Manute Bol's birthday was reportedly made up.
Former NBA basketball player, 7'7 Manute Bol, may have been 50 years old while playing in the NBA. Kevin Mackey, the college basketball coach who brought Bol from the Sudan to the U.S. in the 1980s, told Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog that he made up Bol's birthday upon flying him to the country for a recruiting visit.
As the story goes,
“I gave him his birthday because they didn’t know how old he was,” former Cleveland State coach Kevin Mackey told Zagoria.
“[Bol] had no idea of his age and the kid who came over with him didn’t know how old he was. No one knew how old he was.
“The immigration people were in the office [at Cleveland State] and they thought it was great. They loved it. And they were big fans of Cleveland State, they used to come to all our games. They wanted to cover themselves because Manute was starting to get so much publicity. His picture was in the paper. He was on the 6 o’clock news because he was a such a different looking guy than everyone else. At that time, no one had ever seen anything like it.”
Mackey, who brought Bol to the States in 1985, says he just made up the October 16, 1962 birthday so that he would be eligible to play in college.
“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.”
“Every athletic door is open at 19, every athletic door is closed when you’re 35,” added Mackey. “He was probably 40, 50 years old when he was playing in the NBA.”
Bol never played at Cleveland State and instead played one season at Division II University of Bridgeport. He was drafted 31st overall by the Washington Bullets in 1985, when he was reportedly 23 years old. He played in the NBA for 10 seasons, leading the league in blocks twice and making the 1986 All-Defensive Second Team.
Bol passed away in 2010, and is survived by his 10 children including 7'2 Bol Bol, a five star recruit who recently signed with the University of Oregon.