Dikembe Mutombo Named 2018 Sager Strong Award Winner

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistMay 22, 2018

ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 12:  Global Humanitarian Award Honoree Dikembe Mutombo speaks at the Fourth Annual UNICEF Gala at The Foundry At Puritan Mill on April 12, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Marcus Ingram/Getty Images for UNICEF)
Marcus Ingram/Getty Images

NBA Hall of Famer Dikembe Mutombo has been named the second-ever recipient of the Sager Strong Award.

Turner Sports announced the decision in a statement Tuesday.   

Named for Turner Sports sideline reporter Craig Sager, who died of leukemia in 2016, the Sager Strong Award is given to an individual "who has been a trailblazer while exemplifying courage, faith, compassion and grace."

The honor will be presented at the NBA Awards on Monday, June 25 at 9 p.m. ET on TNT.

Monty Williams was named as the inaugural winner last year, creating an emotional moment during the award show with Ernie Johnson presenting a multi-colored jacket to the former player and coach:

Mutombo is another worthy recipient of the award thanks mostly to his humanitarian efforts around the world.

The 51-year-old is best known for his work on the court as an imposing center with eight All-Star selections and four Defensive Player of the Year awards. He trails only Hakeem Olajuwon for the most blocks in NBA history.

However, his efforts off the court have been notable.11

During his playing days, the Congolese superstar became the only player in history to win the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award twice, once in 2000-01 and once in 2008-09. His philanthropic efforts have continued since his retirement with the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation, which has promoted "health policy, health research and increased access to health care education for the people of the Congo."

Since 2009, he has also served as the NBA's Global Ambassador while helping grow the league worldwide.

Among his recent contributions, Mutombo donated $50,000 to relief efforts following Hurricane Harvey while helping the Democratic Republic of the Congo compete in the upcoming Special Olympics. 

This effort throughout the past three decades makes him an easy choice as this year's Sager Strong Award winner.

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