NBA's Statesman Mutombo Retires

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 23, 2009 10:35 PM CDT
Houston Rockets' Dikembe Mutombo talks about his retirement from basketball during a press conference Thursday.   (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)
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(Newser) – Dikembe Mutombo officially called it quits today after an 18-year NBA career. "I had a wonderful, wonderful ride," said the eight-time All-Star, injured in Tuesday's game. Tomorrow, fittingly, he receives yet another award for humanitarian service. The 42-year-old has long been involved in efforts for his native Congo, most notably by leading efforts to build a hospital there and personally donating nearly $20 million, the Houston Chronicle reports.

Mutombo won the nation's highest honor for volunteer service in 1999, was inducted into the World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame in 2007, and even earned a mention in George Bush's 2007 State of the Union. “I’ve been in a positive mode for the last couple of days,” Mutombo said. “Maybe I think I cried enough when I was on the floor. I cried again when I got in the training room, and when the doctor tried to talk to me. But right now, I think I have to be happy.”