On Thursday, Feb. 4, the 2015 Basketball Hall of Fame inductee visited the Marcus Jewish Community Center as part of its Edgewise Speaker Series and spoke about his work to build a hospital in his native Congo. He personally spent $15 million on the $29 million, 300-bed hospital in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s capital, Kinshasa.
Although he is not Jewish, the 7-foot-2 former center embodies the Jewish ideal of tikkun olam (repairing the world).
Joined by Dr. Lillian Schapiro on the stage of the Marcus JCC’s Morris & Rae Frank Theatre, Mutombo told the crowd that current NBA players need to be more socially responsible to communities in need. He pointed to LeBron James as a player who has given back to his community through his LeBron James Family Foundation.
“I have to pass my torch to the next generation of athletes,” Mutombo said.