Box & One with Dikembe Mutombo

By Wesley Chism Jr.
Updated: January 15, 2008

SEATTLE — Dikembe Mutombo signed a one year deal with the Houston Rockets in the off season that will put an end to a beautiful 16-year career. “I do understand how fortunate that I’ve been to play basketball, not just in the NBA but at Georgetown University too and the Coaches that have helped me along the way and contributed to my success.”

He was drafted in the first round (fourth overall) by the Denver Nuggets in the 1991 NBA Draft. Dikembe has always played the game of basketball with extreme passion which really came through when he was a catalyst in advancing the Nuggets in the playoffs and you could see him lying on his back with the ball held in the air and tears in his eyes after the whistle blew.

During his 16-year playing career, he has been named Defensive Player of the Year four times. He was voted to eight consecutive NBA All-Star games and ranks second in blocked shots with a total of 3,230 which comes with a lot of finger waving.

“What has really separated me from many of my colleagues is that I’ve taken care of my body by eating the right foods.” Mutombo eats a lot of fish, pasta and salads and has a daily regiment of exercises that he does other than basketball such as soccer, bike riding and weight lifting.

There isn’t enough time or space to talk about the accomplishments that Dikembo has accomplished off the court but what is really close to his heart is the Dikembo Mutombo Foundation which was established in 1997.

It’s a charitable organization created to improve the health, education and quality of life for people in his homeland of Kinshasa which is the Capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“Basketball has allowed me to contribute in more ways than I could have imagined. I initially was going to be a Doctor but obtained my degree in Linguistics (he speaks English, French, Spanish, Portuguese and five African dialects) and Diplomacy from Georgetown University. We have done some great things with my foundation but there’s so much more that needs to be done.”

There are so many ways to contribute and you don’t have to write a huge check, five or 10 dollars goes along way. Check out his website and see what you can become a part of this project at

“It is important for me to give back and share the wealth that I have obtained as a professional athlete and do what I can for the people in my country.”

“I am going to enjoy the remaining time that I have in the league. It doesn’t matter if I play three minutes or not at all, if I’m suited up I will be supporting my teammates and contribute to the success of the Houston Rockets in any way that I can.”

Dikembe Mutombo Mpolondo Mukamba Jean Jacque Wamutomb is leaving the NBA the same way he entered, with dignity, class and the respect of his colleagues.