Dikembe Mutombo is a retired professional basketball player of Congolese and American descent. Mutombo’s NBA career spanned a total of 18 seasons starting in 1991 and culminating in 2009. The NBA star has also been on the receiving end of several honors and awards including the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award which he won 4 times.
Apart from his numerous wins during his career days, Dikembe Mutombo was also very passionate about helping people. He started a foundation named after him in his home country of DR Congo which has played central roles in the health system of the country. Upon his retirement, he has spent time running the foundation effectively alongside maintaining a great family life with his wife and kids.
Meet Dikembe Mutombo’s Family Members
Mutombo had a bad experience when he initially wanted to get married for the first time to his then-lover Michelle Roberts, a medical student who declined to sign a prenuptial agreement the day before the wedding. However, the athlete eventually gave marriage a second chance, when he got married to his present wife Rose, who is from his native country. The duo is currently blessed with 6 children and it is reported that 4 out of their 6 children were adopted. Their biological children are Carrie Biamba Wamutumbo (daughter), and Jean Jacques Dikembe Mutumbo Mplombo, Jr. (son). There other 4 adopted children are from Mutombo’s deceased brothers.
It was gathered that the former player adopted his son, Ryan Mutombo because he reminded him of his youth and he is also toeing in his footsteps to become a basketball player. The former NBA star has been able to forge a very strong family bond with both his wife and kids ever since he retired.
Did You Know Some of Dikembe’s Brothers Also Played in the NBA?
The veteran NBA player is known to have had a couple of relations play professional basketball. In 1987, Dikembe’s older brother, Ilo, at age 26 started playing college basketball in Division II. The 6’10” tall player featured for Southern Indiana Screaming Eagles male basketball team. Interestingly, the brothers were pitted against each other in 1990.
Dikembe’s nephew, Harouna Mutombo, also played college basketball in the United States. He played for Western Carolina Catamounts and even won the 2009 Southern Conference Freshman of the Year Award. Reports have it that Harouna now plays professionally in Europe.
Another of Mutombo’s nephew, Haboubacar Mutombo, began playing for Western Carolina Catamounts in 2013. However, the most successful member of the Mutombo dynasty after Dikembe has got to be his nephew, Mfiondu Kabengele. He played college basketball at the prestigious Florida State University. He won the ACC Sixth Man of the Year Award for the 2018-19 season. Kabengele was drafted in the first-round pick of the 2019 NBA draft. He went on to sign a professional contract with California based Los Angeles Clippers.
The Renowned NBA Star Kick Started His NBA Career With Denver Nuggets
Upon graduation from college, Denver Nuggets picked the Congolese American as its fourth overall pick in the 1991 NBA draft. Mutombo mastered his signature move in 1992 which helped him earn endorsement and sponsorship contracts. In that same year, the NBA star was selected to feature in the 1992 NBA All-Star Game hosted in Orlando, Florida. Dikembe quickly went on to carve a niche for himself as one of the best defensive players in the NBA. He subsequently became the Nuggets franchise cornerstone and helped the team qualify for the 1993-94 season playoffs.
The prolific player set a record of 31 blocks for a five-game series during a first-round playoff match against Seattle SuperSonics. Unfortunately, the Nuggets lost to Utah Jazz in the second round of the playoffs. In 1995-96 season, Dikembe was featured for the second time in an NBA All-Star Game. That same season, he received the highly coveted NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award.
Wamutombo became a free agent at the end of the 1995-96 NBA season after failing to agree on a contract extension deal with Denver Nuggets. He eventually signed for the Atlanta Hawks on a 5-year deal worth $55 million. The Hawks recorded 50+ win seasons in the 1996-97 and 1997-98 seasons. Interestingly, Mutombo picked up the Defensive Player of the Year Award for both seasons.
He Won the Title, Defensive Player of the Year 4 Times
The prolific defensive player won the prestigious IBM Award in the 1998-99 season. In his final season with the Hawks, the star player averaged 11.5 points per game, pulled off a career and league-high 14.1 rebounds per game, and an impressive 3.3 blocks per game.
Mutombo joined the Philadelphia 76ers in 2001 in a player-swap deal. He had earlier featured in 2000-01 season’s NBA All-Star Game. Dikembe went on to win his fourth Defensive Player of the Year award in 2001. His impeccable contributions helped the 76ers finish as runner-ups in 2001 NBA Finals.
Upon leaving the Philadelphia 76ers, Mutombo went on to play for New Jersey Nets. From there he moved to the New York Knicks in October 2003 and by August 2004, he was traded to the Chicago Bulls. Prior to the start of the 2004-05 season, Houston Rockets signed the former NBA star in a player-swap deal. Following a win over Denver Nuggets on March 2, 2007, 40-year Mutombo recorded 22 rebounds, making him the oldest player in NBA history to do so.
Dikembe Mutombo announced his retirement on April 23, 2009, after playing for 18 seasons in the NBA. He featured eight times in the NBA All-Star Games and is a recipient of the Sager Strong Award.
He has Been Overseeing the Affairs of the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation Since He Retired
The retired player has a reputation for being a philanthropist and humanitarian. In 1997, he started the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation to help improve the living conditions of his people back home in DR Congo. Mutombo’s humanitarian deeds have not gone unnoticed as he has won several awards and honors in that regard. He received the prestigious J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award in 2001 and 2009. Dikembe has also been named in the past by Sporting News in 1999 and 2000 as one of the “Good Guys in Sports”. More so, in 1999, he was presented with the President’s Service Awards.
In 2004, Mutombo joined NBA stars like Malik Rose, DeSagana Diop, and Shawn Bradley in participating in the NBA Basketball Without Borders program. The program featured a tour across Africa with an aim to create awareness about the game and to help improve infrastructure. Dikembe was also reported to have fully sponsored the Zaire women’s
basketball team throughout the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games held in Atlanta, Georgia.
More so, the retired NBA player is a global ambassador for Special Olympics and sits on the organization’s International Board of Directors. Mutombo is also a spokesman for CARE- an international humanitarian agency. In 2007, Dikembe was given an invitation by President George W. Bush to attend his State of the Union Address. The president extolled his humanitarianism and philanthropy.
More so, in collaboration with his foundation, the ex-NBA star spearheaded the construction of the Biamba Marie Mutombo Hospital located in Kinshasa, Congo. For his efforts in the health sector, the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health subsequently presented Dikembe with the notable Goodermote Humanitarian Award in April 2011.