It's happening - Dikembe Mutombo will forever be enshrined in Denver Nuggets lore after team president Josh Kroenke announced Tuesday that the team will be officially retiring his number. The ceremony will take place at halftime on opening night at the Pepsi Center when the Nuggets take on the Portland Trail Blazers on October 29.
Mutombo was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in September 2015 and will become the fifth player and sixth representative in team history to have his number enshrined in the rafters. He joins fellow Nuggets greats Byron Beck (#40), Alex English (#2), Dan Issel (#44), David Thompson (#33) and Doug Moe, who coached the team to a franchise-record 432 wins. This will mark the first time that the Nuggets have retired a player’s number at Pepsi Center.
Drafted fourth overall by Denver in the 1991 NBA Draft, Mutombo played for the Nuggets from 1991 to 1996, compiling averages of 12.9 points, 12.3 rebounds and 3.81 blocks in 391 total games. As a member of the Nuggets, Mutombo was a three-time NBA All-Star (‘92, ’95 and ’96), three-time NBA blocked shots leader (‘93-94, ’94-95, ’95-96), named Defensive Player of the Year in ‘94-95 and was instrumental in helping the Nuggets become the first eighth-seeded team to defeat a number one seed in NBA Playoff history. Mutombo still remains the Nuggets all-time leader in blocked shots (1,486) and career rebounding average (12.3 per game) while ranking third in rebounds (4,811) and 19th in points (5,054).
In addition to his on-court accolades, Mutombo’s humanitarian efforts shine even brighter. He created the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation in 1997, opened the Biamba Marie Mutombo Hospital in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2007 and has been one of the leaders of the Basketball Without Borders program in Africa for over 15 years. Former NBA Commissioner David Stern appointed Mutombo to the role of Global Ambassador in 2009.
As part of the jersey retirement ceremony, the Nuggets will be wearing throwback rainbow skyline jerseys for the home opener:
Mt. Mutombo's efforts and accolades both on and off the court certainly make him deserving of this honor. He will always be as a fan favorite and one of the most iconic players to ever wear a Nuggets uniform, and will be most remembered for his role in helping the Nuggets become the first #8 seed to defeat a #1 seed in the playoffs in 1994.
Congratulations, Dikembe! Nuggets Nation loves you and is excited to honor you at this ceremony!