Dikembe Mutombo to Have Number Retired by Denver Nuggets

The Denver Nuggets announced Monday they will retire former center Dikembe Mutombo’s No. 55 at their home opener against the Portland Trail Blazers on Oct. 29: 

Mutombo, 50, played his first five seasons in Denver after being taken fourth overall in the 1991 NBA draft. He made his first three of eight All-Star teams with the Nuggets.

The team also announced it would wear throwback jerseys in Mutombo’s honor:

The franchise previously retired the numbers of Alex English (No. 2), David Thompson (No. 33), Byron Beck (No. 40) and Dan Issel (No. 44). Denver also retired No. 432 in commemoration of former head coach Doug Moe’s regular-season victories.

Mutombo is one of seven players inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame who played for the Nuggets. Issel, Thompson and English already have their numbers retired. Neither Spencer Haywood nor Sarunas Marciulionis spent a significant amount of time with the franchise, while Allen Iverson is also unlikely to be honored for his brief Denver stint.

Mutombo was inducted into Springfield, Massachusetts, in 2015, and the Atlanta Hawks retired his No. 55 last November. He thus joins a special list of players in sports history who have had their number retired by multiple franchises. The NBA’s list includes a litany of all-time greats, highlighted by Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain and Oscar Robertson.

Shaquille O’Neal will also join the list during the 2016-17 season when the Miami Heat retire his No. 32. O’Neal previously had his number retired by the Los Angeles Lakers.

In addition to the Nuggets and Hawks, Mutombo played for the Philadelphia 76ers, New Jersey Nets, New York Knicks and Houston Rockets. He made his last All-Star team with the Sixers in 2002, which was also his final selection to an All-NBA team.

The 7-footer who was famous for his thunderous blocks and gregarious personality finished his 18-year career with averages of 9.8 points, 10.3 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per game.



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