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Dikembe Mutombo: For Old Times Sake

24 Oct 1997:  Dikembe Mutombo of the Atlanta Hawks during the Hawks 93-89 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers at the Great Western Forum in Inglewood, California.   Mandatory Credit: Otto Greule/Allsport
Ricky ChanContributor IApril 1, 2009

The Shot Blocker

We all know what a shot blocker is. He is the guy that has the instinct to anticipate when a ball is shot, dunked, and laid up. He will always be there, no matter how hard you try to avoid him. Even if you think you’re wide-open for any of those types of shots, somehow he has his hand on the ball.

When we think of shot blockers today, some of the names that come to mind may be Dwight Howard, Josh Smith, Lebron James, or whoever you think of. These guys have the ability to see every shot that is taken and get a hand or a finger on it.

Whenever a shot is blocked, whether it’s by, or against your favorite player, there is always that reaction of “Ohhh” or “dagg,” and maybe even “That’s a foul!” which ruins the moment.

But it’s those blocked shots that have no controversy around them that make the NBA so exciting to watch. America can watch those blocks over and over, even if it was your favorite player, but most of the time their looking for a foul. (Note: Insanity—doing the same thing multiple times looking for different results)…Makes you wonder.

Some of the best shot blockers that have played this game have already retired, except one. His name is not announced that often anymore, but if you said his name, everyone would know who his is. His name is unique and really long. He is the oldest player in the NBA at 42, and he is 7’2”. He comes off the bench for the Rockets, and is second on the career blocks list. He also ties for the largest shoe size in the NBA, 22.

Dikembe Mutombo Mpolondo Mukamba Jean-Jacques Wamutombo is a shot blocker. On Jan. 10, 2007, Mutombo recorded five blocks against the Lakers, which put him passed the great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on the career blocked shots lists. In his early years, as we all remember, he became known for his famous finger wag. His blocked shots were some of the greatest in history.

At 41, most guys are beginning to grab their backs and wouldn’t even think of trying to block someone’s shot. But Mutombo is a warrior and always has been. He criticized Yao Ming for the way he takes charges sometimes and not just getting up there and sending the shot into the stands.

At 42, Mutombo is near his end and has a guaranteed spot in the Hall of Fame. He is the definition of a shot blocker and is career can prove it. He is also the oldest player to ever grab 20 rebounds.

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