Global NBA ambassador Dikembe Mutombo was 38 by the time he joined the Houston Rockets, but he cherishes those late-career moments as much as any other.
There isn’t a more likable person in the NBA than Dikembe Mutombo. His philanthropic nature only outshined his fun-loving personality as he became one of the greatest defenders in league history. The Houston Rockets had the honor of being Mutombo’s final stop in his legendary career, which he recently discussed.
Guesting on Knuckleheads with Quentin Richardson and Darius Miles, Mutombo discussed everything from his NBA Finals appearance with the 76ers to his showdowns with Michael Jordan. Although he spent his prime years with the Denver Nuggets and Atlanta Hawks, he gave the highest of praise to the Houston Rockets, who he played with from 2004-2009.
“That was the best time,” said Mutombo. “I loved my last five years in Houston better than any place.”
Considering the career he had before joining Houston, which included an NBA Finals appearance in 2001 (PHI) and 2003 (NJ), his words about the Rockets are a bit surprising but flattering. Mutombo explained further why he had such a good time in H-Town despite being significantly older than everyone else.
“I think because I was old and surrounded with young people, it’s like a grandpa with his grandkids. It was a good time. T-Mac is a great guy, great teammate. Yao is the best. We remain friends until today. I love those guys.”
Mutombo averaged 3.2 points and 5.4 rebounds with the Houston Rockets, never averaging more than 17.2 minutes per game in his last five seasons. Even in his early 40s, Dikembe had multiple impressive rebounding games for Houston, including a 22-rebound game against his former Nuggets in March 2007.
It’s always good to hear that the city of Houston treated its former players well, and Mutombo’s lasting relationship with fellow superstars goes to show how special those teams were.