Served as envoy
- 2007 – Democratic Republic of Congo
- 2011 – South Sudan
Dikembe Mutombo hails from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In 1987, Mutombo was the recipient of a USAID scholarship to attend Georgetown University, and he soon excelled both academically and in basketball. In the 1991 NBA draft, the Denver Nuggets drafted Mutombo with the fourth overall pick. The Nuggets ranked last in the NBA in opponent points-per-game and defensive rating and Mutombo’s shot-blocking ability made an immediate impression across the league.
As a rookie, Mutombo was selected for the All-Star team and averaged 16.6 points, 12.3 rebounds, and nearly three blocks per game. Over his career, he averaged 2.8 blocks and 10.3 rebounds per game. He is second all-time in registered blocks, behind only Hakeem Olajuwon, and is the 20th most prolific rebounder ever. He was also an eight-time All-Star and was elected into three All-NBA and six All-Defensive Teams.
A well-known humanitarian, Mutombo started the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation to improve living conditions in his native Democratic Republic of Congo in 1997. His efforts earned him the NBA’s J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award in 2001 and 2009. For his feats, Sporting News named him as one of the “Good Guys in Sports” in 1999 and 2000. In 1999, he was elected as one of 20 winners of the President’s Service Awards, the nation’s highest honor for volunteer service.
In 2004, he participated in the Basketball Without Borders NBA program, where NBA stars toured Africa to spread the word about basketball and to improve the infrastructure. He paid for uniforms and expenses for the Zaire women’s basketball team during the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games in Atlanta. Mutombo is also a spokesman for the international relief agency, CARE and is the first Youth Emissary for the United Nations Development Program.