If you ask the right person, they’ll be happy to breakdown the difference between a good lie and a bad lie. From the looks of it, a little white lie changed the life of the late Manute Bol, who is more the likely the oldest athlete to play in the NBA.
On Tuesday (Nov. 21), Adam Zagoria shared on his site an interview with Former Cleveland State coach Kevin Mackey. The 71-year-old is now a scout with the Indiana Pacers, but looked back on his time with Bol, who passed away at the presumed age of 47 in 2010.
Well, Mackey says Bol might’ve been a lot older since he made up the Sudan native’s birthdate when he arrived in the states in the late 80’s.
“[Bol] had no idea of his age and the kid who came over with him didn’t know how old he was,” Mackey said. “No one knew how old he was. 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 said immigration was very welcoming of Bol, due to his height and the attention it would bring to the the university, “The immigration people were in the office [at Cleveland State] and they thought it was great,” he said. “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.”
Bol’s birthday became Oct. 16, 1962. While Bol never got the chance to play for Cleveland State, he did play for the University of Bridgeport and was picked up by the Washington Bullets in the 1985 Draft. Mackey believes people on the school’s committee were upset that African players were “taking scholarships away from American players.” The school was placed on probation for three years for allegedly providing financial assistance to Bol and other players, which he denies to this day.
“Manute never played one f**king game for Cleveland State,” he said. “We knew we couldn’t get him into school, but what were we supposed to do, send him back? He refused to go. His people were starving back there. The bottom line is, we got zero competitive advantage, none, and they hit us with three years f**king probation.”
He played for a number of teams like the Washington Bullets, Golden State Warriors and Philadelphia 76ers. He was thought to be in 20’s and left the game in his late 30’s.
His son, Bol Bol is looking to also have a career in the NBA. The 18-year-old is currently a power forward at Findlay Prep (NV) High School. On Monday (Nov. 20), the 7’2 star signed a National Letter of Intent with Oregon, giving him the chance to continue his hoop dreams.
See? Some lies aren’t so bad after all.