A Tribute to Dikembe Mutombo

Tonight when the Rockets take on the Trail Blazers in Game 4, I’ll be watching the home bench looking for our single greatest cheerleader on his feet (despite his knee injury) – Dikembe Mutombo Mpolondo Mukamba Jean-Jacques Wamutombo.

Mutombo had already planned to retire at the end of this season, but an injury in Game 2 of this series ended his amazing career earlier than expected. Some of you know how obsessed I am with “Deke”, but there are two main reasons why:

First of all, he had an admirable career. After being drafted by the Denver Nuggets in 1991, Mutombo went on to play for the Hawks, 76’ers, Nets, Knicks, and will be ending his career with the Rockets. Over those 18 years, he was:

  • 4 time NBA Defensive Player of the Year
  • 8 time NBA All-Star
  • NBA All Rookie First Team
  • Three consecutive years of leading the league with the highest blocking average
  • Led the league several times in rebounds
  • Blocked the 2nd most shots in NBA history

Defense was undoubtedly the cornerstone of his basketball mentality, and his famous “finger-wag” after blocking a shot shall be remembered by all NBA fans.

Second, his humanitarian efforts have spoken volumes about his commitment to his fellow man and beloved Congo. The $30 million, 300-bed hospital he opened in Congo a few years ago has been the first beacon of advancement that region has seen in nearly forty years and is providing healthcare for the ~7.5 million citizens (a quarter of which live in poverty).

God bless him for what he has already done and will continue to do for this world! 🙂

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  1. One of the greatest clips in NBA history is the 8th seed Denver Nuggets beat the No. 1 seed Seattle Sonics, and seeing Deke lay on the ground with the ball embraced between his hands, the passion and elation he was showing at that moment gives you an insight to the kind of person he is. The man displays relentless efforts on the court, as well as off. I could go on and on about his humanitarian efforts but I think you summed it up quite nicely Rishi.

    Here is a link to the playoff game which I’m talking about….



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