Story on How Manute Bol May Have Been 50 Years Old When He Played in NBA

We constantly hear stories about international prospects changing their age in order to appear younger to appeal to scouts. This is typically something associated with baseball as we’ve seen most notably with Miguel Tejada and Fausto Carmona Roberto Hernandez. Shabazz Muhammad aside, you typically don’t hear about this too often when it comes to basketball, but that changed today when former Cleveland State basketball coach, Kevin Mackey was talking about Manute Bol.

Mackey was recruiting Bol to play for Cleveland State, but Bol did not have a listed birthday, so to get past immigration Mackey says he gave Bol a birthday young enough that would give him the opportunity to play. Regarding the process with immigration, Mackey had this to say:

The immigration people were in the office [at Cleveland State] and they thought it was great. They loved it. And they were big fans of Cleveland State, they used to come to all our games. 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.

When discussing why he picked 19 as an age for Bol, Mackey said:

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.

It’s insane to think that Bol was a very productive player in the NBA and he may have been playing at the age of 50 against guys that were half his age.

Bol passed away in 2010 at the reported age of 47 (that age is uncertain now) but his name has been in headlines recently as his son, Bol Bol is one the country’s best high school basketball prospects and just committed to play for the University of Oregon starting next season. Bol Bol is looking to follow in his father’s footsteps and play in the NBA someday.