Dikembe Mutombo: Shawn Kemp was my favorite player to block

mutombo-finger-waveDuring 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.

In a recent interview with PBAA, Mutombo was asked who was his favorite player to block, and the former shot-blocking specialist named one player Seattle used to love so much.

“To me, not just one in particular. But I think playing against Shawn Kemp. He was such a high jumping, athletic player,” Mutombo said.

Kemp in turn has expressed his regret over the fact that Old Spice chose ex-NBA center Dikembe Mutombo for their  8-bit-style video game.

Folks at Old Spice created the “Dikembe Mutombo’s 4 1/2 Weeks to Save the World” videogame, where Mutombo choses himself to save the world from the Mayan apocalypse.

Shawn Kemp expressed his view on this ad on his Twitter.

“I don’t think me saving the world from the apocalypse is a less plausible plot than Dikembe Mutombo saving the world from the apocalypse,” former All-star wrote on his Twitter on Dec. 9.

“Why does Old Spice have to go with Dikembe instead of me for their well-written internet game ad campaign? I’m generally available too.”

kemp-mutomboOne reason why Old Spice has decided to go with Mutombo, is probably because Dikembe used to be one of the best (if not the best) shot blockers and defenders in the NBA, during his prime.

Further on, Mutombo talked about his Georgetown days, where he played alongside another great NBA center, Alonzo Mourning.

Speaking on why Georgetown with him never won the national title, Mutombo said “the opportunity was there, and we just didn’t do it”.

“That is a major question that will haunt us for the rest of our lives. We had a chance and ultimately went to NBA to become dominant centers and we had opportunities to win in college, but didn’t,” he noted.

Speaking about how did the “finger wave” became his signature move, Mutombo said it all started just before his Denver Nuggets team beat Shawn Kemp’s Seattle Supersonics in the 1994 NBA Playoffs.

Mutombo noted that it was the “proudest successes of his  career”.

“I was having such a great year and blocking shots and moving up in the league. I used to block the shot and then I would shake my hand and no one said nothing. One day I decided shaking the hand doesn’t really mean nothing, so I decided to use finger,” Mutombo recalled.

“It it worked out very cool, but it ended up getting me a lot of technicals.”

Since later NBA has banned the “finger waving”, Mutombo found another way to showcase his signature move.

“You would hear from someone that maybe you better stop what you’re doing it’s costing you a lot of money. That’s why in my last 5 years in the NBA I started doing it away from the players face. So I don’t have to lose a couple of thousand dollars,” Mutombo said laughing.


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