Dikembe Mutombo Injures Knee; Career Likely Over
He came down to the floor with a thud after tangling with Portland’s Greg Oden in game 2 of the Houston Rockets’ opening-round playoff series, and just like that, the career of one of the NBA’s truly great big men came to an end.
“For me, basketball is over,” Dikembe Mutombo told media members Tuesday. After leaving the Blazers win with a knee injury, CBS Sports is reporting Mutombo’s announcement that he is done playing in the NBA. The 42-year-old Mutombo will retire as one of the great all-time centers and defensive players in the league.
Over the course of his 18-year career, the 7’2″ Mutombo averaged 9.8 points, 10.3 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per game for Denver, Atlanta, Philadelphia, New Jersey, New York and Houston. He led the league in rebounding four times, and blocks for five straight years from 1994-1998. He is a four-time Defensive Player of the Year, last winning the award in 2000-01 when he averaged 13.5 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game. He was an eight-time All-Star.
As great a player Mutombo was, he is an even greater person and humanitarian. He founded the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation in 1997 to benefit his homeland of Kinshasha in the Congo, and there opened the Biamba Marie Mutombo Hospital, named after his mother, in 2007.
The NBA has lost one of its elder statesman, an ambassador of the game and one of its greatest philanthropists. His career has “Hall of Fame” written all over it, as he sits second all-time in blocks with 3,289, just ahead of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and behind Hakeem Olajuwon. Let’s hope Oden can carry the torch after contributing to Mutombo’s downfall.
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