Manute Bol was a Sudanese basketball player who played on four NBA teams. He was a center with a height of seven feet seven inches. He actually comes from a long line of tall people with his great grandpa being even taller than he was at seven feet ten inches. Bol was very active in charitable causes throughout his career.
In fact, he said he spent much of the money he made during a 10-year NBA career supporting various causes related to the war-ravaged nation of his birth, Sudan. He frequently visited Sudanese refugee camps, where he was treated like royalty. In 2001 Bol was offered a post as minister of sport by the Sudanese government. Bol, who was a Christian, refused because one of the pre-conditions was converting to Islam.
Later Bol was hindered from leaving the country by the Sudanese government, who accused him of supporting the Dinka-led Christian rebels, the Sudan People's Liberation Army. The Sudanese government refused to grant him an exit visa unless he came back with more money. Assistance by supporters in the United States, including Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman, raised money to provide Bol with plane tickets to Cairo, Egypt.
After 6 months of negotiations with U.S. Consulate officials regarding refugee status, Bol and his family were finally able to leave Egypt and return to the United States. In the 1990s, Bol tried to warn the US, which included visiting the Pentagon, meeting with 58 members of Congress, and the State Department, of the rising threat of Islamic fundamentalism generally and of Osama bin Laden, specifically, who had been given safe-haven by the Sudanese government in the early-mid 1990s. He said that his concerns were dismissed.