April 8, 2015
WASHINGTON - Calling it a "dream come true," former Georgetown University men's basketball All-American Dikembe Mutombo (SLL'91) was one of 11 people selected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Monday at a press conference in Indianapolis, the site of the 2015 NCAA Final Four.
Mutombo will be joined in the 2015 Hall of Fame Class by 39-year NBA referee Dick Bavetta, three-time College Coach of the Year John Calipari, four-time NBA All-Star Spencer Haywood, seven-time NBA All-Star Jo Jo White and three-time WNBA MVP Lisa Leslie. They join the five directly elected members who were announced during NBA All-Star Weekend in February, including Louis Dampier, voted in from the American Basketball Association (ABA) Committee; John Isaacs from the Early African American Pioneers Committee; Lindsay Gaze from the International Committee, Tom Heinsohn from the Veterans Committee and George Raveling from the Contributor Direct Election Committee.
In being selected, Mutombo joins former Hoyas Patrick Ewing (C'85) and Alonzo Mourning (C'92), as well as former Hoya coachJohn Thompson Jr. as members of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
"First, I want to thank God because coming from the place where I come from, from the poverty, to be standing here with this jersey and be part of this wonderful family, the Hall of Fame, it's a dream come true," Mutombo said at the HOF announcement in Indianapolis. "I never thought I would be a basketball player. I dreamed about studying medicine to go help people. Today my dream came true."
A two-time All-BIG EAST selection at Georgetown, Mutombo averaged 15.2 points, 12.2 rebounds and 4.7 blocks as a senior in 1991, when he was named First Team All-BIG EAST and earned Third Team All-American honors. Mutombo was selected to Georgetown's "All Century Team" and still ranks among the all-time leaders in blocked shots (3rd, 354) and rebounds (12th, 8.6 per game).
Mutombo played 18 seasons in the NBA and was an eight-time NBA All-Star (1992, 1995-98 and 2000-02) and a four-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year (1995, 1997, 1998, 2001). He led the NBA in blocked shots for five-consecutive seasons (1994-98) and blocks per game for a record three-consecutive seasons (1994-96). He finished his NBA career with 11,729 points, 12,359 rebounds and 3,289 blocks.
His legendary finger-wagging motion after blocked shots became one of the most recognized gestures in the game.
Off the court, Mutombo has long made it a priority to improve the health, education and quality of life for the people of his native Congo. In 1997, he founded the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation, dedicated to improving the health, education and quality of life for people in the republic. The foundation provides comprehensive health care at the Biamba Marie Mutombo Hospital, and promotes health care, disease prevention, health policy, health research and increased access to health care education.
He received the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award in 2001 and 2009.
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Enshrinement ceremonies will be held from Sept. 10-12 in Springfield, Mass.