Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Who wants to Sex Mutumbo!

Hello again. I write today slightly upset, for political reasons. I was watching the President's State of the Union address last night, when he pointed out a very large African in the audience who just happens to be this writer's childhood hero.

Allow me to elaborate: When I was just a young lad, playing for the Marlboro (VT) Magic, I was not especially gifted. I did have one talent, though: I was a shot-blocker. In one game against The Austine School for the Deaf, I rang up double digit blocks. (For those of you that would chide the players of The Austine School for the Deaf, you can kiss my ass. We only beat them by one.)

I was 10 in 1994, and a big fan of Shawn Kemp, who you can bet will have his own entry when his birthday comes around (or his death, whichever comes first). Let me tell you something, I was pretty excited to see him and Payton do damage to the Nuggets in the playoffs. My young mind was not really able to concentrate on many other teams than the Knicks, Bulls, Sonics, Suns, Spurs, etc., so I didn't know a thing about the '94 Nugs.

As we now know, Mr. Mutombo was accompanied by some gangster players that year. LaPhonso Ellis had a career year, Reggie Williams was balling, Bryant Stith was, uh, a good roll player, and Robert Pack was the toughest little guy to hit the league in a while. (You don't think Robert Pack is hard? You're wrong.) Leading the team in scoring was the best non-Kareem black muslim athlete in NBA history, the most lethal scorer at LSU since Pistol Pete, tourette's-having-but-i-don't-care Mahmoud Abdul Raouf.

Despite the Nug's level of sweetness, the Sonics were exceptional. Gary Payton at point, Kendall Gill at SG, Schrempf at SF, Kemp at PF, and Smooth Sam Perkins at C. They were able to bring Ricky Pierce (historically underrated) off the bench for almost 15 ppg in 20 minutes a game (!). They had Nate McMillan playing seventh man, and he was excellent as well. What a team. To this day, I can't believe the Nuggets beat them.

But they did. Kemp got his ass kicked, for probably the first time ever. The leading scorer in the series was Detlef Schrempf, for goodness sakes. Dikembe Mutombo had 69 blocks in 12 playoff games that year and played absolutely out of his mind. He was primarily responsible for holding Shawn Kemp to 37% shooting, which was, to say the least, unexpected. (Though Shawn Kemp did cram on him a couple of times.) [Interesting Factoid: The Nuggets may have been aided in their playoff run by Mr. John Elway, who used to attend games during which he would announce Dikembe's entrance in the starting lineup. His call? "Now let's get ready to Mu-Tooooooom-Boooo!"]

Needless to say, 10 year old Jimmy V had found a hero, one who had 6 names and spoke 9 languages and waved his finger when he blocked your shot. Now it turns out he is a good guy as well, helping to build a hospital in his native Congo, overcoming malaria, and being a crusty old man who gets a lot of boards. Also, he had to take a lion's share of elbows from Shaq in that memorable Sixers-Lakers finals and got completely screwed by the refs.

I love the guy. He's tough, he doesn't complain much, he's pretty ridiculous, but it's in an endearing way (if you don't understand that, watch this).

That's why I was kind of happy when Bush pointed him out. Then he said this: "Dikembe Mutumbo grew up in Africa, amid great poverty and disease. He came to Georgetown University on a scholarship to study medicine - but Coach John Thompson got a look at Dikembe and had a different idea. Dikembe became a star in the NBA, and a citizen of the United States. But he never forgot the land of his birth - or the duty to share his blessings with others. He has built a brand new hospital in his hometown...blah blah blah he's great."

What a crock of shit. I think the imprecision of GWB's statement is best summed up by the former editor of the Sports Section in the Hoya Herald or whatever Georgetown calls their paper. He noted: "First...Dikembe came to Georgetown University to study languages - he enrolled in the School of Languages and Linguistics...Second, the arrival of a 7-2 freshman on campus may not have been a surprise to Hoya Head Coach John Thompson. Mutombo played on the Zairean junior national team in 1986 and caught the attention of U.S. development officer Herman Henning, who sent a tape of Mutumbo to Georgetown."

Let's take a look at those two facts a little more closely. Basically what I surmise from these facts is that Mutumbo knows 9 languages (though his English is terrible and they had to play some games to get him past the SAT). They are: Spanish, French, Portugese, English, and "five African dialects". Now I'm no straight-a student, but if I spoke that many languages, I don't think getting a degree in linguistics would be any sweat. (Also, he was on a USAID scholarship, not one from Georgetown for studying medicine. Foreign aid.)

[Mutombo's most notable linguistically feat is without question his now-legendary pickup line, "Who wants to sex Mutombo!" which he used to use as he entered The Tombs, the place where G-town athletes meet and greet young ladies.]

There is also more to Mutumbo's scouting. He was scouted by some hot shot, Jarryd Halberstadt, since he was a big ass kid. He went to a special Salvation Army school, played on the national team, and probably had videos of himself being sent all over the place. This was only five years after the days of Hakeem, remember, and bigass Africans would be all the rage in the NCAA until Yinka Dare ran that train off the tracks in the mid 90's.

My point is this: Dikembe Mutombo is a great guy, but I don't see why we need to turn him into the patron saint of Africa, who could have been a doctor, and all this other crap. He's just like any other African center; he's enormous, he got scouted by some money-grubbing white guy, he got sent to a school and made them a bunch of money, and now he makes his NBA teams a ton of money (well, he used to). Dikembe Mutombo is not state of the union material. He got lucky. There are more important people who should be recognized, and I think it devalues his legacy as a basketball player and a person to make up bullshit about him that makes him seem like some kind of Cookie-Monster-soundalike Renaissance Man. (Personally, I'm a lot more impressed with the first guy to actually pull this off, Mr. Hakeem the Dream. But that's just me.)

I'm sorry; I won't bore you with much more political nonsense. Instead, to offset my whining, I made up a little list of some players that Dikembe Mutumbo has injured in his career with his giant, flailing, out of control elbows. That's the kind of thing a true African badass deserves recognition for. Without adieu:

Lebron James (this picture was actually taken after a DKM elbow!)


MJ
Dennis Rodman
Chauncey Billups
Tracy McGrady
OAK!
Ray Allen
Yao "Ow!" Ming
See you all tomorrow. As always, e-mail me at dontgiveupthebasketballblog@gmail.com

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

James, let me preface by saying I didn't realize this was going to be an everyday blog. That is good news.

Your stuff is getting better and better, but reading it for me is kind of like using Wikipedia - I get sucked in. Each paragraph just sparks another idea for me, and reading the past few entries made me go off on a tangent around the internet - Wikipedia mostly. I came across a few things, and here they are:

The NBA on NBC: It ruled -- and after reading the wikipedia entry on it I came across some great youtube videos paying tribute to the NBA on NBC. Did you know that NBC broadcasted 71, 69, and 69 games in it's last 3 years of existence?
ABC? Less than 20 per year.
On to something else...
Roundball Rock -- yes that is the name of the John Tesh theme song for the NBA on NBC. We know each other pretty well, and I don't need to say any more about the significance of this song.

There is a good, old story on espn.com that I came across that you should absolutely read and comment on in an upcoming blog: http://espn.go.com/nba/playoffs2002/s/2002/0612/1394112.html
Check out the Wikipedia on "roundball rock." There is also a live version up for download on iTunes.
There is ALSO a John Tesh ring tone page with YES...Roundball Rock.

This is some sort of extended version I found online as well.

Here is the NBA on NBC tribute which aired on their last telecast.

Ok, I think that's about it for the links, but here are some topics you should focus on in future posts:

-LJ and the 4-point play
-Vernon Maxwell
-Being Shawn Kemp, starring Amare Stoudemire
-Kerry Kittles (what the hell happened to him?)
-Your love and then severe hate for Robert Horry
-NBA "In The Zone"
-Carlos Boozer and how he's much better than Kenyon Martin (I told you so)
-Old NBA VHS tapes like "Below the Rim", "NBA JAM the music videos", "NBA Super Slams 2", and obviously the Jordan collection


I think that's it for now. I'll be reading.

-Matt

Anonymous said...

James to add a link to your email follow this, just substitute < for [

[a href="mailto:dontgiveupthebasketballblog@gmail.com"]Text For Link Here[/a]

You can put text in as the link...it should look something like this:

My name is James and I like basketball, email me by clicking THIS

BUT you might want to scrap this all together as that link will take the user to their email program (outlook or something similar)...but most people don't use that shit anyway...the choice is yours.

-matt

JimmyValente said...

Matt-

I tried your link thing and it doesn't work. Any idea why?

James

Anonymous said...

The email thing? no.

Anonymous said...

I'm trying again...I'm pretty sure I did it right, it just might be some "blogger.com" thing that fucks it up. Since the column is too narrow to display all of the html text maybe you just fucked it up. I'll try again.

[a href="mailto:matthew.
goldstein@lyndonstate.edu"]
text for your link[a/]

I included spaces so the link isn't on one line -- but don't add any spaces after the initial "a href" (which is supposed to be there).

matthew.
goldstein@lyndonstate.edu

Anonymous said...

it doesn't work. fuck it.

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