Mt. Mutombo Takes His Game Globally

Mutombo joins NBA as global ambassador

By Dan Stamm
|  Tuesday, Nov 17, 2009  |  Updated 6:34 PM EDT
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Basketball star Dikembe Mutombo could be spending a lot more time bringing the game to kids.

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For nearly two decades the man they called Mt. Mutombo shook a finger at anyone trying to bring the ball into the paint. Now he is taking that ball and bringing it to the world.

Dikembe Mutombo Mpolondo Mukamba Jean-Jacques Wamutombo (OK, we will just call him Dikembe Mutombo for the sake of brevity) is joining the NBA as a global ambassador.

The league announced Mutombo's hiring to the newly created position Tuesday, with commissioner David Stern calling the eight-time All-Star “one of sports' outstanding humanitarians.”

He might be a nice guy, but on the court he was just flat out mean -- often standing between a would-be scorer and the basket.

Despite jokes about his age and voice, the 7-foot-2 center made an impact on various franchises including the Hawks, Nuggets, Rockets and Sixers.

He became a 76er at the height of the Allen Iverson-led Sixers’ success in Feb. 2001.

Dike served as the perfect big-man complement to Iverson’s high-motor play. He brought toughness and defensive prowess to the 2001 Eastern Conference Champion Sixers.

He also came up big in the 2001 playoffs -- averaging 13.9 points, 13.7 boards and 3.1 blocks per game during their NBA Finals run.

But, Mutombo would only last one more year in Philly before being shipped off to New Jersey.

Besides being a four-time defensive player of the year, Mutombo is known for his charitable work. He opened a hospital and research center in his native Democratic Republic of Congo and is the only two-time winner of the league's J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award, given for “outstanding service and dedication to the community.”

Mutombo, who retired last season after 18 years in the league, will work on numerous international events and programs, including the Basketball without Borders camps.

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