Mutombo: Hall Of Fame Worthy?

Pete TreperinasCorrespondent INovember 4, 2008

Don't drive the lane on this bad seven-footer, or you'll get the infamous finger wag.

Dikembe Mutombo Mpolondo Mukamba Jean-Jacques Wamutombo has been banging and bruising in the NBA since 1991, and I think his defense should earn him a spot in the Hall of Fame.

Mutombo has been the NBA Defensive Player of the Year four times, he's a three-time All-NBA team member (Third team twice, second once), six-time All Defensive, and an eight-time All-Star. The only thing that Dikembe doesn't have on his resumé is a championship.

Looking at his credentials above, Mutombo would seem like an automatic Hall of Famer, but I think it's a topic up for debate. But in my opinion, he's one of the elite defenders in NBA history. In my lifetime, I've never seen a shot-blocker like Mutombo.

Back in 1994, an image of Mutombo rolling around in heaven (a.k.a. the Seattle Coliseum floor) after shocking everyone in Seattle, as the Nuggets became the first eight-seed to knock off a one-seed. 

One of the potential reasons that Mutombo isn't considered the best big-man of his generation, and also a reason why he never got his ring, is because he's jumped around so much.

He's been a member of seven different franchises if you count the Bulls (he was traded to Chi-Town but never played), and maybe if the Sixers didn't trade him to the Nets, he could have won a title with Allen Iverson and Andre Iguodala.

This season could be Mutombo's best chance to win a championship, complete his career, and hopefully seal a spot in the Hall. Though he's now a reserve playing behind Yao Ming, Dikembe continues to keep on playing at age 42 (we think). 

If there was ever a player that stood for the saying "defense wins games, offense sells tickets", it's Mutombo. Unless you really love watching defense, you never really went to see the Nuggets, Hawks, Sixers, Nets, Knicks, or Rockets to watch Mutombo. You went to see the Marbury's and the Iverson's of the game. 

When I was nine years old, I had a locker room pass at a Sonics-Hawks game, and when the seven-foot-two Mutombo walked by, I was in shock. But who was I waiting for that night? LaPhonso Ellis...Who's autograph would be worth more today?

Mutombo paved the way for African players who wanted to get into the league, and he's really been an icon for the past 17 years. To leave him out of he Hall would be a huge disappointment.