Pound-for-pound crown: Dikembe Mutombo vs. Alonzo Mourning

12.09.09 8 years ago 32 Comments
Alonzo Mourning

Alonzo Mourning

Whenever somebody asks me how I became a Georgetown Hoyas fan growing up in Seattle, I give them one of three reasons:

1. When I was a kid, U-Dub barely had a basketball team as far as I knew.
2. I didn’t realize G’town wasn’t an HBCU until I was like 12 years old.
3. Joey Brown.

Who is Joey Brown? He was a 5-10 point guard and four-year starter for the Hoyas in the early-’90s. Imagine Earl Watson without the height and you get the picture. Joey Brown was a role player on some G’town teams that never made it past the second round of the NCAA’s, but he embodied everything I was and wanted to be as a ballplayer: short, quick, and a beast on defense.

Most people don’t remember Joey Brown because as soon as he graduated, his PG spot was assumed by a freshman named Allen Iverson. They also don’t remember Joey Brown because he was one of the “other guys” on the court with two of history’s most famous Hoyas, Dikembe Mutombo and Alonzo Mourning.

‘Zo and Deke will always be linked together in the G’town “Big Three” next to Patrick Ewing. They played three years together under John Thompson before Mutombo went pro, winning Big East co-Defensive Player of the Year together when they were sophomores. Mutombo was known for his D; Mourning did a bit of everything. Both were Top-5 draft picks and went on to have similarly successful NBA careers marked by longevity, toughness and humanitarian efforts off the court. But whose career was better?

Mutombo played 18 seasons in the League with six teams, averaging 9.8 points, 10.3 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per game. He played in one NBA Finals (with the Sixers), and in 101 playoff games posted 9.1 ppg, 9.5 rpg and 2.4 bpg. Deke won four Defensive Player of the Year awards, and was named to with six All-Defensive, three All-NBA, and eight All-Star teams. He led the League in blocks three times and twice in rebounding, and ranks second all-time in total blocks, 17th in total rebounds, and seventh in blocks per game. His best overall season was probably ’94-95, when he averaged 11.5 points, 12.5 boards, and 3.9 blocks (leading the League), hit 55% from the field, won DPOY and led the Nuggets to the playoffs.

Mourning played 15 years in the League with three teams, averaging 17.1 points, 8.5 boards and 2.8 blocks per game. He won a championship with the ’06 Heat, and in 95 postseason games posted 13.6 ppg, 7.0 rpg and 2.2 bpg. ‘Zo won DPOY twice, made two All-Defensive and two All-NBA teams, and was a seven-time All Star pick. He led the League in blocks twice, and ranks 10th all-time in blocks and sixth in blocks per game. Mourning’s best overall season was probably the lockout-shortened ’99 campaign, when he put up 20.1 ppg, 11.0 rpg and 3.9 bpg (leading the League), winning DPOY and making the All-NBA First Team.

Those are the numbers. Throwing in whatever else you feel is relevant, pound-for-pound, who had a better career?

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