Dikembe Mutombo: Should He Be in Springfield?

Steven MerriamCorrespondent IOctober 18, 2009

LOS ANGELES - MARCH 30:  Dikembe Mutombo #55 of the Houston Rockets looks on against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on March 30, 2007 in Los Angeles, California. The Rockets won 107-104. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)

I will answer that question with a quick and easy "yes."

This NBA season will not be like any other recent season. This is the first year since 1990 that Dikembe Mutombo will not be playing.

Fans either love him or hate him for his signature finger wag, but everybody knows who Dikembe Mutombo is. He has been one of the most dominating forces in the NBA for years.

Mutombo decided he would retire during the playoffs last year when he suffered a devastating left knee injury. When I heard this news, I was very disappointed. Mutombo had been my favorite player for years.

While looking at his stats, I thought, "I wonder if he has a chance to get in Springfield." Here is my case to get Dikembe Mutombo in to Springfield when he is eligible.

Mutombo was born on June 25, 1966 in Kinshasa, DR Congo. Mutombo went to Georgetown on a USAID scholarship. When he arrived at Georgetown, he hardly spoke any English.

While at Georgetown, Mutombo and fellow teammate Alonzo Mourning were so good at blocking shots the fans made a section called "Rejection Row."

In 1991, Mutombo entered the NBA Draft and was selected fourth overall by the Denver Nuggets. As a rookie, Mutombo averaged 16.6 points per game, three blocks per game, and 12.3 rebounds per game. Mutombo was selected to the All-Star Team his rookie year.

In his second year in the NBA, Mutombo averaged 3.5 blocks per game, 13.8 points per game, and 13 rebounds per game. In the 1993-1994 season, Mutombo averaged an astounding 4.1 blocks per game, with 12 points per game, and 11.8 rebounds per game.

In the 1994-95 season, Mutombo was named the Defensive Player of the Year and named to his second All-Star Team. In the 1995-96 season, Mutombo set his career average in blocks with 4.5 per game.

The following year, Mutombo went to the Atlanta Hawks. In Atlanta, Mutombo would receive three more Defensive Player of the Year awards and four more All-Star selections.

During the middle of the 2000-2001 NBA season, Mutombo was traded to the 76ers. Mutombo would also play for them in the 2001-2002 season but that was his whole tenure on the 76ers organization. He was an All-Star in 2002, his final All-Star appearance.

In the 2002-2003 season, the 76ers traded him to the nearby New Jersey nets. Mutombo only played 24 games as a Net due to a nagging injury.

The following season, the Nets waived Mutombo and he signed with the Knicks. Mutombo started to have his playing time decreased while as a member of the Knicks and only played for them for one season.

The Knicks traded Mutombo to the Bulls the next year. Mutombo never played a game as a Bull and they traded him to the Houston Rockets.

Mutombo would play for the Rockets for five years, backing up Yao Ming. In Mutombo's final year in the NBA, he played in only nine games.

Mutombo's career averages include 9.9 points per game, 2.8 blocks per game, and 10.3 rebounds per game. Mutombo retired second all-time in blocks with 3,256.

Mutombo has been known as one of the best defensive players for the past 15 years and will be missed.

I hope all who read this agree with me; Mutombo was one of the most dominating forces in the NBA and should be enshrined in Springfield when eligible.