In order to wrap their heads around this ungainly seven-foot-seven, barely 200-pound freak of nature from one of the most remote corners of the earth, many Americans relied on reductive simplifications: Bol was the NBA’s first African-born player, its tallest player ever, a human stick figure. When that didn’t suffice, they gravitated toward myth. To this day, perhaps the best-known anecdote about Bol is that, as a boy, he killed a lion. That story contributed to an only slightly less simplistic picture of Bol, one Conn describes as, ”benevolent, fearless, almost superhuman.” And yet, to this day, it remains unclear whether the story about the lion is even true.
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