D.J Ilunga Mbenga is a lucky man. He grew up in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. His father who was a government employee at the time was imprisoned and eventually executed but managed to negotiate the freedom of his son, D.J Ilunga Mbenga. Mbenga escaped execution and fled on a plane to Belgium and lived in a refugee center. Belgian basketball legend Willy Steveniers discovered Mbenga and due to his tremendous size (7 ft) and build (due to having a black belt in Judo) insisted that he pursue a career in basketball, he became Mbenga's mentor.
He isn't only skilled at Judo and on the basketball court, Mbenga speaks five languages: French, Portuguese, English, Lingala and Tshiluba.
Mbenga started his NBA career with the Dallas Mavericks during the 2004-05 season. When the 05-06 season ended he signed a 3 year extension with the Mavericks for an estimated $2 million a year. Imagine going from being imprisoned in the Congo to earning $2 million playing in the best basketball league in the world. Its amazing.
Mbenga was waived by the Mavericks and in November 2007 he signed with the Golden state warriors. He didn't last long on the warriors but was snapped up by the La Lakers on January 21, 2008.
D.J Mbenga or Congo Cash as his fans like to call him soon became a fan favorite and had one of his best games on March 6, 2009 against Memphis where he scored a career high 10 points with an extremely efficient 4-5 shooting and grabbed 4 rebounds and blocked 5 shots in just 17 minutes of playing time. At the end of the 09 season Mbenga won his first NBA title with the La Lakers but hopefully it won't be his last.
This man has gone through so much in his life and it is amazing that he is at where he is at today.
The NBA is truly "Where amazing happens".