Wednesday, 22 September 2010
A well-known humanitarian, Mutombo started the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation to improve living conditions in his native Democratic Republic of Congoin 1997.
He has twice received the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award presented annually by the Professional Basketball Writers Association. The award is named for the second commissioner of the league and honors an NBA player or coach for outstanding service and dedication to the community.
Inducted into the Worlds Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame in 2007
Dikembe Mutumbo also paid for uniforms and expenses for the Zaire women's basketball team during the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games in Atlanta
DMF's $29 million,300-bed hospital in the Congoloese capital of Kinshasa didn't start until 2004, as Mutombo had trouble getting donations early on although Mutombo personally donated $3.5 million toward the hospital's construction.
Initially Mutombo had some other difficulties, almost losing the land to the government because it was not being used and having to pay refugees who had begun farming the land to leave. He also struggled to reassure some that he did not have any ulterior or political motives for the project.
On August 14, 2006, Dikembe had donated $15 million to the completion of the hospital for its ceremonial opening on September 2, 2006. The hospital was by then named Biamba Marie Mutombo Hospital, named for his late mother, who died of a stroke in 1997.
When it opened in February 2007, the $29 million facility became the first modern medical facility to be built in that area in nearly 40 years.
His hospital is on a 12-acre (49,000 m2) site on the outskirts of Kinshasa in Masina, where about a quarter of the city's 7.5 million residents live in poverty. It is minutes from Kinshasa's airport and near a bustling open-air market.
The hospital has full telemedicine capabilities with the United States and Europe through the network established by Medical Missions for Children
In 2004, he also participated in the Basketball Without Borders NBA program, where NBA stars like Shawn Bradley, Malik Rose and DeSagana Diop toured Africa to spread the word about basketball and to improve the infrastructure