I knew it, you want specifics...tangible traits that NEVER change. So, let's talk about height...the shortest and the tallest celebrities I ever dealt to.
Most people remember her from TV's, "BEWITCHED." I used to tell people that she was the last actress to play Gladys Kravitz but my latest research proved me wrong...her role was Esmeralda from 1969-1972. Her massive boob tube credits also include, "DESIGNING WOMEN," "MAYBERRY RFD," and "THE JULIE ANDREWS HOUR." Some of her movies were; "THE GRADUATE," (1967), "WITH SIX YOU GET EGGROLL," (1968) and "GREASE," (1978).I ESPECIALLY LIKED HER (right), AS STEPHANIE CRAWFORD, (THE BUSYBODY), IN 1962's, "TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD."
Manute, (translates to; special blessing), was born from tall stock, in Sudan. His mom was 6 foot 10 and his dad 6 foot 8. Bol also claimed to have a great grandfather who was 7 foot 10.
In his youth, he was unofficially credited with running down a cheetah and spearing a poaching lion to death while cow herding.
Bol came to the USA to play college basketball. For several months, he attended ESL classes to improve his English. He wound-up at the University of Bridgeport, (Connecticut).
He made it into the NBA with the Washington Bullets as center, specializing in defense and shot blocking. Later in his ten-year career, while playing for the Golden State Warriors, Bol strayed form his forte and attempted 91 3-point field goals (making 20). During a cold streak, he was reputed to have coined the phrase, "my bad."
I dealt roulette to Bol on at least 20 occasions. While other sports stars surrounded themselves with their peeps and bodyguards, Manute usually had his posse of University of Bridgeport alums. This horde of Jewish-looking accountant types made a comical contrast. Also humorous was seeing Bol walking in the distance. He had a bopping gait that made him look like a human shadow.
Due to his size and need for comfort, he liked to play on empty tables. He'd sit in the middle and use his incredible reach to place his bets. He was always chipper, friendly and generous. When he had an audience, he'd clown around and order me to place bets right in front of him. On the serious side, I once flexed my back and he stood up to demonstrate a better stretching method.
After his pro basketball was over, Bol became a political activist. He spent a good deal of the money he earned supporting various causes in his war-ravaged homeland. He frequently visited refugee camps and was treated like royalty. He even turned down a government position.
After going through an estimated 3.5 million dollars of his own money, to help support his causes in the USA, Bol was willing to play the buffoon to generate interest in his charity work. He signed-up as a minor league hockey player and also suited-up as a jockey. The funds generated, assisted in finding a solution to the genocide in Darfur (Western Sudan), as well as awareness for modern-day slavery and other human rights abuses in his nation.
Tragicallly Mr. Bol died earlier this week, he was only 47. I will always remember him as a titan among men, on the basketball court, gambling in the casino or supporting the weak on the grand world stage.
So when people ask me who was the greatest human being I ever dealt to...the answer would have to be Tiny Tim? NOT! ---The Amazing Kreskin? No! ---Manute Bol...YES !