ATLANTA - It's one of the most common sights at any youth sports game: a parent on the sidelines, yelling what they think is helpful encouragement at their child while they play. It's a little more rare when that parent is 7 feet tall and a basketball Hall of Famer.
"He's very intense," said Lovett senior center Ryan Mutombo. "Pretty much 24/7, his engine is always on."
Ryan is talking about his father, former Hawks standout and 8-time NBA All-Star.
"During the game, you can hear him screaming at me from the sidelines," said Ryan Mutombo. "Sometimes I get mad at him for chiriping at me during the games, but I wouldn't have it any other way."
Pretty soon, Dikembe will be yelling at his son at a location he knows well: Ryan is committed to play college basketball at Georgetown University, where not only Dikembe played, but also as Ryan points out, a long line of accomplished big men like Alonzo Mourning and current Hoyas head coach Patrick Ewing.
"There's no way you can deny that heritage," said Ryan Mutombo.
In the immediate future, Ryan and a tight-knit group of Lovett seniors are hoping to earn their school its first ever boys basketball state championship. Next up is the Class 2A quarterfinals, as they travel to take on Swainsboro High School
"This year we feel like we really put it together, we really figured it out and we really came together as a group," said Lovett senior Jay Joshi. "We think we can make a run."
Ryan Mutombo may play a big role in a potential run to Macon. As unsurprising as his basketball talent is, knowing all that Dikembe has accomplished off the court, it is no shock that Ryan has his own post-basketball career planned out.
"The NBA is the goal, however long it takes me to get there," said Ryan Mutombo. "Outside of that, after my playing career, I definitely want to come back to Atlanta and do some philanthropic work. I definitely want to open up my own physical therapy practice here, that's a dream I've had since I was 14 years old, is get my doctorate in physical therapy and come back to Atlanta and start my own practice.
"Those are the things most people don't hear about me, or see my face, or [my name]. I'm looking forward to getting on Georgetown's campus because the academic culture there is just so excellent."