Manute Bol, who passed away in 2010 from acute kidney failure, would have celebrated his 50th birthday on Tuesday. The 7-foot-7 center was a favorite among fans and players during his 10-year career. After retiring, Bol dedicated his time to helping out with humanitarian efforts in his native Sudan. As basketball fans remember Bol, SI looks back at his life on and off the court. After arriving in America, Bol briefly attended Cleveland State before transferring to the University of Bridgeport. During his one season with the Division II Purple Knights, Bol averaged 22.5 points, 13.5 rebounds and 7.5 blocked shots per game.
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Manute Bol and Spud Webb
After a season at Bridgeport, the 7-foot-6 Bol signed with the United States Basketball League's Rhode Island Gulls, where he teamed up with 5-7 Spud Webb.
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Manute Bol and Spud Webb
Bol averaged 12 blocks in his eight games with the Gulls. When the season ended, he was drafted in the second round (31st overall) by the Washington Bullets. Webb, his Gulls teammate, was selected in the fourth round (81st overall) by the Detroit Pistons.
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Moses Malone and Manute Bol
Bol teamed with Moses Malone to make one of the most imposing big-man combos in the NBA. During his rookie season, Bol appeared in 80 games and averaged 5.0 blocks per game. He also set the NBA rookie record with 397 blocks.
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Spud Webb and Manute Bol
Bol, pictured with his old USBL teammate Spud Webb, quickly became a star in D.C. and was recruited for a number of endorsements. He also was credited with increasing attendance at Bullets away games.
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After three seasons with the Bullets, Bol was traded to Golden State for Dave Feitl and a 1989 second-round draft pick.
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Manute Bol and Chuck Nevitt
Though Bol was primarily used in the post to defend the other team's big men, Warriors coach Don Nelson encouraged him to shoot three-pointers. In his first season in Golden State, Bol shot a career-high 91 three pointers, making 20 of them.
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Manute Bol and Charles Barkley
In his second season with Golden State, Bol averaged 2 points, 4 rebounds and 4 blocks per game. After the season, he was traded to the 76ers for a first-round draft pick (used to acquire Chris Gatling).
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Charles Barkley and Manute Bol
In Philadelphia, Bol fast became friends with Charles Barkley. "You know, a lot of people feel sorry for him, because he's so tall and awkward," Barkley said of Bol in a 1990 SI feature. "But I'll tell you this -- if everyone in the world was a Manute Bol, it's a world I'd want to live in. He's smart. He reads The New York Times. He knows what's going on in a lot of subjects. He's not one of these just-basketball guys. Basketball's just one percent of it. You know what he was talking about the other day? Milk. He was saying that he grew up on milk straight from the cow. Squeezed it himself. Milk. He says, 'Charlie, what's this lo-fat milk, this two percent milk, all of this other milk? Cows don't give lo-fat milk, two percent milk. We shouldn't drink it.' I don't know. Maybe he's got something."
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Darryl Dawkins and Manute Bol
After three seasons in Philadelphia, Bol bounced around the league -- playing for Miami before returning to Washington, Philadelphia and Golden State for second stints. He was waived by the Warriors in February 1995 and signed with the Florida Beach Dogs of the Continental Basketball Association for his last season of professional basketball.
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Manute Bol and Keba Phipps
Though his playing career was over, Bol was not out of the spotlight. In this photo, he accompanies U.S. volleyball star Keba Phipps on the on the catwalk at the unveiling of her fashion collection in Milan.
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Bol also made an appearance on Fox's short lived Celebrity Boxing along with Joey Buttafuoco, Olga Korbut, Joanie Laurer, Dustin Diamond, Ron Palillo, Darva Conger and William Perry.
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Manute Bol, Olga Korbut and William Perry
In his one Celebrity Boxing match, Bol took on former Bears star William "The Refrigerator" Perry. Bol used his 102-inch reach to neutralize Perry and won the fight by unanimous decision.
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In the fall of 2002, Bol signed a one-day contract with the Indianapolis Ice of the Central Hockey League to raise money for children in Sudan. Unfortunately, arthritic feet and poor fitting skates prevented Bol from making an appearance. The game, however, drew a season-high crowd of 5,859 fans to Conseco Fieldhouse.
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Bol's desire to raise money for Sudan next took him to Hoosier Park in Anderson, Ind., where he became the tallest jockey ever licensed by the Indiana Horse Racing Commission.
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Manute Bol and Jockeys
At 7-6, it was easy to spot Bol among the other vertically-challenged jockeys.
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Manute Bol and Dick Bavetta
In 2004, Bol was seriously injured in Connecticut when a taxi he was riding in hit a guardrail, swerved across both lanes before hitting a rock ledge and rolling over. The driver was killed while Bol suffered a broken neck. Within a year, however, Bol was back attending NBA games.
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In 2006, Bol helped spearhead the Sudan Freedom Walk, a 300-mile march from New York to Washington. The purpose of the walk was to shed light on the genocide and modern-day slavery in Sudan, and to call for U.S. government action to stop the violence and enslavement of black African Sudanese.
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Manute Bol and George Gregan
Bol poses with Wallaby captain George Gregan during a tour of South Africa to promote basketball in the region.
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Bol, pictured here relaxing in the southern Sudanese capital of Juba, is currently hospitalized in Washington while recovering from a severe kidney condition that reportedly left him unable to eat for 11 days.
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