The Congolese Dikembe Mutombo, one of the best defenders in the history of the NBA passed by the Sixers and the Nets, with which he reached the final in 2001 and 2003, is suffering from a brain tumor at the age of 56, announced saturday the north american basketball league.
« NBA Global Ambassador and Hall of Famer Dikembe Mutombo is currently undergoing treatment for a brain tumor, » the statement said, adding that he « is receiving the best care possible from a team of specialists from Atlanta« .
« Dikembe, as well as his family, ask to respect his privacy during this time, so that he can focus on his care.“, concludes the NBA, whose boss, Adam Silverhastened to send a message of support: « All our thoughts and prayers go out to Dikembe, one of the great humanitarians of our world« .
Quadruple best defender in the league in 1995, 1997, 1998 and 2001 (a record he shares with former Pistons Ben Wallace), Mutombo has been one of the most deterrent players the NBA has ever known.
Born in Kinshasa, he mastered the art of counter like few and had even made it his signature, with the « Mutombo Finger Wag« , this way of waving the finger from left to right in front of the opponent, when he had just succeeded in one, to tell him »not in my house » (« not at my house »).
With 3,289 blocks inflicted, he is the second best blocker in history, behind the legendary Hakeem Olajuwon.
With the Nigerian, they were the first two African representatives to win in the best championship in the world, paving the way for other talents, from the Sudanese Luol Dieng to Cameroonians (since naturalized French and American) Joel Embiid.
Eight-time All-Star Game selection, top rebounder in 1999/2000 and 2000/2001 regular seasonsMutombo began his career in Denver, which drafted him in 4th position in 1991. In 1996, he took the direction of Atlanta, before joining Philadelphia in 2000.
Nine months later, alongside the star Allen Iverson, he played in his first NBA Finals, eventually losing to the Lakers of Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant. The second will also be a failure, in the jersey of the New Jersey Nets this time, but still against Los Angeles.
After a season in New York, which began its decline, he ended his career in Houston in 2009.