by Marcel Mutoni

From the moment he crumpled the floor, you just knew. And evidently, he knew as well. Dikembe Mutombo’s basketball career came to an abrupt end last night, following a horrific knee injury in the first quarter of Game 2 against the Portland Trailblazers.

The Houston Chronicle caught up with a reflective Deke in the locker room following the Rockets’ Game 2 loss:

“It’s over for me for my career,” said Mutombo…It’s not something that I planned. All I can say right now is I had a wonderful run of 18 years and stayed injury-free. I thank God a lot for all this blessing and putting such great people around me for all of my career in the NBA. I’m just happy. I have to go out with my head high and not be disappointed and have no regrets. I have so many things I can be so thankful for over my 18 years.”

“I have so many great memories,” Mutombo said. “Making it to the NBA Finals, winning the Defensive Player of the Year, winning a blocked shot title. There are so many things I can smile and be happy about all of my accomplishments. Nobody ever thought the big fellow would be the person they’re carrying out of the arena. I was going out like a wounded soldier. I think that was one of the best memories, giving myself up for this league and my team and my teammates.”

There will certainly never be another one like him. Thanks for the memories, Deke.