September 19, 2021

Manute Bol could be the oldest NBA player in history, but ‘there’s no way to really know’

The late Manute Bol is a bit of a popular hero in NBA circles. Yes, he had a promising NBA career as a journeyman center, but that only tells part of the story. The 7-foot-7-inch Sudanese center has a wide range of memorable stories and successes to his name, from claims he coined the phrase “my bad” to his decision to lead a middle-class life as a NBA millionaire. However, one of the more intriguing stories has less to do with basketball than with its questionable age.

Manute Bol goes to court

Bol grew up in an era before social media when, as a young child in Sudan, he was able to make an impact on his homeland on a global scale. Fortunately, reports Face 2 Face Africa, Bol grew up at the same time that Nigerian superstar Hakeem Olajuwon forever changed the relationship between the NBA and Africa. Bol was a natural for attention thanks to his massive size, even in professional basketball hoops.

His journey to the NBA, however, was not easy. While Bol was the size of a big man in the NBA, football was his game of choice. However, a massive frame like hers can be detrimental in a sport that requires agility and grace. Basketball was another story. The future NBA star has attended basketball camps across the country. There he caught the attention of American college basketball scouts.

Bol suffered severe culture shock when moving to America. He barely spoke English, had no birth certificate and was still relatively new to basketball himself. After a recruiting scandal derailed his plans to play at Cleveland State, Bol was transferred to Division II University of Bridgeport. There he caught the attention of the NBA.

The Clippers drafted him before a mistake that led him to declare too late made him a draw. Rather than fight him, Bol played semi-professionally in Rhode Island before declaring himself in time for the 1985 NBA Draft.

Bol enters the NBA

Washington Bullets center Manute Bol in 1986 NBA game | Damian Strohmeyer / Allsport / Getty Images

Bol has never been an NBA superstar. However, even for a child from Sudan it was a big deal. Despite his size making ball handling and other skills a chore, Bol knew how to use it when it mattered. He wasn’t a great shooter, although his three-point shot hit him at times. Plus, he wasn’t even an exceptional rebounder. Where he thrived, however, was on the defensive.

According to Basketball-Reference, Bol averaged 3.3 blocks per game versus just 2.6 points. This is a rare feat in an offensive league like the NBA. His humanitarian work has always grabbed the headlines more than his basketball skills, but Bol has proven he has his place. Sadly, Bol passed away from kidney failure in 2010, but his legacy continues through his son, Bol Bol, who also went on to become a professional basketball player.

However, her career continues to be a gift that keeps on giving. His Cleveland State coach dropped an age bomb on the NBA center age. If that’s true, Bol was one of the oldest NBA players to ever compete.

How old was Manute Bol?

According to online sources, Bol was born on October 12, 1968. However, having grown up in a country that did not keep many birth certificates, his birthday was an outright lie, according to the former state coach. from Cleveland, Kevin Mackey.

“I gave him his birthday because they didn’t know how old he was,” Mackey told Zags Blog. “It was in October. I wanted to do it after September 1st. I wanted to make sure he was young enough because he was ageless. I think he was [IN HIS 40S], I really do. But there is no way to really know.

The question still resonates today. If Bol was as old as his former coach thinks he is, the New York Daily News notes that he would potentially be the oldest player to wear a jersey. However, without any proper confirmation, this is still just empty speculation. Few NBA players have as many strange and believable stories as Bol, and the Saga of the Ages helps show why. Whether it was 20, 30, 40 or 50, however, Bol had an impact that still resonates long after his death.

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