REST IN PEACE: Manute Bol — 76er, Philanthropist, Coiner Of The Phrase ‘My Bad’ — Dead At 47


[photo by JEFF FUSCO]

NEW YORK TIMES: Manute Bol, a towering Dinka tribesman who left southern Sudan to become one of the best shot blockers in the history of American basketball, then returned to his homeland to try to heal the wounds of a long, bloody civil war, died Saturday at the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville, according to Sally Jones, a spokeswoman for the hospital. He was 47 and lived in Olathe, Kan. The cause was severe kidney trouble and complications of a rare skin disorder known as Stevens-Johnson syndrome, said Tom Prichard, who runs Sudan Sunrise, a foundation that is building a school near Bol’s birthplace in Turalei. Bol had been hospitalized since late May when he fell ill during a layover on a trip home from Sudan, Mr. Prichard said. Though he wore size 16 ½ sneakers and had a pair of the spindliest legs ever to protrude from a pair of nylon shorts, Bol, at 7 feet 6 inches, was an athletic marvel. He arrived in the National Basketball Association in 1985 and promptly set a rookie record by blocking an average of five shots per game — a total of 397 for the season. He is 14th on the N.B.A.’s career list with 2,086. Fans flocked to see him and roundly urged him to shoot whenever he touched the ball. Despite being able to reach above the 10-foot rims flat-footed, Bol was not a scorer. He averaged fewer than 4 points a game in every season he played. It was his defensive prowess, swatting shots away from the basket and discouraging opponents from trying to drive the ball past him, that kept Bol in the league for 10 seasons. The Washington Bullets drafted him three years after he immigrated to the United States in 1982, and he eventually played for three other teams: the Golden State Warriors, the Philadelphia 76ers and the Miami Heat. MORE

ASKVILLE: The phrase didn’t come into widespread use until years later when used frequently in films and other pop culture outlets.  However, the first recorded use of “my bad” seems to be Manute Bol, who apparently “invented” the phrase in the 1980’s.  Bol, a Sudanese whose native language is Dinka would say “my bad” when making a bad pass.  The phrase was adopted by most of his teammates when he played for the Golden State warriors in the late ’80’s.  Eventually other players picked up the phrase, which eventually spread to pick-up urban basketball lingo, and from there into ever more widespread usage. MORE

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *