The 41-year-old Dikembe Mutombo, who has said he will retire at the end of his 17th NBA season, says he looks forward to Thursday nights tribute ceremony at Toyota Center in recognition of his humanitarian efforts. Recovering from injury hasnt stopped Rockets forward Carl Landry from staying aggressive on the court. Rockets forward Shane Battier understands the importance of the stretch run of the regular season Rockets point guard Rafer Alston says the team has held its own after a 22-game win streak.

The Rockets and the NBA will honor 41-year-old Dikembe Mutombo during Wednesday's game against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Toyota Center.

The team could say, "Thank you for playing so well when Yao Ming went down." But they are honoring Mutombo on Thursday night for an impact that goes far beyond the basketball court.

Everyone attending Wednesday night's game will get a foam finger so they can wag right along with the NBA's second-leading career shot-blocker. But more than that, they can also honor a man who has given more than $15 million out of his own pocket to help build the Biamba Marie Mutombo Hospital in the Congo, which opened last year. Rockets owner Les Alexander is donating $500,000 to the cause.

"My goal is just to try to get about 40,000 people across the country who will give me $50 a year and the opportunity to develop and support my hospital.

"It's tough when you're doing God's work and for the people to be interested about giving you a hand. That's what it is," he said.

Mutombo is appreciative of his boss's contribution and extremely proud to have commissioner David Stern at the ceremony. Mutombo compares it to his appearance at the State of the Union.

"It's big. It's almost like the State of the Union. When the boss of the bosses comes, it's always good to see him," Mutombo said.

Even though the season began with Mutombo saying this would be his 17th and final NBA season, Wednesday night is not necessarily a goodbye, because Mutombo may be reconsidering. Just ask him.

After all, you can't get enough of a good guy.

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