Tuesday, June 18, 2019 -
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Former Nugget opens Jerusalem sports center

Dikembe Mutombo in Jerusalem (Dana Bar Siman Tov)

Dikembe Mutombo in Jerusalem (Dana Bar Siman Tov)

Former Denver Nugget Dikembe Mutombo was on hand for the Nov. 27 opening of a new sports center at the Jerusalem YMCA.

The Sylvan Adams Sports Center of the Jerusalem International YMCA will serve the entire population of Jerusalem — from East to West, people of all ages and faiths.

Mutombo, an NBA Global Ambassador and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer, also tipped-off the new Jr. NBA Jerusalem International YMCA League and hosted a Jr. NBA youth basketball clinic.

The new Jr. league will bring together 450 youth, ages 11-13, from Christian, Jewish, Muslim and other communities in an after-school basketball league.

It will see the youth compete on 30 teams, each representing an NBA team, and will include basketball instruction, competitive play and life skills programming focused on cultural understanding, team-building and leadership.

Each team will receive corresponding NBA team-branded uniforms for their games.

In addition to the new indoor basketball court, the new sports center includes a half-Olympic size pool, multi-purpose exercise rooms and rooftop garden plaza.

The 7’2” Mutombo started his NBA career with the Denver Nuggets after being chosen fourth overall in the 1991 draft. Born in Léopoldville, DR Congo, Mutombo is regarded as one of the greatest shot blockers and defensive players of all time, having won the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award four times.

He is 12th all-time in career double-doubles and is second only to Hakeem Olajuwon as most prolific shot blocker in NBA history.

Mutombo is a well-known humanitarian. In addition to his work as an NBA Global Ambassador, he started his own foundation to improve living conditions in his native DRC. He opened the first medical facility in the capita, Kinshasa, in decades.

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