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Manute Bol, ex-Warriors center, dies at 47

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(06-19) 21:34 PDT -- Manute Bol, one of the tallest players and most beloved humanitarians in NBA history, died Saturday morning of kidney trouble and a painful skin condition. He was 47.

The 7-foot-7 center played 10 seasons in the NBA, including three seasons with Golden State. With the Warriors, he was a fan favorite for his shot-blocking skills and penchant for shooting three-pointers. Mr. Bol donated almost all of his $6 million in career earnings to peace efforts in his native Sudan.

Even during his playing days, he went into war zones to preach peace. His family was wiped out by Darfurians, but when the people of that region became victims, Mr. Bol was one of the first Sudanese to speak out in support.

"He was a wonderful man with a terrific sense of humor," Warriors coach Don Nelson said. "He had everybody on our team in stitches all of the time.

"He cared deeply about his people and did everything he could to help them."

Mr. Bol played practical jokes on his teammates and spent hours after practice playing H-O-R-S-E with more talented shooters, like Chris Mullin.

That's how Nelson decided to allow Mr. Bol to launch shots usually reserved for guards. Looking for a way to hide Bol's lack of offensive skills, Nelson told him to stand near the three-point arc and shoot only if the shot clock was down to five seconds or less.

"He actually thought he was a good offensive player, but, of course, he wasn't," Nelson said. "When I told him that he could shoot three-pointers, he bought into it.

"He loved it, his teammates loved it, and the fans loved it. It was really great."

Mr. Bol's stunts continued after his basketball career ended. He boxed William "The Refrigerator" Perry, became the world's tallest jockey and even skated during a minor-league hockey game to raise money for his humanitarian efforts.

"Manute's impact cannot be put into words," 76ers President Ed Stefanski said in a statement. "He was continually giving of himself through his generosity and humanitarian efforts in order to make the world around him a much better place, for which he will always be remembered."

Mr. Bol died at the University of Virginia Hospital in Charlottesville, where he had been hospitalized since mid-May. Tom Prichard, executive director of Sudan Sunrise, said in an e-mail, "the world has lost a hero."

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/06/19/SPBH1E213R.DTL#ixzz0rMjbxn3C


India, gun buyback and steamroll.

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