments are known around the world. His dedication and activism inspired others to spread the good word. In a world of jazzed-up messages and outrageous claims, the life of Manute Bol speaks to us in a different voice—one of authenticity and humility.
I recently read about the latest crop of NBA players chosen to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. They were big stars of course, whose names I should remember. I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve forgotten them. I won’t forget Manute Bol.