Forty-two years. 42, and still playing in the NBA. Truly, Dikembe Mutombo Mpolondo Mukamba Jean-Jacques Wamutombo was already something special just for his longevity. However, it looks like his career is finally over after a first-quarter collision with Greg Oden in Game 2 of the Rockets-Blazers series. (Yes, there's a certain comedy in the oldest NBA center being injured by the oldest-looking NBA center).
But sportfan, do you realize how many great moments Dikembe gave us? If his career is truly over, it's time to give thanks. Here's a count-down of my five favorite stories about Mutombo:
5. "Who Wants to Sex Mutombo?" There's an anecdote that claims that "Dikembe walked into a Georgetown bar one night [in the early '90s], and the entire place stopped to look at him. In response, Mutombo just yelled out, "WHO WANTS TO SEX MUTOMBO?!"
4. The Finger-Wag:
Dikembe's finger wag made blocking shots cool. Of course, it also was the first thing MJ and Shaq did after they dunked on Mutombo:
3. The Charity Work. How many NBA players can say they were invited to the State of the Union address? He took other NBA players with him to Africa, and built a hospital there. Remember, Dikembe originally went to Georgetown to study medicine. You can see the emotional impact the trip had on Jim Jackson and Marcus Camby early in this video.
2. The Sonics series. Who can forget this photo of Mutombo rolling around in joy after the Nuggets pulled the upset? It was the first upset of a #1 seed by a #8 seed in the play-offs.
1. The voice. Ah, that voice. Even if Dikembe is just bowling or eating, he's hilarious.
So hilarious, in fact, that his own teammates try to imitate him:
Dikembe Mutombo was a unique character in NBA history. He never quite got himself to the acclaim of a Shaq or Olajuwon, but he's the second-best shot-blocker of all time and played on winning team after winning team (Nuggets, Sonics, Sixers, and Rockets). I'll miss his intensity, his sense of humor, and his charitable nature. Thanks Dikembe! Here's a video that Youtube user thekurtman31 posted to say good-bye to Dikembe: