Dikembe Mutombo Mpolondo Mukamba Jean-Jacques Wamutombo, born June 25, 1966, commonly referred to as Dikembe Mutombo, is a Congolese American retired professional basketball player who last played for the Houston Rockets of the NBA. Outside basketball, he has become known for his humanitarian work.

The 7 ft 2 in (2.18 m), 260-pound (120 kg; 19 st) center who began his career with the Georgetown Hoyas is commonly referred to as one of the greatest shot blockers and defensive players of all time, winning the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award four times; he was also an eight-time All-Star. On January 10, 2007, he surpassed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the league's second most prolific shot blocker in NBA history, behind only Hakeem Olajuwon. In the second game of the first round of the 2009 NBA playoffs, Mutombo suffered a knee injury that kept him out for the remainder of the postseason. Soon after the injury, Mutombo announced he had played his last game in the NBA.

The 7 ft 2 in (2.18 m) 260 lb (120 kg), Mutombo played center, where he was regarded as one of the top post defenders of all time. Nicknamed as "Mt. Mutombo", his combination of height, power and long arms have led to a record tying four NBA Defensive Player of the Year awards, a feat equaled only by Ben Wallace. Staples of Mutombo's defensive prowess were his outstanding shot-blocking and rebounding power: for his career, he averaged 2.8 blocks and 10.3 rebounds per game. He is second all-time in registered blocks, behind only Hakeem Olajuwon, and is the 21st most prolific rebounder ever. He was also an eight-time All-Star and was elected into three All-NBA and six All-Defensive Teams. Along with his defensive prowess Mutombo also could contribute offensively, averaging at least 10 points per game until he reached age 35.

Mutombo also achieved a certain level of on-court notoriety. After a successful block, he was known for taunting his opponents by waving his index finger, like a parent reproaching a disobedient child. Later in his career NBA officials would respond to the gesture with a technical foul for unsportsmanlike conduct. To avoid the technical foul, Mutombo took to waving his finger at the crowd after a block, which is not considered taunting by rules. In addition, his flailing elbows were 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 former 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

February 19, 2015 by Renee White

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