INDIANAPOLIS – At 7’7”, Manute Bol never thought he’d have to look up to anyone in his life, but next to 20 year old, 11 ‘ tall Ohno Imbabwe , from Namibia, Bol looks like an infant.
When NBA scout Bud Parker was on safari in Namibia, he saw what he thought was a group of giraffes frolicking at a watering hole in a jungle clearing, but he had to take out his binoculars to verify what he saw next.
At first he thought it was a giraffe with a human head, but it turned out to be a man who was so tall, he actually played with full grown giraffes, and handed them leaves from their favorite acacia, mimosa, and apricot trees.
Although Namibia has one of the lowest population densities in Africa, it is still home to several unusual tribes.
The Gotinka Tribe members average 7 to 8 1/2 feet in height, generally acknowledged as the tallest people in the world.
At 11’ tall, Ohno is considered tall even for them, and is basically accepted as the tallest man not only in the tribe, but in that part of Africa.
His mother Ontebbe is 7’8”, and his father Gorunda is 8’4”, but Ohno towers over everyone, and because they were so poor, and he had no toys, he grew up playing with giraffes.
Female giraffes may be 14-15 feet tall, and males can be as much as 15-17 feet tall.
They range in weight from 1210-3960 pounds, and Ohno would run with them as they reached speeds of up to 35 miles an hour.
For some reason, they seem to have accepted him.
Parker offers a guess that “maybe because of his extreme height, they may have thought he was a small giraffe himself.”
Like the giraffes, Ohno has learned to sleep standing up, and as big as he is, he’s still fast and agile.
Parker convinced Ohno’s parents to let him bring him to America, which he did three months ago, all expenses paid.
In order to even get him on a basketball court, they first had to make him custom made sneakers to fit his size 32 EEE feet.
At 540 pounds of muscle and sinew, there is basically no fat on his body.
For breakfast, he can eat 2-3 dozen eggs, with two loaves of bread, and doesn’t gain an ounce.
He seems to be taking to the sport rather well so far, and amazingly has to actually bend over to dunk the ball, as the rim of the basket is only 10 feet off the ground.
If Imbabwe jumps, he stands more of a chance of missing the basket than if he stays firmly planted on the ground.
Parker managed to get him a scholarship to Indiana State University, where they’re grooming him to be a power forward.
His dormitory room is equipped with two king-size beds attached together head to toe to accommodate his immense size.
He has also been working with a tutor to teach him English ever since he arrived, and is doing quite well.
Imbabwe has already made quite a name for himself, and intimidates every team he comes up against.
Jesse Crouter, head coach of Indiana State said, “ not only does he block the other players, he blocks out the sun. When Imbabwe comes out on the court, it literally looks like an eclipse.”
One of his teammates added, “When the opposing team sees him coming, they’ usually wind up saying, “Oh no, it’s Ohno.”
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Jeffrey’s a comic and comedy writer who’s written for comedy legends such as Rodney Dangerfield, Joan Rivers, George Wallace, Phil Hartman, Richard Belzer, and Andrew “Dice” Clay, among many others. Jeffrey has performed stand-up at most of the big clubs in NY and L.A. and is known for being a regular on-air personality on Sirius XM’s Bennington Show. He writes a weekly column covering the comedy scene for The Interrobang called “Jumping Around with Jeffrey Gurian”, and has also written for MTV, National Lampoon, and many Friars Roasts. His Comedy Matters TV channel boasts over 450 video interviews with A-listers like Jimmy Fallon, Jim Carrey, Amy Poehler, Amy Schumer and even women NOT named Amy. His crowning achievement was getting his own column in the legendary Weekly World News called “ Gurian’s World of the Bizarre” which led to the creation of GNN (Gurian News Network) bringing you the most unusual stories in The Universe, missed by mainstream media.