Mutombo playing for the Rockets.
|Date of birth:||June 25, 1966|
|Place of birth|| Kinshasa, Democratic Republic|
|Listed height:||7 ft 2 in|
|Listed weight:||260 lbs|
|NBA Draft:||1991; 1st round: / 4th pick|
|Selected by the Denver Nuggets|
|2002-2003||New Jersey Nets|
|2003-2004||New York Knicks|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Dikembe Mutombo at NBA.com|
Dikembe Mutombo Mpolondo Mukamba Jean-Jacques Wamutombo (born June 25, 1966 in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo) is a retired Congolese professional basketball player and the Global Ambassador of the NBA . The 7'2" center is generally regarded as one of the greatest shot blockers 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. He is a member of the Luba ethnic group and speaks fluent Luba, Lingala, French and English. His nickname is Deke.
Dikembe Mutombo was born on June 25, 1966, in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. He was born to Mutombo (a school principal) and Biamba Dikembe.
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, 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 Democratic Republic of the Congo), 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 1998-99, he was the NBA's IBM Award winner, a player of the year award determined by a computerized formula.
The Atlanta 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 NBA 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 NetsThe New Jersey Nets were looking for a more physical big man to compete with Shaquille O'Neal and Tim Duncan,
New York Knicks
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 Mutombo along with Othella Harrington, Frank Williams, and Cezary Trybanski to the Chicago Bulls on August 5, 2004, in exchange for Jamal Crawford and Jerome Williams. Mutombo never played a game for the Bulls and they dealt him to the Houston Rockets in the 2004 offseason.
Mutombo most recently played 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 season) 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 2007-08 season, 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 incident
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.
Mutombo is married to his wife Rose and has six children, adopting four. They have one daughter, Carrie Biamba Wamutumbo, and a son Jean Jacques Dikembe Mutumbo Mplombo, Jr. They are the adoptive parents of two boys and two girls.
- Wears size 22 basketball shoes, the largest in the NBA (Current Boston Celtics star Shaquille O'Neal, also wears the same size).
- 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."
- Speaks English, French, Spanish, Portuguese and five African dialects
- Donated $150,000 to help underprivileged children in South Africa
- Focal point of his foundation has been the construction and opening of the Biamba Marie Mutombo Hospital and Research Center, a $29 million, 300-bed hospital in Kinshasa named after his late mother, which held its formal dedication ceremony on July 17, 2007. He has donated $15 million to build the hospital.
NBA career statistics
|GP||Games played||GS||Games started||MPG||Minutes per game|
|FG%||Field-goal percentage||3P%||3-point field-goal percentage||FT%||Free-throw percentage|
|RPG||Rebounds per game||APG||Assists per game||SPG||Steals per game|
|BPG||Blocks per game||PPG||Points per game||Bold||Led League|