NBA’s Tallest Played College Ball With the Purple Knights in Bridgeport
To this day, Manute Bol is still one of the tallest to ever play the game of basketball. The game favors a taller player and he definitely was super tall at 7 foot 7 inches, tied with Gheorghe Muresan as the tallest player in the history of the National Basketball Association.
Being from Kansas, I absolutely love the game of basketball, and living just an hour and a half straight south of the "St. Anthony's" of College Basketball, that love was easy to develop and blossom. My fandom remains consistent with the Jayhawks when it comes to college, the pros are another story. I pick and choose when it comes to the NBA and who I root for. Hell, I might even change who I want to win a playoff series in the middle of it.
The Kings left Kansas City for Sacramento way back in 1985. No one in KC was paying attention, the Royals were pretty good back then and no one cared, it was a baseball town. So, with no real "hometown" team to root for, my allegiances went from Magic's Lakers to Ewing's Knicks to Dennis Rodman and the San Antonio Spurs, so, all over the map may be the best way to describe how I follow the NBA.
I saw a picture of him with another well-known teammate of his when he was a Rhode Island Gull in something called the United States Basketball League, a league that existed from 1985 to 2008. With a reach of over 10 feet and at a height of 7 foot, 7 inches, Manute Bol, towered over 5 foot, 2 inch Spud Webb. Manute instantly became my favorite player.
Manute Bol was born in Sudan (now South Sudan) and apparently had no record of his birthdate. A guy named Don Feely, a former basketball coach, traveled to Sudan to hold clinics for the Sudanese national team in 1982. Feely convinced Bol to come to the United States to play basketball professionally. Cleveland State University was to be Bol's school of choice but it got kind of complicated because no one actually knew how old the guy was and the language barrier was a definite issue.
After an attempt to declare himself eligible for the NBA draft, being drafted, then finding out he was ineligible, he ended up playing one season of college basketball right here in our own backyard of Bridgeport, Connecticut.
It was the 1984-85 season and Bol led the Purple Knights to the NCAA Division II New England Regional Tournament. Even though he was only there for one season, Manute Bol is probably the most famous athlete in the University of Bridgeport's history. It was cool to find out he played college ball in Bridgeport, it gave me a chance to reminisce and look at pictures of him in action back in the day. Manute Bol passed away on June 19th, 2010 at the age of 47 (we think) after severe kidney trouble and a painful skin condition known as Stevens-Johnson Syndrome.
No doubt continuing his legacy and following in their father’s footsteps are two of his sons, Bol Manute Bol who is playing as a power forward/center for the NBA’s Orlando Magic, and Madut Bol who is a power forward who most recently played for the Southern Jaguars in the NCAA March Madness Tournament.