Former NBA centers Darryl Dawkins and Dikembe Mutombo visit Spain


dawkins-mutomboOn October 6, NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers faced the Bilbao Basket in Spain as part of the “Global NBA Games”, a game that was attended by some 12,000 people.

It was the first time Sixers faced a oreign opponent since October 11, 2006, when they defeated CSKA Moscow 85-71 in Cologne, Germany. That year, the Sixers were one of four NBA teams to travel abroad during the preseason.

This year, eight NBA teams play eight games in six different countries (Spain, England, Turkey, Philippines, Taiwan, China, and Brazil) as part of an initiative to further promote the growth of the game abroad. As the popularity of the sport has increased internationally, the quality of play has also improved.

Along with the 76ers team, former players that have played for Sixers – Dikembe Mutombo and Darryl Dawkins have also arrived to meet the fans and sign autographs. Mutombo and Dawkins came with the Sixers as part of “NBA Cares” program, which hosted a basketball clinic for 100 local children.

Dawkins played 14 seasons in the NBA, 7 of them with Philadelphia 76ers. Dawkins averaged career high 16.8 ppg during the 1983-84 season. It should also be noted that Dawkins led the NBA in personal fouls 3 times during his career. He retired after playing for 76ers, New Jersey Nets, Utah Jazz, and Detroit Pistons after the 1988-1989 season, averaging 12.0 ppg, 6.1 rpg in 23.7 mpg, playing in 726 NBA games.

mutombo-meeting“I have more fun than the kids do,” Dawkins said after the event. “It’s important to let them know that this is the way we started (by learning the fundamentals of the game), and this is the way they’ll start.”

As for Mutombo – he ranks second on the NBA’s career blocked shots list (3,256), behind only Hakeem Olajuwon (3,830). 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.

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