Former Congolese center Dikembe Mutombo, 56, is undergoing treatment for a brain tumor, the NBA said Saturday. Inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, Mutombo played 18 seasons in the American league, for six different teams, earning a reputation as one of the best defenders in history. At 2.18m and nearly 120kg, he won the Defensive Player of the Year award four times in his career.
“He is receiving the best care possible from a team of experts in Atlanta and he is confident,” the NBA said in a statement.
Mutombo hugs former NBA commissioner David Stern at the Hall of Fame ceremony — Photo: AP Photo/Charles Krupa
Mutombo’s first years in the NBA were with the Denver Nuggets, who signed him in 1991. But it was at the Atlanta Hawks that the center shone the most. In both teams, jersey number 55 was retired. He also played for the Philadelphia 76ers, New Jersey Nets, New York Knicks and Houston Rockets. He retired in 2009.
Dikembe Mutombo, left, for the Hawks — Photo: Getty Images