Perhaps the biggest highlight of Dikembe Mutombo's career came during the 1994 playoffs when he was lying on the floor holding a ball in the air in joy after leading the Denver Nuggets to a titanic playoff upset of top-seeded Seattle.
Mutombo found himself lying on the floor again Tuesday night, this time pondering the end of his career.
Mutombo, 42, was carried away on a stretcher in the first quarter of the Rockets' 107-103 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 2 with what he said was a career-ending left knee injury.
"It's over for me for my career," said Mutombo, who will be examined by team doctors when the Rockets return to Houston today.
An eight-time NBA All-Star and four-time Defensive Player of the Year, Mutombo is one of the game's great humanitarians and had a distinguished 18-year career with Denver, Atlanta, Philadelphia, New Jersey, New York and Houston.
"It's not something that I planned," he said. "All I can say right now is I had a wonderful run of 18 years and stayed injury-free. I thank God a lot for all this blessing and putting such great people around me for all of my career in the NBA. I'm just happy.
"I have to go out with my head high and not be disappointed and have no regrets. I have so many things I can be so thankful for over my 18 years."