I didn't note when Manute Bol died earlier this week. It was sad, but I really didn't have much to add. The day it happened, I was in Hollywood near the CNN building and read on the ticker that an NBA player had died at 47, but I didn't catch the name. I tried to figure who it was, and was surprised when I got home and found out it was Bol. I didn't even know he was ailing. (I've heard it was a kidney disease and a skin condition. It's not clear if it was related to his height.)
At 7' 7" he was the NBA's tallest, dwarfing even other players. He weighed 225 pounds. That's alarmingly skinny. Compare Yao Ming, one inch shorter--he's in shape and weighs 310 pounds.
It's hard to imagine being that tall. Even guys a foot shorter would cause comment. In fact, it's a good thing he was in the NBA. That meant instead of people exclaiming "look at that freak!" they'd say "hey, it's Manute Bol!" Still, everyday things people take for granted--sitting in airplanes or cars, sleeping on beds, buying clothes--were probably a major hassle.
Well, sorry to see him go. He really did seem to be one of the rare sports heroes who was gentle, kind and humble.