Mutombo Earns Defensive Honor

Associated Press

Atlanta Hawk center Dikembe Mutombo was named the NBA’s defensive player of the year Tuesday for a record third time.

Mutombo led Atlanta to a 50-32 record by anchoring a defense that ranked fourth in blocked shots (5.99 per game), eighth in points allowed (92.3) and 11th in field goal percentage (.442). He finished second in the NBA in blocked shots with 3.38 per game and fourth in rebounds with 11.4.

Mutombo, who also won the award in 1995 and 1997, received 39 of a possible 116 votes from a panel of sports writers and broadcasters.

Seattle SuperSonic guard Gary Payton, the 1996 winner, finished second with 37 votes and San Antonio’s David Robinson was third with 10 votes.


Since the NBA began handing out the award in 1983, four other players had won twice: Sidney Moncrief, Mark Eaton, Dennis Rodman and Hakeem Olajuwon.