NBA Hall of Famer Dikembe Mutombo discusses becoming one of the greatest defensive players of all time, his dedication to improving the lives of people in his native Congo and the importance of inspiring other athletes to give back.
On why he started the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation: “I just got sick and tired of seeing people dying at a young age in Africa. I [was] always trying to figure out what I wanted to do in life beside playing the game of basketball. I had a dream to become a doctor. It didn’t work out. The game of basketball took my dream away, but I searched my soul a lot trying to figure out what I wanted to do. After my mom’s death, I realized that maybe building a hospital would be a great thing…. We have [now] treated almost more than half a million people in the last ten years. It’s [been] a great success.”
On empowering other players to give back: “It’s amazing to see how players are following [in] my footsteps…. At the beginning, it didn’t happen… but this new generation that came in, a lot of them want to become like Dikembe Mutombo. They want to have an impact on society where people will remember their contribution to humanity.”