Mutombo
You watch the games, you see the scores, but how do you really know what's going on in NBA Playoffs 2004? NBA.com has infiltrated the action with the ultimate insiders -- the players themselves. We're giving you an exclusive look at the postseason with a roster of player mailboxes.

New York's Dikembe Mutombo continues to rank among the NBA league leaders in blocked shots. Send Dikembe a question via e-mail and we'll post his answers to the best questions at least once for each round of the Playoffs the Knicks reach.

Mutombo answered your first round of questions on Wednesday, April 21:

Q: Hey Dikembe, just wanted to express my admiration for your consistent, strong play over the past ten years and ask you how you've changed as a player and person since your first playoff appearance for the Nuggets a decade ago.
-- Blake (Brisbane, Australia)

Mutombo: When we first went to the playoffs in Denver it was a first time experience and such an upset for all of us. It remains one of my favorite memories of all time. As you grow and as you play in other places, Atlanta, Philly, New Jersey and now in New York, you learn to adapt to the system, play to your strengths, and most importantly, help your teammates improve.

Q: How does it feel to return to the playoffs to compete against your former team in the 1st round?
-- Ryan (Union, N.J.)

Mutombo: Being in the playoffs is what we work for, and playing the Nets is OK. I enjoyed the people while I was there.

Q: How can the Knicks overcome so many injuries (Tim Thomas, Allan Houston) to beat the Nets? Do you think that some major changes are needed? Or just focus and hard work?
-- Igor (New York, N.Y.)

Mutombo: I do not worry about change. I think we have a solid group of guys that has already overcome a lot and will continue to work hard. We take a great amount of pride in being Knicks.

Q: Heart and determination fuel my love for the NBA. As a dominant veteran NBA player, how have you been able to stay so passionate with the game of basketball?
-- SMC (San Antonio, Texas)

Mutombo: The game of basketball has given me opportunities not only for myself and my family, but for me to help so many others around the world. It is what I love doing, and I hope to continue to do so for a few more years.

Q: Mutombo, I would like to know if you ever were a soccer play, and what made you choose basketball. Also, what are your plans when basketball is over?
-- LaRome (Dallas, Tex.)

Mutombo: We all played soccer growing up but I was intrigued by basketball. It gave me an opportunity to come to this country, attend a prestigious university and has given my opportunities beyond my wildest dreams. After my playing days are over I look forward to spending more time with my family and devoting more time to my foundation, with the goal of completing a hospital in my country.

Q: Is it hard to play with new players that get traded to the team during the regular season? Does it affect the way everybody on the team plays or do they fit right in? Good luck in the playoffs!
-- Shaun (Los Angeles, Calif.)

Mutombo: Changes are always difficult, especially after the season starts. I think this group has responded to all the changes very well, and I look forward to next season when we can be together from the start.

Q: You've played with two of today's great guards in Stephon Marbury and Allen Iverson -- how are they different?
-- Holdren (New York, N.Y.)

Mutombo: It is not fair to really compare them, since they have different styles. I will say that they are both very talented, work very hard and know how to lead teams in their own way.