I haven't followed the NBA much since the Sonic went to Hijack City but I usually watch the playoffs, so I was surprised that I missed the news that one of my favorite players suffered a career ending injury on Tuesday. Dikembe Mutombo Mpolondo Mukamba Jean-Jacques Wamutombo (that's his full name) blew out his left knee in Portland that night bringing to an end to 17 years in the NBA.
In 1994 I had every reason to hate Mutombo, the picture of him laying on the floor of Key Arena clutching the ball as his Denver Nuggets came into Seattle and beat the team with the best record in the NBA (and probably killing the Sups best chance at a Championship - For a great [if painful] video review of the series click here) is still fresh in my mind. Still, Dikembe always makes me smile.
Maybe it's his accent, maybe it's his infectious smile when he's off the court, maybe it was his reactions at the NBA dunk contests, but probably it's because even though he was a pretty good basketball player, he is a very good person - He holds a degree in diplomacy and linguistics, and he speaks 9 languages. He's done extensive work with the United Nations and has given millions to his native Democratic Republic of Congo, including building a hospital in the capital (how many other NBA players have built a hospital?).
Here's wishing Deke a quick recovery!
BTW - The post title is a little inside joke amongst some of the Old Guys.