Dikembe Mutombo Mpolondo Mukamba Jean-Jacques Wamutombo

Dikembe during his Houston Rockets days doing his legendary finger wag, which he would do after blocking an opponent’s shot, just to remind them who’s boss!

I almost pulled an Arto and neglected to write today’s post because I was so caught up in the delightfully quirky (and simple) web-based video game Dikembe Mutombo’s 4 1/2 Weeks to Save the World (presented by Old Spice) when I suddenly remembered the full name of one of my favorite basketball players growing up:

Dikembe Mutombo Mplonodo Mukamba Jean-Jacques Wamutombo

The 7’2″ center’s wingspan was even longer than his name, and he used his long arms to block more shots than anyone in history except for fellow African big man Hakeem “The Dream” Olajuwon. He had an impressive career that spanned 18 seasons, and he was the league’s oldest player upon his retirement in 2009.  He is currently ranked #63 among all-time NBA greats, according to the user-generated real-time Elo ranking system.

But as much as Dikembe was a giant on the court and as much as his name is responsible for lengthening DMV lines throughout the U.S., Dikembe Mutombo’s greatest contributions are likely his humanitarian work.

Dikembe Mutombo, doing his patented “Oh my, I’m taller than everyone!” pose at the 2007 State of the Union Address. I feel sorry for the spectators sitting behind him.

Originally brought to Georgetown University on a USAID scholarship, Mutombo was persuaded to play basketball by the legendary John Thompson. Mutombo originally wanted to be a doctor, and during his time at Georgetown, he served as a summer Congressional intern and graduated with dual degrees in linguistics and diplomacy. His linguistics degree makes sense, given the NINE languages he is known to speak – including English, French, Spanish, Portuguese and five African languages.

After winning the second of his record four NBA Defensive Player of the Year awards, Mutombo formed the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation, and has done pretty much everything: fighting polio, building a $29 million hospital that he named after his mother, helping visually impaired children in Washington, D.C, being a spokesperson for the Special Olympics and the first youth emissary for the UN’s Development program, and being mentioned by the President during the 2007 State of the Union address.

Barack Obama may claim to be the first “skinny kid with a funny name” to deliver a SOTU address, but Dikembe Mutombo Mpolondo Mukamba Jean-Jacques Wamutombo was probably the first to be honored during such an address.

Yet despite all these tremendous accomplishments, Dikembe may best be remembered for two things:

  1. His legendary “finger wag
  2. Saving the world, due to the fact that he provided his distinctive voice and likeness to Old Spice in a quirky little game where Dikembe actually saves the world. The funny thing is, with all his humanitarian achievements, it doesn’t seem too far from the truth.
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About Dave

Based out of San Diego, California. Co-founder of the Blog of Funny Names. funnynamesblog.wordpress.com
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10 Responses to Dikembe Mutombo Mpolondo Mukamba Jean-Jacques Wamutombo

  1. Liz says:

    That game is awesome! (though I never figured out what I (as Dikembe) was supposed to do:-() What a tall tall man.

    • Dave says:

      Haha, it took a while for me too. In the first level, you’re supposed to throw ballots to the people on the sides (space bar, I think… you move with the arrows) while avoiding the strip malls, home improvement centers, and disco balls. You get 50 of them and you have a delightful monologue with Ohio, and then get to throw ballots at it.

      Then in the second level, you try to kill as many blorgys as you can (by jumping on them, or by dropping down to the lower level conveyor belts while they’re on them) without doing so in front of the kids, collecting Old Spice to replenish any lost lives. Then you have an excellent showdown with the jet-powered master blorgy, who you must kill with an array of Hostess treats, and then you get a fun little conversation with Science the Bear and the turkey about friendship and food.

      Any game I can describe that way is positively delightful! Can’t wait til December 3 to see the next installment in that game!

      • Liz says:

        Your instructions left me lol–what a wonderful take on recent and current events. Will have another go at it to see if I can throw ballots to the right folk, etc. I look forward to that conversation with Science (who is indeed fashion forward) and those delish Hostess treats (an array you say? have always like zingers so hope they are offered). Too funny and wonderful. Thanks for putting me on this path:-) Keep on keeping on my extremely intelligent and literate friend!

  2. amb says:

    I’m with Liz – this cracked me up. And here I thought Plants vs. Zombies was delightful! I love that lost lives get replenished with Old Spice – too funny!

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