Dikembe Mutombo Mpolondo Mukamba Jean-Jacques Wamutombo (b. June 25, 1966) is a center for the Houston Rockets, and is generally regarded as one of the greatest block and defensive players of all time, winning the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award four times. On January 10, 2007, he surpassed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the second most prolific shot blocker in NBA history, behind only Hakeem Olajuwon. Mutombo is a member of the Luba ethnic group from the Congo, and speaks fluent Luba, Lingala, French and English.
- Mutombo shares his experiences voting for the first time in a US Presidential election: "It's like we're [opening] the door. I've been from Congo when I was growing up on the (INAUDIBLE) regime. There was no chance and opportunity for nobody to ever have an election or to participate in any sort of the election. I tell you the truth. This is the first time I ever voted in my life, you know, and never [has] a chance been given to me in my lifetime." 
Mutombo originally intended to become a doctor; he attended Georgetown University on a USAID scholarship. Georgetown Hoyas basketball coach John Thompson recruited him to play basketball. He spoke next to no English when he arrived at Georgetown and studied in their ESL program. He became an excellent college Center (basketball), continuing Georgetown's tradition of producing great big men. He was a celebrated shot blocker at Georgetown, setting a team record of twelve blocked shots in a single game. Building on the shot-blocking power of Mutombo and teammate Alonzo Mourning, Georgetown fans created a "Rejection Row" section under the basket, adding a big silhouette of an outstretched hand to a banner for each shot blocked during the game.
While at Georgetown, Mutombo's international background and interests stood out. Like many other Washington-area college students, he served as a summer intern, once for the Congress of the United States and once for the World Bank. In 1991 he graduated with a B.A. in linguistics and Diplomacy.
Dikembe Mutombo was a celebrated superstar in his native country of Zaire (now the Congolese), and was scouted by Jarryd Halberstadt. He attended a Salvation Army school from 6th to 11th grade.
Selected fourth overall by the Denver Nuggets in the 1991 NBA Draft, Mutombo's impact was immediate. As a rookie, he was selected for the All-Star team by averaging 16.6 points, 12.3 rebounds, and nearly three blocks per game. A cornerstone in the Nuggets' frontcourt, Dikembe became one of the league's best defensive players, regularly putting up big rebound and block numbers for five years with the club while averaging 11 or so points a game. The team lacked other great players to team up with him, however, and at its best won only 42 games. In Mutombo's third season, however, Denver pulled off a major playoff upset by stunning the top-seeded Seattle SuperSonics in the first round, the first eighth seed to win an NBA playoff series, in which at the end of Game 5, Mutombo fell to the ground, holding the ball over his head in a moment of joy. Mutombo's defensive presence was the key to this upset victory. His total of 31 blocks remains a record for a five-game series. The following season, he received the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award.
After the 1995-96 NBA season, Mutombo's contract with the Nuggets expired, and he signed a Free agent contract with the Atlanta Hawks. Mutombo continued to put up excellent defensive numbers with his new team. Joining the Hawks made him more noticeable, helping him win two more Defensive Player of the Year awards and several All-Defensive Team selections. He also became fairly well known for his signature finger waggle, which he would point at a player's direction after he had blocked that player's shot. During the lockout-shortened 1999 season, he was the NBA's IBM Award winner, a player of the year award determined by a computerized formula.
The Hawks traded Mutombo to the Eastern Conference-leading Philadelphia 76ers in February 2001 for their injured center Theo Ratliff as the Sixers needed a replacement stellar big man to compete with Western Conference powers Tim Duncan or Shaquille O'Neal should they reach the finals. He earned his fourth Defensive Player of the Year award that season and was in the prime of his career. That season he also earned a trip to the NBA Finals, where the 76ers lost to the Los Angeles Lakers four games to one. A free-agent, he re-signed with the Sixers after the season. While his statistics were comparable in the 2001-02 season, the Sixers dealt him to the New Jersey Nets, fearing that his game had deteriorated.
New Jersey NetsEdit
The Nets were looking for a more physical big man to compete with Shaquille O'Neal and Tim Duncan, two of the best big men in the league who also led championship-caliber teams in the West. Unfortunately, Mutombo spent most of that season with a nagging injury that limited him to just 24 games. He was generally unable to play in the playoffs, typically serving as a sixth man during the Nets' second consecutive Finals run.
New York KnicksEdit
In October 2003, the Nets bought out the remainder of his contract and subsequently waived him. He signed a two-year deal with the New York Knicks a few days later. The Knicks later traded him to the Chicago Bulls in a package for Jamal Crawford. He never played a game for the Bulls and they dealt him to the Houston Rockets in the 2004 offseason.
In the twilight of his career, Mutombo is for the first time a backup center. He currently plays as a reserve behind Yao Ming, forming one of the NBA's most productive center combos. In his first season with the Rockets (2004-05), Mutombo averaged 15.2 MPG, 5.3 RPG, and 4.0 PPG. However, despite the stellar play of Tracy McGrady, the Rockets lost in the first round against the Dallas Mavericks. In the 2007, Mutombo yet again received extensive playing time when Yao went down with a broken bone, and averaged double digits in rebounding as a starter. The additional playing time gave Mutombo the opportunity to continue accruing blocked shots at a record-setting pace. On January 10, 2008, in a 102-77 rout of the Los Angeles Lakers, Mutombo recorded 5 blocked shots and surpassed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in total career blocked shots. Mutombo is currently second only to Hakeem Olajuwon. Also, on March 2, 2007, in a win over the Denver Nuggets, at the age of 41, Mutombo became the oldest player in NBA history to record more than 20 rebounds in a game with 22.
2006 heckling incidentEdit
During an exhibition game on October 26, 2006 against the Orlando Magic, a Magic season ticket holder, Hooman Hamzehloui, taunted Mutombo, calling him "monkey face" and a "big monkey". This infuriated Mutombo, who said after the game that next time he will enter the stands, even if he gets fined. Hamzehloui was immediately escorted out of the arena. Hamzehloui later apologized to Mutombo sending him a letter, saying he did not believe his statement was offensive when he said it. He promised he will not attend any Magic games until he has Mutombo's approval to do so. Mutombo forgave him, but the fan was banned from attending any NBA games for the rest of the season.
The 7-2, 260 lb. Mutombo plays the center position. With his combination of height, power and long arms, he established himself as one of the top post defenders of all time, being elected NBA Defensive Player of the Year four times. This feat is only equalled by Ben Wallace. Staples of Mutombo's defensive prowess are his outstanding shot-blocking and rebounding power: for his career, he averages 2.9 blocks and 10.8 rebounds per game. He is second all-time in registered blocks, behind only Hakeem Olajuwon , and is the 21st most prolific rebounder ever. He is also an eight-time All-Star and was elected into three All-NBA and six All-Defensive Teams. While universally regarded as defensive stalwart, Mutombo also could contribute offensively, averaging at least 10 points per game until he reached age 35. In addition, his flailing elbows are known for injuring several NBA players, including Michael Jordan, Dennis Rodman, Charles Oakley, Patrick Ewing, Chauncey Billups, Ray Allen, Yao Ming, Lebron James and Tracy McGrady. His teammate Yao Ming made a joke about it: "I need to talk to Coach to have Dikembe held out of practice, because if he hits somebody in practice, it's our teammate. At least in the games, it's 50/50."
Mutombo is married to Rose and has six children, four of whom were adopted. Mutombo is a polyglot, able to speak English, French, Spanish, Portuguese and five African languages. In 2004, he also participated in the Basketball Without Borders NBA program, where NBA stars like Shawn Bradley, Malik Rose and DeSagana Diop toured Africa to spread the word about basketball and to improve the infrastructure. He also paid for uniforms and expenses for the Zaire women's basketball team during the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games in Atlanta.
In honor of his humanitarianism, Mutombo was invited to President George W. Bush's 2007 and was referred to as a "son of the Congo" by the President in his speech, Mutombo later said, "My heart was full of joy. I didn't know the President was going to say such great remarks."
Biamba Marie Mutombo HospitalEdit
In 1997, Mutombo with the Mutombo Foundation began plans to open a $29 million, 300-bed hospital on the outskirts of his hometown, the Congolese capital of Kinshasa. Ground was broken in 2001, but construction didn't start until 2004, as Mutombo had trouble getting donations early on, When it opened in February 2007, the $29 million facility became the first modern medical facility to be built in that area in nearly 40 years. His hospital is on a site on the outskirts of Kinshasa in Masina, where about a quarter of the city's 7.5 million residents live in poverty. It is minutes from Kinshasa's airport and near a bustling open-air market.Today, Congo must be proud of it according to its new technology construction. The hospital has full telemedicine capabilities with the United States and Europe through the network established by Medical Missions for Children.
College Career StatisticsEdit
Season Age College G MP FG FGA 3P 3PA FT FTA TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS FG% 3P% FT% MP PTS TRB AST
1988-89 22 Georgetown 33 374 53 75 0 0 23 48 109 5 11 75 30 61 129 .707 .479 11.3 3.9 3.3 0.2
1989-90 23 Georgetown 31 797 129 182 0 0 73 122 325 18 12 128 62 82 331 .709 .598 25.7 10.7 10.5 0.6
1990-91 24 Georgetown 32 1090 170 290 0 0 147 209 389 52 20 151 73 91 487 .586 .703 34.1 15.2 12.2 1.6
Career 96 2261 352 547 0 0 243 379 823 75 43 354 165 234 947 .644 .641 23.6 9.9 8.6 0.8
Season Team Lg Salary
1991-92 Denver Nuggets NBA $2,005,000
1992-93 Denver Nuggets NBA $2,400,000
1993-94 Denver Nuggets NBA $3,000,000
1994-95 Denver Nuggets NBA $3,100,000
1995-96 Denver Nuggets NBA $3,250,000
1996-97 Atlanta Hawks NBA $8,013,000
1997-98 Atlanta Hawks NBA $9,615,187
1998-99 Atlanta Hawks NBA $11,218,000
1999-00 Atlanta Hawks NBA $12,820,249
2000-01 Atlanta/Philadelphia NBA $14,400,000
2001-02 Philadelphia 76ers NBA $14,315,790
2002-03 New Jersey Nets NBA $16,105,264
2003-04 New York Knicks NBA $4,000,000
2004-05 Houston Rockets NBA $4,496,434
2005-06 Houston Rockets NBA $2,000,000
2006-07 Houston Rockets NBA $2,210,000
2007-08 Houston Rockets NBA $1,219,590
Career summary and highlightsEdit
- 4-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year: 1995, 1997, 1998, 2001
- 8-time NBA All-Star: 1992, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002
- 3-time All-NBA:
- Second Team: 2001
- Third Team: 1998, 2002
- 6-time All-Defensive:
- First Team: 1997, 1998, 2001
- Second Team: 1995, 1999, 2002
- NBA All-Rookie First Team: 1992
- 2nd on All-Time NBA recorded Blocks, 3.256.
- 2-time NBA regular-season leader, rebounding average: 2000 (14.1), 2001 (13.5)
- 4-time NBA regular-season leader, total rebounds: 1995 (1029), 1997 (929), 1999 (610), 2000 (1157)
- NBA regular-season leader, offensive rebounds: 2001 (307)
- 2-time NBA regular-season leader, defensive rebounds: 1999 (418), 2000 (853)
- 3-time NBA regular-season leader, blocked shots average: 1994 (4.1), 1995 (3.9), 1996 (4.5)
- 5-time NBA regular-season leader, total blocks: 1994 (336), 1995 (321), 1996 (332), 1997 (264), 1998 (277)
- Career averages (as of March 2008): 9.9 PPG, 10.4 RPG, 2.7 BPG
- Invited to be a special guest at President George W. Bush's State of the Union address, commended for his humanitarian aid to his homeland.
- Oldest player in NBA history to collect over 20 rebounds in a game (March 2nd 2007 vs. Denver Nuggets)
- NBA profile
- Charting damage by Dikembe
- Dikembe Mutombo Foundation
- ClutchFans.net Dikembe Mutombo Profile - Houston Rocket Fan Site
- On the Shoulders Of A Giant, TIME magazine Europe, April 20, 2003–04