Today in Sports History: April 21

In 1996, Denver Nuggets center Dikembe Mutombo became the first player to lead the NBA in blocks for three straight seasons (blocks became an official statistic in 1973-74) after rejecting 332 shots in 74 games for a 4.49 bpg average. The 4th pick in the 1991 NBA Draft, Mutombo is regarded as one of the greatest shot blockers and defensive players of all time. An 8x NBA All-Star, Mutombo has won the NBA Defensive Player of the Year a record four times. In his 18 season career, Mutombo blocked 3,289 total shots and ranks no. 2 on the NBA All-Time Blocks Leaders List. Mutombo’s other NBA accolades include 3x All-NBA Team selections, 6x NBA All-Defensive Team selections, and 2x NBA rebounding leader. Mutombo was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2015 and his no. 55 jersey is retired by both the Atlanta Hawks and Denver Nuggets. Initially, Mutombo never had plans to play in the NBA. He attended Georgetown University on a USAID scholarship with intentions to become a doctor. However, standing at an impressive 7’2 it didn’t take long for Georgetown Hoyas basketball coach John Thompson to recruit the promising athlete. Pretty quickly, it became apparent that Mutombo’s natural athleticism and shot blocking ability would take him to the NBA. In college Mutombo once blocked 12 shots in a game and he was named twice as the Big East Defensive Player of the Year in 1990 and 1991.

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