Mutombo ranks as the most generous athlete in the world
A recent article on FOXSports.com named Houston center Dikembe Mutombo the most generous athlete in the world. The list included the names Armstrong, Jeter, and Woods, but it was the 39-year old Mutombo who topped the ten-athlete list largely based on his donation of nearly 15 million dollars to spur the building of a hospital in his native Congo.
“It is a nice feeling to know that others recognize the work that we are doing for the people of my hometown in Kinshasa,” Mutombo said. “But for me, the real reward will be the day I walk into this new building and see people receiving the vital care that they need. For me, that will be a great feeling. Kinshasa lives inside of me and I have made it my purpose to help ensure that the children of the Congo will have access to the same types of medical facilities that are common in many other parts of the world. When you are born in such poverty, where you go in your life, whether you become the president or the CEO of a company, you never forget where you come from."
Hospital construction began in 2001 and is now 75 percent complete. Mutombo hopes to raise $2 million this year to assure completion of the hospital that will bear his mother’s name, Biamba Marie Mutombo.
Mutombo is one of many athletes whose charitable donations sometimes go unnoticed. He believes that it is his duty to give back to those less fortunate, and what better way than to help those closest to you in your hometown?
“I have been blessed to have the opportunity to make a good living playing the game of basketball and I feel it is my duty to help give back to those who were less fortunate,” Mutombo said. "I believe there are many other athletes that feel like I do and I think it is great that they are beginning to receive credit for their efforts. There is a proverb in Africa: When you take the elevator to go up, you always must remember to send it back down. This is my way of sending it back down.”
"There is a proverb in Africa: When you take the elevator to go up, you always must remember to send it back down. This is my way of sending it back down.”
Certainly his efforts with the hospital would be enough to warrant an honor such as the world’s most generous athlete, but that is not all Mutombo has done. He’s donated equipment, insured education, and recently donated $150,000 to help underprivileged children in South Africa. The NBA has previously recognized Mutombo with the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award in 2001 for his countless efforts. For more information on the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation, please visit www.dmf.org.