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Friday December 14, 2007 5:39 PM

Tux & Tennies to benefit Dikembe Mutombo Foundation

The 13th annual charity gala will be held on March 27 at Toyota Center














The Rockets are providing Dikembe Mutombo with an assist.

Rockets owner Leslie Alexander revealed Friday that the proceeds from the team’s 2008 Tux & Tennies Charity Gala for the Clutch City Foundation will benefit the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation. The 13th annual gala will be held on Thursday, March 27 at Toyota Center.

The event will be co-chaired by Paul and Penny Loyd as well as Rockets player Dikembe Mutombo and his wife, Rose.

"Dikembe's relentless work in his homeland is deeply inspirational to everyone familiar with his story," said Alexander. "Two years ago, we raised $400,000 to help Dikembe realize his dream of opening a hospital to help serve the people of the Congo. Now that the hospital is open, we hope to raise even more funds for the future expansion of this great facility he has built. We are excited to help Dikembe achieve this next stage of his life’s dream."

The 2008 Tux & Tennies Gala will celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Motown and its legendary entertainers. Guests will be treated to an evening of nostalgia and fun while listening to Motown music and decked out in elegant formal wear and tennis shoes. Other highlights of the evening will include one-of-a-kind live auction items, an exclusive silent auction featuring an assortment of rare autographed sports memorabilia and photo opportunities with Rockets players.

Mutombo joined the Rockets in 2004 and has been widely recognized for his charitable involvement with local, national and international causes. He is a four-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year and 17-year NBA veteran.

He created the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation in 1997 with a mission to improve the health, education and quality of life for the people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. A major project of the foundation has been the construction of the new 300 bed hospital in the capital city of Kinshasa.

"The opening of the hospital was a day I will treasure for the rest of my life," said Mutombo. "It has already started to make a difference in the lives of many people in the Congo. The Houston Rockets' decision to name the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation as beneficiary of its 2008 Tux & Tennies Gala will have a long-lasting impact on the present population of Central Africa and will continue to help improve the quality of life for many generations to come."

Groundbreaking for the hospital was held in September 2001 and in July 2007 Mutombo saw his long-awaited dream become a reality at the dedication ceremony for the opening of the Biamba Marie Mutombo hospital, named in memory of his beloved mother. The official opening of the hospital took place in December 2007 in conjunction with World AIDS Day. The second phase of the project, the women’s and children’s pavillian is projected to open in 2008.

The Clutch City Foundation was established in 1995 by Rockets owner Leslie Alexander to provide help, hope and inspiration to those who might otherwise be forgotten. Since it’s inception, the Clutch City Foundation has raised more than $8 million for those who are less fortunate. Tux & Tennies is the foundation’s premier fundraiser, and over the years has helped thousands of Houstonians in need.

A limited number of tables and individual tickets can be purchased for the Clutch City Foundation Tux & Tennies Charity Gala. For more information, call 713-758-7302.