NBA's Mutombo Is A Hometown Hero

He Makes About $11 Million A Year

It's lucky for the people of Kinshasa that NBA superstar Dikembe Mutombo grew to like the game of basketball; he's used its riches to help his old neighbors in the Congolese city. But when he goes back there with 60 Minutes' Ed Bradley, he points to a spot on a dilapidated playground where he says his first trip to the hoop was almost his last.

The interview with Mutombo, shot almost entirely in his native Congo, will be rebroadcast Sunday, Dec. 24, on 60 Minutes.

The 7-foot-and-then-some Mutombo is one of the best players in the NBA, but was apparently no natural. He tells Bradley he tripped over his own feet in his first game, and landed right on his chin. "So, I landed. Bam!" recalls Mutombo, pointing to a spot on the old court and an old scar on his chin. "Blood all over the place, and I say, I'm not going to play basketball no more."

The people of Kinshasa are glad Mutombo didn't keep that vow because he's building them the biggest hospital the city has seen in 40 years - a much-needed gift in a place where people routinely die of preventable illnesses like measles and polio. Mutombo is helping to finance the facility and contributing $3 million himself.

He says he's just "tired of seeing people dying" and that people who do well should give back to their old neighborhoods.

The definition of doing well has changed for Mutombo, who also shows Bradley where he worked his first job as a food vendor in a Kinshasa market, a job that made him a happy man if he earned a dollar a day. Today, the $11 million-per-year NBA center earns a dollar about every three seconds.