Instead of wagging his finger and saying “no” in front a defender’s face, former NBA center Dikembe Mutombo was nodding his head in appreciation Tuesday.
The Atlanta Hawks have announced that they will retire Mutombo’s No. 55 jersey with a ceremony that will be held during a game against the Boston Celtics on November 24, 2015. Spending five seasons in Atlanta from 1996 to 2001, Mutombo ranks ninth in franchise history in offensive rebounds (1,228), seventh in defensive rebounds (3,093) and third in blocked shots (1,094).
— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) September 1, 2015
Hawks’ CEO Steve Koonin made the announcement Tuesday in Fulmer County while honoring the legendary shot blocker. Mutombo’s No.55 will be the fifth number retired by the franchise and will join No. 9, No. 21, No. 23 and No. 40.
Drafted fourth overall by the Denver Nuggets in the 1991 NBA Draft out of Georgetown University, Mutombo spent his first five professional seasons in Denver before heading to Atlanta prior to the 1996-1997 season. Playing 18 NBA seasons, Mutumbo averaged 9.8 points, 10.3 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per game before retiring in 2009.
The retirement ceremony at the Philips Arena will come two months after Mutombo’s induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame alongside Spencer Haywood, Jo Jo White, Lisa Leslie, Dick Bavetta, John Calipari, Louis Dampier, John Isaacs, Lindsay Gaze, Tom Heinsohn and George Raveling.