Dikembe Mutombo Mpolondo Mukamba Jean-Jacques Wamutombo
Remember that name.
Well, at least part of that name, maybe the first two parts of the name.
Just make sure you remember it.
Well, in game 2 of the Houston Rockets first round match up with the Portland Trailblazers, Dikembe Mutombo fell to the ground clutching his knee. He was defending Greg Oden, a man who is literally half Mutombo’s age. He was carted off the floor, listening to the well wishes of a fan base that includes people who were in high school when he started his career and possibly have grand-children now that his career is over.
He’s old enough to say he’s old school, not because he went to the old school but because he helped build it brick by brick. Shareef Abdur-Rahim was drafted 5years after Mutombo and retired before him.
The man was a defensive force the likes of which you don’t see often. He trailed only The Dream in all time-blocked shots. He manned the middle of the paint like a linebacker, taking on all comers, including Shaq when he was in shape and on the Lakers during the 2001 NBA finals while on the 76ers. Did he stand much of a chance against the locomotive with an attitude? No. But he tried nonetheless.
He played long enough to elbow Michael Jordan AND Yao Ming. He waved a finger at Charles Barkley and Tracy McGrady. He guarded Larry Johnson and Dwight Howard. He was a 4 time defensive player of the year. One other person has done that, Ben Wallace. However, soon after winning those awards Ben Wallace became a shell of his former self.
Dikembe had his prime last for nigh on 15 years. He scored at least 10 points a game up until the age of 35. He made known scorers and rim rockers think twice before going to the rim. Waving his trademark finger whenever he denied anyone foolish enough to try a shot near him. Sure he got dunked on, but he kept getting up, dusting himself off and going back to work.
Eddie Curry cant guard salt from a snail, and he’s bigger stronger and more athletic. Dikembe, was as long as a totem pole and half as wide. He was a basketball warrior, a man who gave his all for his team and gave his all to the game.
He gave a great deal to his country as well.
A well-known humanitarian, Mutombo started the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation to improve living conditions in his native Democratic Republic of Congo in 1997. His efforts earned him the NBA’s humanitarian award in 2001. For his feats, The Sporting News named him as one of the “Good Guys in Sports” in 1999 and 2000, and in 1999, he was elected as one of 20 winners of the President’s Service Awards, the nation’s highest honor for volunteer service. 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. Mutombo is a spokesman for the international relief agency, CARE (relief) and is the first Youth Emissary for the United Nations Development Program.
In honor of his humanitarianism, Mutombo was invited to President George W. Bush’s 2007 State of the Union Address 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.”
So yeah, try to remember the name…
At the very least remember one of them.