RIP Manute Bol, 1962-2010

manute bol

I was saddened to hear about Manute Bol's death last week. I remember watching him play basketball and blocking shots like no one I'd ever seen. This clip encapsulates the player I remember - sometimes blocking multiple shots in one possession and occasionally lofting a 3 pointer.

I met and photographed Mr. Bol last year in DC and in preparing for the shoot, did some reading about his life and work. It turns out that basketball was really just the first act for him, and he devoted his years after basketball to the plight of Sudanese refugees and worked to find an end to the genocide in Sudan, often at great personal risk and sacrifice. In person, he walked slightly stooped over from the injuries he suffered in a car accident, and was slow to lower himself down in the chair where I photographed him. He was also kind, with a gentle handshake and soft voice.

When we wrapped up, I remember saying something like "Thank you for all of the work you do," and he smiled, touched his hand to my shoulder and walked out.