x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Manute Bol: tallest NBA player was active in aiding his native Sudan

Manute Bol, a spindly, 2.31m shot-blocker from Sudan who spent 10 seasons in the NBA and was dedicated to humanitarian work in Africa, died on Saturday.

KANSAS CITY ? Manute Bol, a spindly, 2.31m shot-blocker from Sudan who spent 10 seasons in the NBA and was dedicated to humanitarian work in Africa, died on Saturday. He was 47. Bol died at the University of Virginia Hospital, where he was being treated for severe kidney trouble and a painful skin condition, Tom Prichard, the executive director of the aid group Sudan Sunrise, said in an e-mail. "Sudan and the world have lost a hero and an example for all of us," Prichard said.

Bol played in the NBA with Washington, Golden State, Philadelphia and Miami, averaging 2.6 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.3 blocks for his career. He led the league in blocks in 1985/86 with Washington (5.0 per game) and in 1988/89 with Golden State (4.3 a game). He is thought to have donated most of his career basketball earnings of US$3.8 million (Dh14m) to charities in Sudan. Bol joined the NBA with Washington in 1985 and played three seasons there. At the time, he was the tallest player in NBA history.

The Wizards lauded him as a "true humanitarian and an ambassador for the sport of basketball". "Despite his accomplishments on the court, his lasting legacy will be the tireless work and causes he promoted in his native Sudan and the cities in which he played," the club said in a statement. After the NBA, Bol worked closely as an advisory board member of Sudan Sunrise, which promotes reconciliation in Sudan and is based in Kansas, where Bol lived.

Bol was hospitalized in mid-May during a stopover in Washington after returning to the US from Sudan. Prichard said that Bol was in Sudan to help build a school in conjunction with Sudan Sunrise. Janis Ricker, operations manager of Sudan Sunrise, said the organisation will continue its work building the school in Bol's home village in southern Sudan. She said Bol's goal was to build 41 schools throughout Sudan.

* AP