January 4, 2004: Dikembe Mutombo set a Knicks record with 10 blocks in a game.
In Dikembe Mutombo’s one-year stint with the Knicks, he miraculously set a franchise record with 10 blocks in a game. He achieved the feat in a 95-85 loss against the New Jersey Nets. He blocked 10 shots in 42 minutes, an impressive mark at 37 years of age.
Known for his iconic finger wag after blocking opponents’ shots, the Knicks signed Mutombo after the Nets bought him out shortly following the beginning of training camp. The Knicks previously had interest in Mutombo during the 2001 trade deadline (the Hawks shipped him to Philadelphia) and the summer of 2002 (the 76ers traded him to the Nets).
Mutombo represented a true center, one the Knicks lacked since Marcus Camby’s departure. At 7’2, he also represented a legitimate big man who could provide intimidation in the paint. The Knicks blocked a paltry 3.1 shots/game in the 2002-03 season, 29th in the league. In the 2003-04 season, Mutombo averaged 1.9 blocks/game and helped the Knicks block 4.8 shots/game, 16th in the league. His presence on the defensive end eventually helped the Knicks make the playoffs for the 1st time since the 2000-01 season.
The Knicks later traded Mutombo in a deal with the Chicago Bulls that netted Jamal Crawford in a sign-and-trade.