Mutombo is 'No. 1 Good Guy' in Sports
NEW YORK, July 17
- Philadelphia 76ers All-Star Center Dikembe Mutombo
has been named the "Number 1 Good Guy" in professional sports by the Sporting News
' annual special issue honoring sports' most giving athletes, out on the news stands this week. In addition, with 29 athletes honored, the NBA led all sports leagues in number of selections to the list.
Dikembe Mutombo is a favorite among fans, both young and old.
Mutombo, a native of the Congo, was chosen as the publication's cover story because he has "has donated millions of dollars, hours of time and all of his heart" to helping others. The issue includes a two-part profile on Mutombo and his quest to build a hospital in his homeland and help rebuild the "almost nonexistent health care system in his suffering country, where an estimated 3 million people have died over the last three years from war and preventable illnesses."
"Dikembe Mutombo is a man of intelligence, dignity and persistence who has received our country's highest honor for volunteer service," said John Rawlings, editor of The Sporting News. "He stands tall not only on the court, but as symbol of 'giving back' for all professional athletes who compete in the US."
Mutombo has donated $3 million toward construction of a $44 million hospital, which is set to break ground in the Congo in September. He has also donated $250,000 worth of medical supplies and 40 beds to existing hospitals in the Congo. Earlier this year, Mutombo was named the 2001 J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award, presented by the Professional Basketball Writers Association, which honors exemplary community service. In addition, he has been honored by the NAACP, ABC, and Tulsa Rotary Club for his efforts in the community, received the President's Service Award, the highest civilian award for volunteer service, served as an international spokesman for CARE and was the first Youth Emissary for the United National Development Program. He and his wife Rose have two children and have adopted four.
While Mutombo received Sporting News' overall top billing, fellow All-Star center Vlade Divac of the Sacramento Kings was named the "No. 1 NBA Good Guy" for his extensive outreach in the former Yugoslavia. Each month Divac's Group 7 foundation helps bring relief and medial supplies to thousands of people in the former Yugoslavia. Most recently, Divac led a group of nine NBA players from the former Yugoslavia in a historic NBA/United Nations basketball camp -- "Basketball without Borders" -- this summer in Treviso, Italy. The effort promoted basketball as a common language for global peace, friendship and sportsmanship and brought together top basketball players ages 12-14 from Bosnia, Croatia, Macedonia, Slovenia and Yugoslavia for a three-day basketball camp.
Other NBA players making the Sporting News list include: Stephon Marbury, Ray Allen, John Amaechi, Darrell Armstrong, P.J. Brown, Chris Dudley, Tim Duncan, Michael Finley, Brian Grant, Grant Hill, Allan Houston, Juwan Howard, Larry Hughes, Mark Jackson, George Lynch, Alonzo Mourning, Gary Payton, David Robinson, Glenn Robinson, Steve Smith, Damon Stoudamire, Nick Van Exel, Antoine Walker, Chris Webber, and Jerome Williams.
The Sporting News has been publishing the annual special issue since 1999. David Robinson of the San Antonio Spurs was the inaugural recipient of the "Good Guys" award.
The NBA, its teams and players are committed to programs that improve the quality of life for all people and has created and implemented programs that address important social issues, with a special emphasis on reading and on-line literacy initiatives for children through its national Read to Achieve program. The NBA and its 29 teams continue to make a difference in North America through donations to charities and the implementation of community outreach initiatives, and through the production and airing of public service announcements.