Former NBA player and one of the best shot-blockers in NBA history, Dikembe Mutombo made a guest appearance on the Knuckleheads podcast. ‘Mount Mutombo’ talked about one of his favorite basketball memories. He was a member of the Denver Nuggets squad, which surprisingly had one of the biggest upsets in NBA history. Coming into the playoffs as the eighth seed, the Nuggets faced the number one seed Seattle Supersonics led by the dynamic duo of Shawn Kemp and Gary Payton.
Before the series even started, everybody taught the Nuggets will be swept by the Supersonics team aiming for a championship. However, the Nuggets were a resilient bunch and surprised everyone by winning the series 3-2 after losing the first two games. Mutombo said the moment that pretty much changed the series happened right before game 3 when they heard the Supersonics already checked out from the hotel expecting to sweep the Nuggets in front of their home crowd. That was the turning point in the series since they realized they will not give up without a fight.
We were playing against one of the best teams in the NBA back then. So, we were considered a team that was going to get swept. But, after the second game, five minutes before the game starts, the ball boy walked in the locker room and told us they have seen the Seattle Supersonics check out from the hotel and that the pilot and the flight attendant are already at the airport. They are leaving after the game. Dan Isle was what? We got two hours to play the basketball game, and these people already check out. So, they’re going to kick our ass, and they gonna ho home.Dikembe Mutombo, via Knuckleheads Podcast
After winning both home games in Denver, the Nuggets went back to Seattle, and by that time, the momentum completely changed in their favor. They won game five 98-94 in front of an electrifying crowd at the Seattle Center Coliseum. After playing a massive part in the series, especially on the defensive end, Mutombo said that was one of the most emotional moments in his career because nobody expected them to win.
That was when the fire went so high in the locker room. Everybody was like ‘we are going there to fight’. If we going to die on the court and that’s what made us took care of them. Beating them in game 5, it was one of the most emotional feelings that any player can have in that moment. This s**t feels good, this feels good.Dikembe Mutombo, via Knuckleheads Podcast
After beating the Supersonics, the Nuggets lost against the Utah Jazz in seven-game series, almost producing the same surprise after losing the first three games. The Nuggets came back by winning the next three games and forced game seven, but eventually, the Jazz proved to be a better team. Throughout the entire playoffs, Mutombo made his impact felt by averaging 13 points, 12 rebounds, and an astonishing 5.8 blocks per game. Unfortunately for the Nuggets, they didn’t keep that team together for long, but their feat will forever be remembered and is an excellent example of how a team that is better on paper doesn’t always win.
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“Y’all f***ed up the playoffs that year.” Flashback to the 1994 @nba Playoffs, the eighth seed @@nuggets weren’t going to let the top-seeded SuperSonics send them home. Hear more from @dofficialmutombo on Knuckleheads with @qrich and @blackking.21 wherever you listen to your podcasts. #KnuckleUp