Manute Bol, tied for the tallest player in NBA history may have also been the oldest man to have ever played professional basketball.
The 7’ 7” shot-blocking phenomenon was brought to the United States from Sudan by former NBA scout Kevin Mackey in the 1980s. Mackey told the sports site Zagsblog that he made up Bol’s birthday out of thin air when he got him here.
“I gave him his birthday because they didn’t know how old he was,” Mackey said. “Every athletic door is open at 19, every athletic door is closed when you’re 35. He was probably 40, 50 years old when he was playing in the NBA.”
Mackey came up with a birthday — Oct. 16, 1962 — that would make sense for a player looking to play college and then pro ball at that time.
“It was in October, I wanted to make it after September 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.”
Bol’s son, Bol Bol, is a star 7’3” center in high school who is following in his footsteps and recently chose to play college basketball at the University of Oregon.