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    Michael Jordan and Dikembe Mutombo’s Friendly Rivalry

    Dikembe Mutombo

    Basketball   |   May 18, 2022


    Dikembe Mutombo enjoyed an 18-year Hall of Fame career as one of the top defensive centers in NBA history. Mutombo won an NBA-record four Defensive Player of the Year awards (tied with Ben Wallace), and his popular finger wag his one of the most recognizable symbols in NBA history.

    Mutombo, who is second all-time with 3,289 blocked shots, trailing only Hakeem Olajuwon, never backed down from a challenge. MJ and Mutombo squared off 18 times in the regular season and once in the playoffs. Jordan’s teams went 12–6 in those games.

    25 years ago, today (May 13) Michael Jordan finally put Dikembe Mutombo on a poster and then gave him the finger wag!

    Earlier in the season, they had this conversation about Jordan never dunking on Mutombo in six years

    “This one’s for you, baby.”



    In 1991, Michael Jordan trolled a rookie Dikembe Mutombo by shooting a free-throw with his eyes closed. MJ finished with 37 PTS (7-7 FT).

    Besides posterizing him and trolling him by shooting free-throws with his eyes closed, MJ also pulled Mutombo’s pants down at an NBA All-Star game.

    Mutombo said on the Basketball Time Machine podcast recently that Jordan made him laugh.

    “Everybody was looking to play against Michael Jordan. That’s the reason why the day we played the Chicago Bulls (in 1993), I think I had like by 29 points and then 22 rebounds because you can see the excitement after what’s going on with me, and we end up beating them, which was great.

    “I think those are the games that gave me a chance also to elevate myself as an All-Star. But Michael was as funny as he was always and pleasing his friends by closing his eyes and shooting free throws. I was like, ‘What is this guy doing, what the heck?’”

    Since retiring in 2009, Dikembe Mutombo has worked tirelessly with his Mutombo Foundation and he has brought modern medical facilities to his native Republic of Congo.

    In 2018, the NBA recognized his work with the Sager Strong Award for humanitarian work.



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