Dikembe Mutombo is undergoing treatment for a brain tumor, the NBA announced Saturday on behalf of the Hall of Fame center and his family.
The NBA said in a statement that Mutombo, who ranks second in NBA history in career blocks, is starting treatment in Atlanta and is in “good spirits.”
“Dikembe and his family ask for privacy during this time so they can focus on his care,” the league said. “They are grateful for his prayers and good wishes from him.”
Mutombo played 18 seasons in the NBA for the Denver Nuggets, Atlanta Hawks, Philadelphia 76ers, New Jersey Nets, New York Knicks and Houston Rockets before retiring after the 2008-09 season.
He was the league’s best defensive player four times and appeared in eight All-Star games over 18 seasons. Mutombo ranks 17th in rebounding (12,359) and finished with 3,289 career blocks for him, second behind Hakeem Olajuwon (3,830).
Following his playing career, Mutombo has served as an ambassador for the sport, particularly in the development of the Basketball Africa League, which completed its second season in May. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2015.
The Associated Press contributed to this note.