Remembering When Dikembe Mutombo Was a Scorer & All-Star As A Rookie
In the animated video ‘The House of Mutombo,’ it tells the story of the one of the most well liked basketball players and arguably the best shot blocking player of all-time — Dikembe Mutombo Mpolondo Mukamba Jean-Jacques Wamutombo!
What the story doesn’t tell, that I like to tell, is how dominant Deke was during his rookie season. I believe he could have easily been a 20 and 10 player in the league if he and his teams wanted him to be. Why? Because Deke averaged a career high 16.6 points a game during his rookie season and was actually a NBA All-Star that year even though he didn’t win the rookie of the year award, which ended going to #1 pick Larry Johnson.
So what happened during the 2nd half of the season and why was Deke scoring so much in the first half? The scoring controversy around Deke was that Coach Paul Westhead put too much on Deke’s shoulder.
“He rode the guy all season and wore him out,” said one Western Conference GM back in 92 “But with that team, he didn’t have much choice.”
17 points a game didn’t sound like a threat to MJ or Nique, but if you think about the Deke that you know and try to recall how many times you have seen him score 20 points in a game, and then think about the fact that he had 27 and 17 in his 2nd NBA game, followed by a 21 and 13 in his 3rd, and in the first month of his rookie year he had 8 20/10 games, you have to think that he could have easily of put up Zo type numbers. Before the All-Star break, Deke continued to put up games in the high 20s and on February 3rd he put up a monster 39 point 21 rebound game against the Timberwolves.
He wasn’t too shabby on the defensive end either with an average of 3 blocks a game. Surprisingly, the one game where Deke blocked 10 shots during his rookie campaign he failed to grab 10 boards. He would have to wait until his 2nd season to pick up his 1st triple double and that triple double came in the form of a 21 point 16 rebound 10 block performance.
Although I would loved to have seen more of that young scoring Mutombo who made an appearance on the Arsenio Hall show, I can’t complain about the career he had which included 4 defensive of the year awards, 8 all-star games and a future appearance in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.
MAN DOES NOT FLY IN THE HOUSE OF MUTOMBO
But he learned in his rookie All-Star game that man can fly in the House of Mutombo.
Here’s a few other who also took flight in the house.
Bonus Video: 29/22 against MJ and the Bulls in 93.
HOUSE OF MUTOMBO
Illustrated by Nathan McKee
Animation by Jamal Qutub, and music from PJ Portlock