NBA star Manute Bol was perhaps most famous for being 7’7″, super tall even for basketball. But he was perhaps an even better humanitarian than athlete, which made his passing hurt even more.
As a player, Bol didn’t put up the best numbers (he averaged well under three points a game over his career), but once he retired after ten seasons, he became a tireless advocate for Sudan Sunrise, an organization that promotes, as ESPN put it, “reconciliation in Sudan.” He worked to build houses and schools in Sudan and to make the country a nicer place for the children there. In addition, he would do things like use his celebrity to counter political corruption in Sudan. Unfortunately, he wasn’t long for the world, developing a terrible skin condition called Stevens-Johnson syndrome, which took patches of skin, particularly around his mouth. That, coupled with kidney failure, cost him his life on June 19, 2010. After his death, Sudan Sunrise vowed to continue his fight to improve Sudan and to work toward his goal of building 41 schools around the nation.