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Thursday, November 14, 2002
Bol can do whatever the puck he wants

By Jason Whitlock
Page 2 columnist

Maybe when Ralph Wiley unclenches his teeth from HBO's butt, he can get a word with NBA groupie Spike Lee about Manute Bol's most recent reincarnation as The Greatest Ho On Ice.

Refrigerator Perry and Manute Bol
Manute Bol handled the Fridge, so why not the Ice?
Something tells me that not everyone is going to be happy that this proud Sudanese 3-point bomber has been relegated to shaking his moneymaker on size 24 ice skates for the comic relief of Indianapolis Ice hockey fans.

Watching Manute pay his bills and support his charity organization for Sudanese children by outpointing William "The Refrigerator" Perry in celebrity boxing blurred the line between embarrassing exploitation and embarrassing entertainment. Watching the African skyscraper, who gave away his NBA fortune supporting his war-torn homeland, prance around on ice in an arena filled with laughing white faces won't blur any such line.

This will be Eddie Murphy's "Coming to America" meets Spike Lee's "Bamboozled."

Manute will be like the trailer-park queen who visits the set of the "Jerry Springer Show" looking for her 15 minutes and hoping Jerry's audience can legitimately help her settle on a lover between her daughter's 15-year-old ex-boyfriend and her daughter's 32-year-old baby's daddy. Decisions, decisions.

Manute, I say take the money and tell your critics to buy a ladder and kiss your ass. And Larry Linde, the general manager of the Indianapolis Ice, should adopt the same philosophy.

  Manute, I say take the money and tell your critics to buy a ladder and kiss your ass. And Larry Linde, the general manager of the Indianapolis Ice, should adopt the same philosophy. 
  
Having just completed participation in a marathon, I have experience in supporting a good cause by making a fool out of yourself. It's hard work, it's tough on your ego, and there's always some self-righteous know-it-all ready to ridicule your efforts. But I'm not bitter&

Yeah, 10 months ago, organizers of Kansas City's marathon asked me to participate in and promote the city's November marathon. Like Linde, the organizers thought the participation of a tall, dark and handsome elite athlete would draw needed attention to a marathon that had taken a one-year hiatus because of a lack of interest. When Chiefs tight end Tony Gonzalez turned them down, the organizers immediately thought of me, a short, fat and strikingly handsome former mediocre college football player with a newspaper column and radio talk show.

A circus act was born.

Being young and naïve and looking at all those months to prepare, I not only agreed to walk/run the marathon, I backed up my pledge with a cash donation to the Community Blood Center (the charitable benefactor of the marathon) for each mile I failed to complete of the hilly, 26.2-mile course.

And so, for 10 months, all anyone wanted to talk to me about was my marathon training, which went remarkably well after I hired identical twin fitness trainers, Kristie and Michelle, who both graduated Magna Cum Dolly (Parton) from Kansas State University. You wanna kick-start the old heart rate? Try doing the Olympic clean-and-jerk with Kristie and Michelle shouting "harder, harder!" You know, I think my man Wiley needs to start working out with a couple of trainers. It's a helluva stress reliever, and the right trainers might give Wiley a more sympathetic view of O.J.'s socializing.

Manute Bol, Patrick Ewing
Manute Bol showed he could at least take a hit from Patrick Ewing back in 1993.
Where was I? Oh, yes, my training went well. My eating didn't. The more I worked out, the more I ate. By the time the marathon rolled around on Nov. 2, I had significantly decreased my body fat but had only lost 11 pounds from a frame that could lose 70 and still line up at offensive guard.

I only made it five miles on marathon day. I've been second-guessed and ridiculed for stopping for a deep-fried pork chop breakfast two miles into the course. Does a marathon engine not need fuel? My critics complained about my good friend, millionaire barbecue baron Ollie Gates, sending his lovely daughter over in the company limousine to greet me at the five-mile marker with a presidential platter and a loaf of bread. Does a marathon engine not need fuel? I've been labeled chauvinistic for being escorted around the course by an all-female support staff and recruiting Ms. Kansas to participate in the marathon with me. I can't worry about the haters.

I've been accused by people who take life much too seriously of turning the Kansas City marathon into a joke. Manute Bol and Larry Linde may very well be charged with doing the same thing to the CHL.

So what? Life is short. We need more laughs.

Jason Whitlock is a regular columnist for the Kansas City Star (kcstar.com), the host of a morning-drive talk show, "Jason Whitlock's Neighborhood" on Sports Radio 810 WHB (810whb.com) and a regular contributor on ESPN The Magazine's Sunday morning edition of The Sports Reporters. He can be reached at ballstate0@aol.com.