Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009 at 10:00 am  |  82 responses

Dikembe Mutombo: ‘It’s Over for Me’

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.

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  • http://hoops4life.com overtime

    Excellent player. Better human. Mount Mutombo- one of a kind

  • pendejo

    Kinda sad. One tower less for BRoy to sink.

  • babygab

    1st !

  • http://theghostofroyhobbs.blogspot.com Mo Charlo

    /pours out forty

  • http://www.hoopmixtape.com Simon S.Y Lawy

    yeah, one of a kind … thanks

  • Henkenzo

    what a man, surely will be missed. but 18 years is a lot of memories luckily!

  • http://lacuevacrosscountry.com Slick Nick Da Ruler


  • thesubwayconnection

    Thanks, Deke. I hope you finger wag goodbye.

  • http://allanzuss@yahoo.com Mendel

    Congos Finest. They should make million dollar bills in congo currency with his picture on it waving his fingure.

  • Jer Boi

    He was just awesome. From his voice to his game. Awesome.

  • http://www.another48minutes.blogspot.com Gerard Himself

    sad to see him leave the game like this. 18 seasons of what weird voice and finger-wagging, I’ll miss him. Drafted in 1991! Who’s now the longest-tenured player?

  • http://www.obviated.blogspot.com nick

    I nearly won an autographed pair of his shoes when i was 9 years old (some 13 years ago) and I’ve been a fan ever since. He’s been great to Houston as well. We’ll miss you, Deke.

  • RM

    Definite respect. Thanks Deke.

  • http://allanzuss@yahoo.com Mendel

    Still my best memory with him is how hard MJ slammed on him, but to his credit how hard he went up to bust MJ.

  • http://www.obviated.blogspot.com nick

    Dikembe Mutombo Mpolondo Mukamba Jean-Jacques Wamutombo is, undeniably, one of the classiest individuals to ever play the game. This really breaks my heart a little bit.

  • http://www.obviated.blogspot.com nick

    MUTOMBO FACTOID: Dikembe speaks 9 languages.

  • pendejo

    @Mendel: Sick idea, send the request in to the nearest Embassy of Congo near you.
    And the shoes – man, one of the ugliest design. Ever.
    Remember watching the game where he layed on the floor nearly crushing the rock after Denver eliminated the SuperSonics.

  • http://www.obviated.blogspot.com nick

    For those who didn’t see this happen, I would like the record to show that Deke’s knee buckled, likely tearing his ACL, and THEN Mutombo jumped twice to try to get the rebound. I think that pretty much sums him up as a man.

  • toney blare

    i saw him in a tux walking down fifth avenue in manhattan about 5 years ago. my date was highly impressed when i yelled “DEKE!” and got the one fist salute. Massive respect.

  • http://slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    Maybe he can pull a Barkley and come back for one more game. I’d like that.

  • http://www.broy7.com nate the great

    man, it sucks, i liked deke a lot. massive respect for him.
    it sucks iv only known him a few years.
    but before watching the game, i was playing 2k9, and just because i liked him i had him as my starting C in fantasy draft. and i murdered my cousin. its crazy cuz i live in oregon, so i was going for broy.. but i had 42 points with Deke. And roy in person had 42, and now Deke’s gone forever.
    Haha thats some weird Omen ish my friends.
    Farewell mutombo.

  • http://apeachbasketandadream.wordpress.com Peach B.

    Tough way to go out but he had a full career. That image of him lying on the floor clutching the ball to his chest is the way I will remember his career.

  • http://ittakesanationofmillionstoholdthissac.blogspot.com ciolkstar

    So much heart. Thanks for the memories, Deke.

  • el-bot


    MUCH respect Deke
    and thank you

  • James aka…

    why not, as the slam community, collect some coin for his hospital project in the drc? any volunteers?

  • http://www.hoopsvibe.com/christopher_sells-authorHV106.html chiqo

    i’m sure he was in too much pain to do it, but how great would it have been if he had given the finger wave on the stretcher?

  • Josh D

    Great player, sad to see him going

  • Big Bad Boss

    great player! the young guns will miss you, they wouldnt have the chance how it feels when DEKE rejects their dunk attempts., and the finger wag on their face!

  • http://nicekicks.com MeloMan13

    THIS SUCKS. every NBA player recieves hate from some fans or players, Kobe and Shaq come to mind, but i’m almost positive that there is not a single soul in the NBA family that has ill will towards Deke. Much respecttt

  • http://www.sprint.com/sero dma

    No more sexing Mutombo.

  • http://www.sprint.com/sero dma

    i’m proud to be a portlander. nothing but respect and class last night after Mutombo came down. he’s a warrior without a question.

  • henry

    pure class

  • http://nbacheapseats.blogspot.com Chendaddy

    Dikembe Mutombo – all class. Can’t say a bad thing about the guy. How many players can have so long a career and be so beloved throughout it? I miss him already. But not as much as Houston does, I bet. Only Carl Landry, Chuck Hayes, and Brian Cook left to back up Yao Ming and Luis Sola? Aldridge, Przybilla, and Oden are going to have a field day whenever Yao is off the court.

  • stryfee

    hate to see him go like this. thanks for the memories deke

  • Oli

    boy, those georgetown guys (especially centers) surely fight until they fall. first ewing, then zo and now deke (soon ai?). thanks, coach thompson.

  • Tommy Patron

    Much respect!

  • littleshotlarry

    Class act, that guy.

  • el-bot

    MeloMan; i was thinking the same. i don’t see how anyone can rag on Deke.

    he may not play again, but i think [a hope] we haven’t seen the last of him

  • http://idunkonthem.blogspot.com albie1kenobi

    nick couldn’t have said it better @ 10:25, same exact sentiment here. My basketball blog is named after his NBA live commercial when ask what he would do if he gets doubled.

  • Static

    As a Nugg, Atlien, 76er, Rocket, he always brought it and was classy thruout…utmost respect

  • http://idunkonthem.blogspot.com albie1kenobi

    @Russ: when though? Sometime next year when his number gets retired? Barkley got hurt early in the regular season, then came back for a late regular season game

  • RBGdUP

    sad sad day for basketball. He is a SHOE-IN HOF’er in my opinion. Any player who manages to play at his level and remain a relevant defensive force for 18 YEARS deserves a first-ballot. Were gonna miss you Mt. Mutombo.

  • http://fashionsensei.files.wordpress.com/2008/02/jackie-moon.jpg Jackie Moon

    Now, will somebody PLEASE sex Mutombo?

  • clapzilla

    It Was So Depressing Seeing Him On The Knicks Bench A Few Years Ago. I’m Glad He Went Out On A Team That He Loved Playing For. There Should Be A Bunch of Players Wearing A “55″ On An Armband or Something Until The 1st Round Is Over.

  • wanu24

    I’m gonna miss Deke for two reasons: 1) all those damn names of his 2) for his facial reactions whenever he seen a dunk at the dunk contest

  • http://trulyhoops.blogspot.com Collin


  • clapzilla

    How Come Nobody Has Pointed Out How Ironic It Is That His Last Play Had Him Guarding Old Man Oden?

  • Plasticman

    Sad day indeed. So many memories. He’s left his mark on the NBA and he deserves every bit of the praise that is sure to come his way. Great player. Great man. Greatly missed.
    55 forever.

  • http://sejk.net b55

    big man, big heart

  • Putdekeinthehalloffame

    Thanks Deke for the memories, the great plays and top of all thanks for being a great human being

  • truthteller

    Dikembe Mutombo…you will be missed! I’m sure we’ll see you in Sprinfield!

  • Danny W

    What a classy gentleman. Lotta love Deke.

  • http://allanzuss@yahoo.com Mendel


    Unfortunatly we are reaching a generation where this does not mean too much to many people.

    If this posting does not break 100 the slam community has no respect.

  • Huff Dials Long Distance

    This reminds me of when Aaron Scott Zeev got hit in his shveds.
    Just like Dikembe, he was carted off the court with fans cheering for his well being.

    Alright I just got something to say to AD.

  • donlaker

    i say no no no no like mutumbo, i will miss his big index finger, and it is not fair , dikembe went out like a warrior, not like ,t mac, who went out like a garden salad, and now he(tbac) says on jim rome show that he wasnt motivated last year but next year will be different (shades of vince carter in toronto),see you soon as a coach somewhere mutumbo go rockets without the cancer called t bac (tmac)

  • http://www.stonesthrow.com/ Michael NZ

    Mutombo is one of the few remaining guys who have been in the league right since I first started watching the NBA as a kid in 93. Shaq is still around. But so is Lindsay Hunter. You’ll be missed Dikembe.

  • Bill Russel

    A true legend in every way a great man and a great player, an exceptional defender. See you in Springfield Deke

  • Jacob

    Excellent player, even better human being, thank you for the memories Deke, you are still one of my favorite all time players

  • Jacob

    check out Chris Broussards piece on Mutombo on ESPN.com, its pretty good I didnt know his real name was Dikembe Mutombo Mpolondo Mukamba Jean Jacque Wamutombo

  • Jacob

    my bad, Chris Sheridan

  • http://www.mykal1.blogspot.com MyKal

    Hall of Fame?

  • http://www.basketballjerseyworld.com nba-jersey-king

    GREAT GREAT PLAYER! Very underrated. You will be missed in the NBA. Hope he stays involved somehow – maybe as a defensive coach/shot blocking coach for some team (come to Miami)

  • capitantrueno

    back when I started watching games with Deke, it was him with LaPhonso Ellis & Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf and Dale Ellis running the show.
    Remember: Deke blocked the Reignman in his prime on a regular basis… in the playoffs.

  • J.G.

    Damn, Sure gonna miss one of the greatest defensive players ever to play this game we love

  • Samcobilibob

    thank GOD he should

  • http://www.stonesthrow.com/ Michael NZ

    Hall of Fame? Unquestionably.

  • j4zzm4n

    youbwill be missed mr.mutombo one of my continent’s finest ever athletes.the finger waggle he did should never be imitated by anyone in the league.a class act and true sportsman.

  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    Hall of fame…? Try Hall of THE WORLD.
    I just feel bad for the man, who couldn’t go out on his own terms… You are legendary.

  • http://myspace.com/2grownup2beshownup Jack

    Legend. Thanks for it all Deke. Much love.

  • http://www.nba.com JE

    See you next year, Deke.

  • http://phoenixsunsrising.blogspot.com/ Hersey

    Great guy. Best memory for me was Nuggets over Sonics. That run was fun to watch.

  • http://www.broy7.com/roy/index nate the great

    Hall of fame, noble peace prize, president.. how bout we cut out the small talk and just say deke is god!

  • Johnny F

    One of the best defenders Of all time, and a good guy. I think he deserves to be a future hall of famer. Mount. Mutombo well miss u.

  • http://deleted airsmith

    so depressing

  • John

    great player and person. Cant believe its over for him! when i look back and remember watching him in his 4th season in the NBA to now, makes me feel old :( and reminds me of all the great players that have gone through that era. All the Alonzo Mournings, Mugsy Bogues’ etc

  • http://www.Slamonline.com CP34MVP

    Much Respect Deke. Future Hall Of Famer.. Man I Wish It Didn’t Have To Go Down Like This.

  • chintao

    OK, too much love in here. While I must admit that Dikembe grew on me and I really appreciate what he has meant to the league, I get disturbed when there’s no negativity around. To wit, I offer the following: What about how Mutombo’s clumsy ass used to injure his own players in practice? Also, don’t forget how he “inadvertently” knocked Chris Childs’s tooth out. Childs waited outside the lockerroom for Dike. After the Mount failed to materialize, Childs rushed into the Hawks lockerroom only to find that Mutombo had made tracks out a back exit. That’s pretty much all I got. We all will miss you, big man.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Blinguo

    @ Mendel, Will this current 75+ combined with the 50+ Links Deke Farewell post up, totaling 125+ be enough for you?

  • bulldog

    Quite simply- He is my Hero. And I ain’t got too many of those. Thanks for the fond memories and best of health, my friend. May you receive 1000 fold the blessings you have given to others.

  • nastierthanyou

    Heaven’s got a center.

  • snyper48

    As an african, as an angolan and most important as a person that Loves the NBA since 1988,I would like to say that I’m proud of Deke’s career in the NBA.Most of the guys dont realize the amount of work that Deke had put out just to stay in Georgetown,he was not a basketball player at all and we all realize that he’s older than 42.Even though he made it to the league, he never forgot his roots, he always got back and tried to help, not to build a good image like so many athletes but he did from his heart.All around Africa Mutombo is a Hero and we know he wasnt the best player but he was always a real african man.So much props to Mount Mutombo, we’ll miss you.

  • Bostwik

    It’s a shame he had to go out like. I;ll miss seeing him play.