Videos by OutKick
NBA legend Dikembe Mutombo will be taking the fight to another opponent: a brain tumor.
The NBA released a statement earlier today on behalf of Dikembe Mutombo and his family.
DIKEMBE MUTOMBO WAS A GLOBAL GIANT ON, OFF THE COURT
The 56-year-old Mutombo is one of the most famous basketball players across the globe. The 7-foot-2 Congo native went to Georgetown and was the fourth overall pick in the 1991 NBA Draft. His immense size made him immediately recognizable by all and he was an absolute beast on the defensive end of the court.
Known as one of the greatest shot-blockers of all time, Mutombo popularized the finger wag, his signature celebrating after blocking a shot. In 2015, he was elected into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Beyond the court, Mutombo’s humanitarian work has impacted countries across the world.
In 2000, he was honored with the President’s Service Awards, the highest honor for volunteer service. President George W. Bush even referred to him in his 2007 State of the Union Address.
The President said:
“Dikembe Mutombo grew up in Africa, amid great poverty and disease. He came to Georgetown University on a scholarship to study medicine — but Coach John Thompson got a look at Dikembe and had a different idea. (Laughter.) Dikembe became a star in the NBA, and a citizen of the United States. But he never forgot the land of his birth, or the duty to share his blessings with others. He built a brand new hospital in his old hometown. A friend has said of this good-hearted man: “Mutombo believes that God has given him this opportunity to do great things.” And we are proud to call this son of the Congo a citizen of the United States of America.”
He is also the first youth emissary for the United Nations Development Program, assisting hunger worldwide.
Upon the announcement, reaction and prayers has been coming in across the social media world.