Dikembe Mutombo Mpolondo Mukamba Jean Jacques Wamutombo had a long name as well as long arms that swatted away many shots in the NBA.
Mutombo was another big-man from the Georgetown production line. Patrick Ewing is the most famous while others include Alonzo Mourning, Jahidi White, Roy Hibbert, Othella Harrington, Don Reid and Greg Monroe.
Born in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mutombo went to Georgetown University and for three seasons blocked nearly 4 shots per game. He also had two seasons there of double-figure rebounds.
In the 1991 draft, the 7-2 Mutombo went after power forward Larry Johnson, scoring point guard Kenny Anderson and versatile forward Billy Owens. Denver picked him at number 4.
The Nuggets needed an upgrade at center, the previous year they had used Blair Rasmussen, Terry Mills and Joe Wolf in the position. None of them had the ability that Mutombo had.
For his five years in Denver, Mutombo started every game he played. He scored in double figures and blocked 3 or 4 shots per game.
Dikembe Mutombo decided to find a new team and signed with the Atlanta Hawks. For four and a half seasons he averaged a double-double and, as usual, blocked many shots.
The Philadelphia 76ers were on their way to the NBA playoffs and decided that a giant center was something they needed. Mutombo and Roshown McLeod went to the Philadelphia 76ers for Toni Kukoc, Nazr Mohammed, Theo Ratliff and Pepe Sanchez. Atlanta got a lot in return for Mutombo but the 76ers got the player they wanted.
In the 2001 playoffs, Allen Iverson did all the scoring. Mutombo was actually third in scoring average on the team, with 13.9 points per game in the playoffs. Mutombo went to work on the defensive end, blocking 72 shots in 23 playoff games.
The 76ers and Nets have made a few trades over the years and they agreed on a trade of Dikembe Mutombo for Todd MacCulloch and Keith Van Horn in August of 2002.
It was a short stay in New Jersey for Mutombo, 24 games in season 2002-03, but he didn’t move far as he signed with the Knicks. He played 65 useful games for the Knicks, with around 2 blocks per game.
The Bulls wanted Jamal Crawford so they sent the Bulls a package of Mutombo, Othella Harrington, Cezary Trybanski and Frank Williams for Crawford and Jerome Williams. He wouldn’t play a game for the Bulls.
Many thought Mutombo’s career was over but Houston didn’t. They thought he could be an ideal backup for Yao Ming. The Rockets gave the Bulls Adrian Griffin, Eric Piatkowski and Mike Wilks for Mutombo. He didn’t just play a few games, Mutombo played five years with Houston.
Mutombo was still an effective player, he had small minutes but would still block a shot per game and his field goal numbers were around 50% so he wasn’t slowing them down on the offensive end. Mutombo was 42 years old in his final NBA season.
For his career, Dikembe Mutombo would block 3,289 shots, and wave his finger after a lot of them which was his trademark gesture after a block, and had 12,359 total rebounds.