The funeral for former Washington Bullets 7’7″ center Manute Bol was held Tuesday at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. Bol played 10 seasons in the NBA and became a prolific shot blocker, but was best known for his humanitarian work in his native war-torn Sudan.

Bol died at the age of 47 of kidney failure and complications from the skin condition Stevens-Johnson syndrome at University of Virginia Hospital in Charlottesville June 19. Bol had made trips to Sudan in recent years and was given medication that may have resulted in side effects that caused Stevens-Johnson syndrome.

Approximately 150 people attended Bol’s funeral, where former National Security Advisor Robert McFarlane, U.S. Senator Sam Brownback (R-Kansas), friends, and relatives spoke. Former teammates including Chris Mullin attended the funeral, as did former Bullets General Manager Bob Ferry, who drafted Bol in the second round in 1985, and former NBA players Buck Williams and Rory Sparrow.

At 7-7 and barely over 200 pounds, Bol was loved by fans for not only his ability to block shots, but his genuine, fun-loving personality.

A buzz emanated from the crowd at the old Capital Centre when Bol stood up from the bench to get ready to check into a game for the Bullets. When people realized the tallest player in NBA history was about to play, the atmosphere was electric. Chants of “Manooooooote!” would ring out from the dark, cavernous, Capital Centre. Bol, a fan favorite, would swat away shots that no other player could touch.

Manute had something that was hard to define but fans felt like he was their friend. He may have accomplished more off the court than just about any other D.C. area athlete.

Bol was a great humanitarian and will be sorely missed.

To see the rest of my article on, click here.  All photos below by Mike Frandsen.

Pictured in first row: Senator Sam Brownback (R-Kansas)

Second row: Chris Mullin, Manute’s teammate with Golden State; Former Bullets GM Bob Ferry; Sudanese ambassador Dr. Akec K.A. Khoc

Third row: National Cathedral

Fourth row: Buck Williams, former Maryland great and 17-year NBA player