7-Foot, 7-Inch NBA Legend Manute Bol Dead at 47
One of the tallest players ever to grace the NBA
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 19, 2010 4:06 PM CDT
In this April 23, 1986 photo, Charles Barkley of the Philadelphia 76ers puts up a layup and gets fouled by Manute Bol of the Washington Bullets during an NBA basketball game in Landover, Md.   (AP Photo/Bill Smith)
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(Newser) – Manute Bol, one of the two tallest players in NBA history and a shot-blocking legend, has died at age 47. Bol, who measured just a hair under 7 feet, 7 inches, was drafted by the Washington Bullets in 1985, but his exotic and unusual story began years before—and thousands of miles away, reports the Washington Post. Born in Sudan, Bol was a cattle herder who once killed a lion with a spear...and didn't lay a finger on a basketball until his late teens.

He was spotted by an American coach and made his way to the States, ultimately playing 10 seasons in the NBA and blocking an astounding 2,086 shots. Bol dedicated his post-basketball life to helping those in Sudan (read more about his hard work here), where he contracted a painful skin disease that caused the internal bleeding and complications that ultimately killed him. "I had a good time with the American people," he said in a 2001 Sports Illustrated interview. "I hope they remember me as a good guy who played hard. I wasn't Michael Jordan, but I was somebody called Manute Bol."