According to former Cleveland State Coach and current Indiana Pacers Scout Ken Mackey, who recruited former NBA player and folk legend 7’7″ Manute Bol, Bol’s age was never really known and he could have easily been playing in the NBA in his 40s and 50s.
Bol of course was a 7’7″ NBA center that played 10 NBA seasons from 1985 to 1995 for the Washington Bullets, Golden State Warriors, Philadelphia 76ers and Miami Heat. Fans were mesmerized by his 7’7″ 200 lb. frame and Bol led the NBA in blocked shots twice in his career.
He passed away in 2010, but because of his son Bol Bol’s recent recruitment as a top prospect in the 2018 class and commitment to the University of Oregon in the past few days, more stories have come up about the life and career of Manute Bol.
Here is an excerpt from an interview with Mackey for Zags Blog that discusses the mystery around Bol’s actual age:
“I gave him his birthday because they didn’t know how old he was,” Mackey, now a scout with the Indiana Pacers, told ZAGSBLOG.
But Mackey says Bol was probably much older and could have been in his 40s or even 50s when he played in the NBA. According to Wikipedia, Manute played in the NBA from his early 20s until his early 30s for various teams, including the Washington Bullets, Golden State Warriors and Philadelphia 76ers.
“The immigration people were in the office [at Cleveland State] and they thought it was great. They loved it. And they were big fans of Cleveland State, they used to come to all our games. They wanted to cover themselves because Manute was starting to get so much publicity. His picture was in the paper. He was on the 6 o’clock news because he was a such a different looking guy than everyone else. At that time, no one had ever seen anything like it.”
So at that point, Mackey worked with the local immigration office to come up with a birthday for Bol, Oct. 16, 1962
“It was in October, I wanted to make it after Sept. 1,” Mackey said. “I wanted to make sure he was young enough because he didn’t have an age. I think he was [in his 40s], I really do. But there’s no way of ever really knowing.”
So we have a confirmation or so we think that Bol’s listed age was completely fabricated when he immigrated from Sudan, but we still really have no idea just how accurate or close Mackey might have been when essentially guessing or creating his age.
This whole situation is pretty fascinating just as everything was in the life of Manute Bol and it would be pretty incredible if he legitimately played in the NBA in his 40s and 50s.
It won’t be long until we have another Bol in the NBA, as Bol Bol is a blue-chip recruit and an absolute monster of a player at 7’3″ that could be in the NBA Draft as soon as 2019.