Bol Bol, a five-star high school recruit, and the son of the late Manute Bol, recently committed to the University of Oregon. The 7-1 Bol is one of the top players in the class of 2018, and picked Oregon over powerhouse schools like Kentucky. 

With the Bol family in the news, former Cleveland State coach Kevin Mackey gave an interview about his first experiences with Manute Bol back in the 1980s. Bol never actually played at Cleveland State, but Mackey was instrumental in bringing him from Sudan to the United States. 

Now, Mackey, who is currently a scout with the Indiana Pacers, claims that not only did he help Bol get to the U.S., but he was the one who made up his date of birth, which has long been skeptically accepted as Oct. 16, 1962. Mackey added that Bol had no idea how old he was, and could have been in his 40s, or possibly even 50 when he was playing in the NBA. Via ZagsBlog: 

“I gave him his birthday because they didn’t know how old he was,” Mackey, now a scout with the Indiana Pacers, told ZAGSBLOG

“Every athletic door is open at 19, every athletic door is closed when you’re 35,” said Mackey, 71. “He was probably 40, 50 years old when he was playing in the NBA.”

“[Bol] had no idea of his age and the kid who came over with him didn’t know how old he was,” Mackey said. “No one knew how old he was.”

“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.”

So at that point, Mackey worked with the local immigration office to come up with a birthday for Bol, Oct. 16, 1962

“It was in October, I wanted to make it after Sept. 1,” Mackey said. “I wanted to make sure he was young enough because he didn’t have an age. I think he was [in his 40s], I really do. But there’s no way of ever really knowing.”

Now, this all makes for a compelling tale, and it is quite interesting to hear Mackey tell of making up Bol’s birth date. However, his claim that Bol could have possibly been as old as 50 when he was playing the NBA sounds like an exaggeration. 

There’s certainly the possibility that Bol was older than the 1962 birth date that Mackey chose for him, but just consider this: Bol’s last season in the NBA was in 1994-95, just nine years after he arrived from Sudan. Thus, for him to have turned 50 even in his last season in the league, he would have already had to have been over 40 years old when Mackey first saw him. 

Even if Bol didn’t know his exact age, there’s a huge difference between someone in their early 20s and someone in their early 40s. 

We’ll likely never know Bol’s exact date of birth, but it seems pretty safe to say he was not 50 when he was playing in the NBA.


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