"Who's this?" Feeley asked.
"This is Manute, our friend," the players said. "He plays for our team."
"Forget everything I've told you," Feeley said. "We've just changed the offense."
One thing had led invariably to another. Feeley soon had Manute in Cleveland, hoping to enroll him at Cleveland State. Feeley felt he had found a very large, uncut diamond. Manute could not speak much English but was taking classes in the language at Case Western Reserve. He was ready to play basketball for someone somewhere. College, pro—whatever. Feeley was offering him to the Clippers.
"So, I said, 'Have you told anyone else about this?' " Lynam says. "Feeley said the only one in the NBA he had called was Frank Layden at Utah. He said Frank said he couldn't take another big guy like this. He already had Mark Eaton. I was the second guy Feeley had called. I told him he didn't have to call anyone else."
On draft day 1983, Lynam was in California. At the other end of the phone, Howard Garfinkel was submitting the Clippers' choices at draft headquarters in New York. Garfinkel is known as a supreme basketball talent evaluator. He runs the noted Five-Star camps in Pennsylvania as well as Virginia. He knows the names of good basketball players in the U.S. when they are 13 years old. He knows everything. Lynam read off the pick.
"Manute. That's M-a-n-u-t-e."
"What's his first name?" Garfinkel asked.
"That is his first name. His second name is Bol. That's spelled B-o-l."
"Where's he from?"