Dikembe Mutombo awarded “Humanitarian of the Year”

dikembemutombo_5The Legends Brunch traditionally honors former NBA players and coaches who worked in, hail from or shared some other connection with the All-Star city each year.

This year, the 14th Annual NBA Legends Brunch saw over 1,500 retired players, their families and fans attending the event, which is hosted by the National Basketball Retired Players Association – a non-profit association comprised of former NBA, ABA and Harlem Globetrotters players.

This year, the “Humanitarian of the Year” was presented to former NBA center Dikembe Mutombo.

Mutombo, the shot intimidator and blocker who spent the last five of his 18 NBA seasons in Houston is renowned for his charitable works, particularly in his native Republic of the Congo.

Mutombo credited Hakeem Olajuwon, who preceded him to the NBA by eight years, with being the “key of our continent.”

“You’ve become The Dream for winning championships,” Mutombo said, addressing his friend from the stage, “but you’re a dream for so many African players.”

Recently, Mutombo, as reported by AP said he deserves induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame.

The 7-foot-2 Mutombo will be eligible beginning in 2015 after his retirement following the 2008-09 season.

He ranks second on the NBA’s career blocked shots list (3,256), behind only Hakeem Olajuwon (3,830) and he says surpassing every player but Olajuwon on that list should alone merit inclusion into the Hall.

During his 18 year playing career, “Mt. Mutombo” was one of the most intimidating shot blockers and rebounders of all time, leading the league in blocked shots five times and rebounds four times.

Mutombo was an eight time All-Star and appeared in the NBA FInals with the Philadelphia 76ers.

Mutombo played in 1196 NBA games (997 started), averaging 9.8 points, 10.3 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per contest.

He appeared in 8 NBA All-Star games, and led the NBA in blocks per game in 5 consecutive seasons. In 99-00 and 00-01 seasons, Mutombo also led the NBA in rebounds per game.

Mutombo was also a four-time defensive player of the year, and an eight-time All-Star.


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