Excerpt from “Manute Bol’s Radical Christianity” by Jon Shields

It is of little surprise, then, that the sort of radical Christianity exemplified by Bol is rarely understood by sports journalists. For all its interest in the intimate details of players’ lives, the media has long been tone deaf to the way devout Christianity profoundly shapes some of them.

Obituary titles for Bol, for example, described him as a humanitarian rather than a Christian. The remarkable charity and personal character of other NBA players, including David Robinson, A. C. Green and Dwight Howard, are almost never explicitly connected to their own intense Christian faith. They are simply good guys.

Indeed, how quickly the media seems to quash any distinctive Christian flavor in the lives of devout athletes. We are more comfortable with generic and weak words such as “humanitarian” than phrases like “devout authentic follower of Christ.”

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