Hall of Famer Dikembe Mutombo treated for brain tumor

Yukihito Taguchi-USA TODAY Sports

Basketball Hall of Famer Dikembe Mutombo is being treated for a brain tumor, the NBA confirmed Saturday.

“He is receiving the best care possible from a collaborative team of specialists in Atlanta and is in great spirits as he begins treatment,” the league said in a statement. “Dikembe and his family ask for privacy during this time so they can focus on his care. They are grateful for your prayers and good wishes.”

Mutombo, 56, was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2015 following an 18-year NBA career with six teams.

The eight-time All-Star and four-time Defensive Player of the Year led the league in blocked shots per game three times in his first five seasons and in rebounds per game twice.

Known for his playful finger wag after blocking a shot, the 7-foot-2 Mutombo ranks No. 2 in NBA history with 3,289 rejections behind only Hakeem Olajuwon with 3,830.

Drafted No. 4 overall out of Georgetown by Denver in 1991, Mutombo averaged 9.8 points, 10.3 rebounds and 2.8 blocks in 1,196 games (997 starts) for the Nuggets (1991-96), Atlanta Hawks (1996-2001), Philadelphia 76ers (2001-02), New Jersey Nets (2002-03), New York Knicks (2003-04) and Houston Rockets (2004-09).

The Hawks released a statement Saturday.

“The Atlanta Hawks organization extends best wishes to Dikembe Mutombo for a full recovery as he begins treatment for a brain tumor,” Hawks owner Tony Ressler said. “We know he will approach this challenge with the same determination and grit that have made him a legend on and off the court. Our thoughts, prayers and support are with Dikembe, Rose and their entire family.”

Off the court, Mutombo is respected for his humanitarian efforts in his native Democratic Republic of Congo. He won the NBA’s J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award in 2001 and 2009.

–Field Level Media

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