|Tuesday, November 12
Updated: November 13, 1:50 PM ET
No tall tale: Bol to join CHL's Indianapolis Ice
Manute Bol has traded in his basketball sneakers and boxing trunks and now is in a shocking search for a pair of ice skates.
The 7-foot-7 former NBA shot-blocker agreed to terms Tuesday to play with the Indianapolis Ice of the Central Hockey League.
Bol is expected to be in uniform for an appearance with the Ice on Saturday night, but it is unlikely he will play in the game against the Amarillo Gorillas.
"We're in the business of selling tickets, the business of entertainment,'' Ice general manager Larry Linde said. "We're not going to do anything to jeopardize the integrity of the game or Manute. We're out there to have fun.
"We're not going to throw him out there if he's going to kill himself or someone else.''
Linde hasn't yet spoken to Bol, 40, and admitted that the deal is mainly to generate interest in his team.
Linde was the driving force behind the signing after he read an article a month or so ago about Bol's difficult life after he left the NBA.
By all accounts, Bol has never played the sport or ever laced up a pair of skates. At this point, equipment that would fit the Dinka tribesman has not been located.
"We're always looking for a unique angle,'' Linde said. "We like to expose our fans to people they might like to meet.''
Born in Turalie, a remote village in southern Sudan, Bol now lives in Hartford, Conn., with his family.
Over the years he has spent most of his life's savings trying to bring peace to his war-torn homeland, where many of his relatives were leaders in the Sudanese Peoples Liberation Army, a rebel movement. At one point he became an important backer of the rebels, contributing an estimated $3.5 million.
Linde contacted Bol's representatives to set up a public appearance at an Ice game.
Bol recently took part in Fox TV's Celebrity Boxing show and beat former football player William "The Refrigerator'' Perry in a bout.
Bol agreed to take part, so long as Fox agreed to air a toll-free number for the Ring True Foundation, a West Hartford-based charity he set up to benefit southern Sudanese children. He donated his $35,000 purse from the boxing match to the group.
Linde also wants to help Bol's cause.
"According to what I've been told he's open to different kinds of ideas,'' Linde said. "It seems like everything he's doing these days is trying to bring attention to his foundation.''
Linde said that Bol will sign a standard player contract with the team and then try to skate with the team on Friday and Saturday.
Contracts last for a minimum of one season, but they are rarely guaranteed. Players are paid on a weekly basis at a minimum of $350.
"We're attempting to find skates and equipment to fit him,'' Linde said. "He's coming in Friday. We'll attempt to get him suited up. We'll see what we can do.''
CHL spokesman Steve Cherwonak said the league would not stand in the way if Indianapolis filed a contract.
It was believed Bol, who weighs 225 pounds, would become the tallest player under contract in the history of professional hockey.
"We commend the Ice for a unique and interesting manner of promoting ice hockey and a worthwhile cause,'' Cherwonak said.
Bol was a 1985 second-round draft pick of the Washington Bullets.
He played 11 seasons in the NBA with four teams, blocking more shots per minute than anyone in league history. He retired from in 1995 after averaging 4.2 rebounds per game and 2.6 points during his career.