Dikembe Mutombo is an NBA legend. The 7 ft 2 in (2.18 m), 260-pound (120 kg) center, who began his career with the Georgetown Hoyas, is commonly regarded as one of the greatest shot blockers and defensive players of all time, winning the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award four times; he was also an eight-time All-Star. On January 10, 2007, he surpassed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the second most prolific shot blocker in NBA history, behind only Hakeem Olajuwon, and he averaged a double-double for most of his career. At the conclusion of the 2009 NBA playoffs, Mutombo announced his retirement. On September 11, 2015, he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

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, and 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 like Shawn Bradley, Malik Rose and DeSagana Diop 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 a spokesman for the international relief agency, CARE and is the first Youth Emissary for the United Nations Development Program.