A Great Defender

During the first quarter of the Houston Rockets NBA Playoff game against the Portland Trailblazers on Tuesday night, Houston center Dikembe Mutombo fell to the floor with an injured knee. After the game, Mutombo said that it was likely he would retire from pro basketball.

Whether or not Mutombo stops playing basketball, he will always be remembered as one of the sport's greatest defenders. Over the course of his 18-year career, the 42-year-old Mutombo has been an All-Star eight times and was named the NBA's Defensive Player of the Year four times. He has played in almost 1,200 games, mostly with the Denver Nuggets and the Atlanta Hawks. He also played for the Philadelphia 76'ers, the New Jersey Nets and the New York Knicks and has spent the last five years with the Houston Rockets.

Mutombo is over seven feet tall, so he is very good at blocking shots and getting rebounds. For many years, opposing players were hesitant to shoot the ball when Mutombo was nearby because he was so good at blocking shots. He has 3,289 blocked shots in his career, the second most in NBA history. He has also averaged over 10 rebounds per game.

Mutombo has never been a player who scores a lot of points. Throughout his career, he averaged just about ten points per game. But the fact that he has been an All-Star so many times shows just how good he is at playing defense. Most basketball superstars are known for their ability to score. But Mutombo demonstrated that defense is just as important as scoring points. A team can't win a game if its players don't play hard on defense. Over the last 18 years, few players played harder on defense than Mutombo. He taught young players that basketball isn't just about dunks and 3-pointers.

Besides his great defense, Mutombo is also known for helping people all over the world. He is originally from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a country in Africa. Mutombo has donated lots of money, time and effort to helping people in his home country and in many other countries. One of his biggest contributions is a large hospital that he helped build in his hometown.

Even if Mutombo never plays another game, he will always be known as one of the best defensive players in NBA history as well as a helpful and generous person.

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