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Mutombo NBA’s Top Defensive Player

May 5, 1998

NEW YORK (AP) _ Dikembe Mutombo of the Atlanta Hawks was selected today as the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year for a record third time.

Mutombo, who also won the award in 1996-97 and 1994-95, received 39 of a possible 116 votes from a panel of sports writers and broadcasters.

Gary Payton of the Seattle SuperSonics, the 1995-96 winner, finished second with 37 votes and San Antonio’s David Robinson was third with 10 votes. Eleven other players received at least one vote.

Mutombo led Atlanta to a 50-32 record by anchoring a defense that ranked fourth in blocked shots (5.99 per game), eighth in points allowed (92.3) and 11th in field goal percentage (.442).

Mutombo finished second in the NBA in blocked shots with 3.38 per game and fourth in rebounds with 11.4. He has 2,027 blocks for his career, tied with Larry Nance for 10th place in NBA history.

Since the NBA began handing out the award in 1983, four other players have won twice: Sidney Moncrief, Mark Eaton, Dennis Rodman and Hakeem Olajuwon.

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