Dikembe Mutombo

How a humanitarian turned NBA All-Star is changing healthcare in his homeland of the DRC

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About Dikembe Mutombo

Coming to the USA from the DRC in 1987 to study medicine at Georgetown University, Dikembe Mutombo immediately excelled not only in his academics but also in basketball. Dikembe was an NBA superstar for 18 seasons, which culminated in his induction into the league’s coveted Hall of Fame and his appointment as the first NBA Global Ambassador. Committed to making a positive difference in the world, Dikembe leveraged his celebrity status to become a spokesman for the underserved, especially those living in the Congo and throughout Africa. In his post-NBA career, Dikembe has served as a full-time advocate and ambassador for making sure those in need have access to health care and economic opportunities. As part of that mission, he founded the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation in 1997 and opened the Biamba Marie Mutombo Hospital in Kinshasa, DRC, in 2007, serving 300,000 people in the area to date. Dikembe also serves on the board of the National Constitution Center, Special Olympics International, the CDC Foundation, and the National Board for the US Fund for UNICEF.

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About This Talk

As a child growing up in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), a nation that has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the world, Dikembe Mutombo questioned what he could do to make a difference. He dreamt of becoming a doctor to help improve health conditions in his community. The pursuit of his dream took him to the U.S. where his studies were diverted as his career as a professional NBA player soared.

With a new unique platform, Dikembe remained dedicated to humanitarian work in the DRC. Dikembe has worked to build lifesaving healthcare infrastructure, change the mentality on seeking medical care, bring awareness to women’s health, and advocate for in-country healthcare training. Watch multi-award winning CNN journalist Isha Sesay's conversation with Dikembe in his TEDMED 2018 Talk to learn more about his current efforts.

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