1 minute read

Dikembe Mutombo - Develops Basketball Skills

Famous Sports StarsBasketballDikembe Mutombo Biography - Growing Up In Africa, Develops Basketball Skills, Defensive Genius, Philanthropic Efforts, Chronology, Awards And Accomplishments - CONTACT INFORMATION

Develops Basketball Skills

Mutombo was offered an academic scholarship to Georgetown, where he planned to study medicine, become a doctor, and return to the Congo. During his first year in Washington, D.C., he did not play basketball, instead focusing his energies on learning English. During his sophomore year he joined the team, but played second fiddle to future NBA star Alonzo Mourning. Mutombo began to develop into a legitimate basketball player during his junior year, averaging 10.7 points per game and leading his team in rebounds. By his senior year, Mutombo, now seven-feet-two-inches tall, was garnering the attention of NBA scouts. He finished his final year averaging 15.2 points and 12.2 rebounds per game and was named the Big East Defensive Player of the Year. Dikembe, who speaks English, French, Spanish, Portuguese and five African dialects, graduated with a degree in linguistics and diplomacy.

In 1991 25-year-old Mutombo, the oldest player in the NBA draft, was selected as the fourth overall pick by the Denver Nuggets. Because he lacked experience on the floor, critics doubted that Mutombo could play at the professional level, at least not for several years. The Nuggets were willing to take that chance, and it proved to be a very wise gamble. During his rookie year Mutombo finished third in the NBA in rebounding, with an average of 13.2 boards per game. The only rookie to play in the NBA All-Star game, Mutombo came in second to Charlotte Hornets' Larry Johnson in voting for Rookie of the Year.

Developing into one of the best defensive players in the nation, Mutombo was named NBA Defensive Player of the Year in 1995, after leading the league in blocked shots for two consecutive years. And still, he continued to improve, especially on the defensive end, finishing the 1995-96 season as the league's third leading rebounder (11.8 per game) He led the league in blocked shots for four consecutive seasons, from 1992-93 to 1995-96, with 3.5, 4.1, 3.9, and 4.5 blocks per game, respectively. Despite his unmatched success on the defensive end, Mutombo was growing increasing unhappy in Denver. Each year his scoring declined slightly until by the end of the 1995-96 season he was only averaging 11 points per game.

Additional topics