Pro-basketball player Manute Bol

Manute Bol, the 7 ft., 7 in. Dinka tribesman who blocked shots for a living in the NBA, is now trying to stop a civil war in his native Sudan.

Bol's cousin spotted Manute's potential when he saw his picture in a newspaper. He told Bol he should use his height to play basketball. In 1984, Bol came to the United States and played one season for the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut.

His coach, Bruce Webster, says Bol had "the longest arms in the world. He could catch and turn and dunk."

After Bridgeport, Bol joined the minor-league Rhode Island Gulls. While there, Bol twice blocked an unheard-of 18 shots in a game. In another, he had 28 rebounds.

The Washington Bullets drafted Bol. His first season (1985-86), he led the NBA in blocked shots (11.2 per game).

Bol bounced around the NBA. When the Milwaukee Bucks cut him in 1995, he went back to the minor leagues. In 1997, Bol turned his attention to Sudan, where he was briefly minister of sports and culture. The next year found him playing ball in Qatar.

In a 1999 interview on NBC's "Dateline," Bol said he had given $3.5 million to rebels trying to overthrow Sudan's dictator. Now he supports peace. "I'm not supporting the Sudan government," he said. "I'm supporting the peace agreement. I want peace in my country."

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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