Dikembe Mutombo was one of the greatest shot-blockers in NBA history, he has a number of individual awards to his credit, had a great pair of shoes named after him that I had a pair of growing up and had one of the best post-block celebrations I’ve ever seen. One thing that players knew when playing against Deke was that it wasn’t going to be easy getting points in the paint. Unfortunately towards the end of his career he was not able to stay healthy and keep himself on the court. Then to see him go down the way that he did in the playoffs a year ago and see his career end that way with such a devastating injury was just very tough to watch.
Dikembe Mutombo joined KILT in Houston to talk about the Rockets this season, the rehab that he is going through after his career-ending injury, and the injury to Yao Ming.
On the Rockets this season:
“Tell you what. Since the preseason started, I have not gotten a chance to see the roster, to see how the team is playing because I’ve been so busy with all the activities. I’m willing to follow them up when the season starts. It’s not going to be an easy one. It’s going to be a good test for the Rockets to try and see how they can come out after the big loss of the big man Yao Ming and with the departure and the retirement of Dikembe Mutombo, myself.”
On the rehab he’s going through following his career-ending injury:
“It’s not easy man. A lot of work. It takes a lot of dedication going to the gym, working out, spending more than an hour on the bike everyday. It’s not easy but I’m trying my best. I just want to be able to walk.”
On the injury to Yao Ming and what he’s going through:
“Yao is a good friend of mine, he’s like a brother to me. It’s very sad to see what he’s going through. To see the fact that he got re-injured again, it was not easy. It was not an easy thing for me to take. Myself, I thought by me going down, maybe Yao was able to carry the team all the way to the Championship. Unfortunately he couldn’t do it because he aggravated his foot again. Right now, as we are talking, he is trying to do his best with the therapy. We have to wish him luck. It’s going to take a while. People just have to be a little bit patient with him. Nobody really has an answer on how long it will take for the bones to heal correctly. We don’t want to push him out there and then we start questioning when is he going to play, when is he going to play a full season. I would like to see him get well, then return to the game of basketball (rather) than go out there and get hurt. I think that’s something we saw with T-Mac (Tracy McGrady) last year.”
(This post was written by Chris Fedor of WKNR in Cleveland)