A Huge Big Man

Written by cycleguy on July 11th, 2010

Have you ever just wanted to say something, to just speak out and you bit your tongue over and over?  I have pondered whether to say anything about some events of this past week because of several reasons.  First, limited audience interest.  If you are like me, you tend to think the world of professional sports is full of greedy crybabies.  And because I think that, I have lost interest in most professional sports.  I do still watch an occasional baseball game but the one I am most interested in is cycling. 😀  Talk about a limited audience!!  Second, I am truly sick of hearing about the spoiled rich kids who “do their own thing” and then expect the world to bow down.  Even as I write this I know there are many sides to a story but this is my opinion.

After the past week of hearing (ad infinitum, ad nauseum) about the the Miami Heat winning the sweepstakes for 2 players and the “Lebron-James-ego-extravanganza” on ESPN (which I did not watch nor care to), it is time to talk about someone who got lost in the mix. Many of you will have never heard of Manute Bol.  I am old enough to remember his appearance in the NBA as the tallest player in the NBA at 7’7″.  He was drafted by the Washington Bullets in 1985 and later traded to several teams.  He played 10 seasons in the NBA and earned an estimated $6 million.  $6 million dollars!  I will never earn that in three lifetimes!   I know…I know…what you are thinking but please hear me out!  One story I read said that he died almost penniless-not from wasting it away on drugs, alcohol, and wild living.  He gave it away!!  That’s right!  HE GAVE IT AWAY!  Manute was a Sudanese Christian who once stated, “God guided me to America and gave me a good job, but He also gave me a heart so I would look back.”   He never accomplished much on the basketball court, never had a formal education and knew very little English but when he messed up he would say, My bad.”  The players repeated the phrase to poke fun at him until it caught on in sports and mainstream vernacular.  (Now you know the rest of the story)  Manute spent his money building schools and churches for his native Sudanese people.  He sought to bring peace and to work on peace between the Christians and Muslims in Sudan who had faced 22 years of civil war.  It was his humanitarian efforts that eventually led his kidney disease to worsen and brought  him in contact with the skin disease that took his life.   In all the hoopla surrounding the money-grubbing that has gone on, a quiet giant of a man went to be with his Savior.  No, Manute.  It isn’t “My bad.”  But it is “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Any thoughts you care to share with us?  I would love to hear them.  What are doing to give your life away?


20 Comments so far ↓

  1. Beautiful example of a life well lived. Inspires me to be sure I have a heart to “look back” too. Thanks for giving perspective to the recent fiasco that can only happen in America.

  2. cycleguy says:

    Thanks Scott. I like the way you put it: a life well lived.

  3. Jaycee (E.A) says:

    I loved your last line, “No, Manute. It isn’t “My bad.” But it is “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

    This is such a great tribute to someone who knew that his life was not his own. My prayer is that any element of selfishness in me would be eroded, and I will learn to live like Jesus did.

    Thanks for this. It really blessed me.

  4. Ike says:

    Christ was his most precious treasure!

    I watched Dan Kreider play high school football and he eventually landed in Pittsburg as their starting fullback for many years. Dan loves the Lord and does so many things that people know nothing about.

  5. cycleguy says:

    Thanks for the nice words Jaycee. He was most definitely a unique man.

  6. cycleguy says:

    Ike: No doubt Christ was his greatest treasure.

  7. Jeff says:

    I too enjoyed watching Bol block shots and play as hard as anyone. Doesn’t always happen in the NBA. I agree with your take on the man. I think there are many many more examples like this but unfortunately they don’t make news.
    As for Lebron James he is arguably the best basketball player on the planet. He did get awarded the NBA Charity Assist award for all of his charitable activities. I hope these things are not degraded by the spectacles his sponsors require of him.
    I for one cancelled cable TV a long time ago and thus do not buy into “whats news” ad nauseum.

  8. I did not know that about Manute. Great example! Thanks for sharing it Bill.

    Bummer about Lance!

  9. This is an inspiring life that I had never heard about…Thank you for sharing it.

    We need to always remember where we have come from and spread the love of Christ.

  10. cycleguy says:

    Bill: You’re welcome. Yeah it is a bummer. Will probably always have the hingsighters who will say, “he should have quit while he was ahead.” It was a tough day.

  11. cycleguy says:

    Dusty: you’re welcome. Thanks for the further comment.

  12. Tom Raines says:

    totally agree. great example of doing the right thing and that doing the right thing isn’t done for public adulation. Especially from an evil world.

  13. Michelle says:

    Great story and I don’t like sports, so that’s saying a lot. I saw this story this weekend about this guy that was trying to catch a ball and fell something like 30 feet. The thing that inspired me was that one of the players when he saw it, knelt down right away and prayed. It was on TV and people were watching this guy as he prayed. I thought that was cool. Makes you appreciate, if only a tad bit, that these baseball or other players are where God wants them…and that someone out there may know about them and be touched by their stories. Otherwise I’m with you Bill — I don’t like sports and the hoopla over it. I like this story…great post 🙂

  14. Michelle says:

    I forgot to add this. My mom died with nothing too. She wasn’t famous or anything, but many of my family is angry that she died with only an apartment and about 1000 dollars to her name. why did she have so little? Because she gave. She gave and gave and gave and when she had nothing, she still gave. And although I didn’t agree with my mom on much of what she believed (she was into the prosperity gospel and praying in tongues), I knew her heart was not after riches for herself but for others. She wanted the best for other people at all times. And so I don’t think she died penniless. I think she is in heaven and robed with the richness of Christ. She is more beautiful that any diamond or millions of dollars could be. And somehow that sits well with me and encourages me to give too.

  15. cycleguy says:

    Tom: thanks for the comment and recognizing the ideal is not public adulation.

  16. cycleguy says:

    Michelle: (both combined). I knew about the fan who fell but had not heard about the ballplayer who prayed. Awesome story! But even more powerful is your testimony of your mom’s generosity. That is so cool! I hope you will always remember her legacy that way. the other stuff is peripheral. Thanks for sharing that.

  17. jasonS says:

    I never this about Manute Bol, but I’m thankful that you shared it. He had the courage to live differently even when presented with deceptively selfish alternatives. Powerful story.

    Thank you, Bill.

  18. cycleguy says:

    You’re welcome jason. Glad it was new to you.

  19. Zee says:

    wow, that’s quite a story… now every time i’ll say “my bad” i’ll think of that… thank you for sharing.

  20. cycleguy says:

    Glad it meant something. 🙂