Few players have been as impactful defensively as Dikembe Mutombo, the 7-foot-2 former Atlanta Hawks and Denver Nuggets center. Now retired and a 2015 inductee into the Basketball Hall of Fame, Mutombo has been impactful in other ways.
He was a driving force behind the NBA Africa Game in July, and the native of the Democratic Republic of Congo remains heavily involved in efforts to bring the game to his home continent. “If you look at the contribution of the game to the continent, the change it brought to the youth on the continent, they know that it doesn’t matter where I come from, where I live, where I go to school: I can become like Hakeem Olajuwon or Dikembe Mutombo.
I can come back and change this continent. I think it was a great lift. I think we inspired some young people. I’m glad the NBA is bringing it back next year. But I’m not playing next year”. Don’t just study the game you are playing. Study the game you played yesterday, and the one you will play tomorrow. You have to look at the things you want to improve if you want to learn the ability.
To block shots and rebound, you have to spend time watching the great shot blockers and the great rebounders. You have to watch their videos and watch some of their games and see what kind of ability they have to move up there.
Try and find time to see if you can meet them and talk to them. What did they do to prepare themselves before the game physically, and all of that mental training. But so many young players today, they don’t want to talk to the retired player. I spent time in Africa with more than 20 guys. The best thing I got was “Hi (Dikembe), how are you doing?” It was nothing to do with the game of basketball.