When I am on the treadmill, I like to watch TV. Since we don’t have cable at home, it is the only chance I get to watch TV. I was watching something on the Food Network, and it went to commercial. Yes, I watch the Food Network to help keep me motivated. On the show I was watching, they talked about chocolate, fried foods, and hamburgers. It makes me hungry, but it helps keep me motivated. They went to commercial, and while I wasn’t paying much attention to that, I noticed a basketball player blocking everything in sight. Not blocking a basketball, but blocking paper and laundry and even a box of cereal in a grocery store. It was pretty funny, actually.
I couldn’t help but laugh. I recognized the guy swatting everything in sight, too. It was Dikembe Mutombo. For some reason, I actually thought he had passed away. Guess not. But because my curiosity was peeked, I went to Wikipedia to learn more about him. I remember watching him play growing up, and remember him playing for the Atlanta Hawks. He played for more than the Hawk, having played for the Denver Nuggets, the Atlanta Hawks, the Philadelphia 76ers, the New Jersey Nets, the New York Knicks and ended his career with the Houston Rockets. He started playing back in 1991, and retired in 2009. That is a long career for a basketball player. Speaking of long, HE is long. Dikembe is 7’2″. He’s pretty much a giant, even for the NBA!
It was fun thinking back and remembering a time when I actually liked watching sports on TV. I used to collect baseball and basketball cards, and would obsess over tracking stats and following my favorite players. In baseball, I was obsessed with Rickey Henderson. I liked him so much I started to collect his memorabilia and got mad at my parents for not spelling my name that way. Then I got hooked on Shaq, and while I didn’t collect his memorabilia, I went to see him play a few times. Then came Tiger Woods, and the rest is history.
Having said ALL of that, what inspired this blog post wasn’t the commercial, but Dikembe’s name. We all know him as Dikembe Mutombo, but his real name… are you read for this? His real name is Dikembe Mutombo Mpolondo Mukamba Jean-Jacques Wamutombo. Imagine trying to fit that on a driver’s license. Say that five times real fast… Dikembe Mutombo Mpolondo Mukamba Jean-Jacques Wamutombo, Dikembe Mutombo Mpolondo Mukamba Jean-Jacques Wamutombo, Dikembe Mutombo Mpolondo Mukamba Jean-Jacques Wamutombo, Dikembe Mutombo Mpolondo Mukamba Jean-Jacques Wamutombo, Dikembe Mutombo Mpolondo Mukamba Jean-Jacques Wamutombo. I am not even sure I can pronounce half those words! I bet that is a common name in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He is from the Congo? Man, Congo takes me back, too. The book and the movie… I am just spinning right now.
I am glad that he is still alive, is making commercials, and was able to inspire this blog post. I am not going to start watching basketball again, but it was fun learning more about him and trying to pronounce his name. “Not in my house!”