Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (/ˌbɑː.ɑːˈmuːteɪ/ BAH-ah-MOO-tay; born 9 September 1986) is a Cameroonian professional basketball player for the Houston Rockets of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Mbah a Moute also plays for the Cameroon national basketball team.
As a freshman in 2005–06, Mbah a Moute led the Pac-10 Champion Bruins in rebounding. Mbah a Moute led or tied for the lead for the Bruins in rebounding in 27 regular season games. In the NCAA tournament, Mbah a Moute scored the winning layup at the end of a comeback win over Gonzaga in the Sweet 16. Mbah a Moute also posted 17 points, 9 rebounds, 2 steals, and 1 assist in a Final Four victory over LSU. For the year, Mbah a Moute averaged 8.9 points and 8.1 rebounds, and he was named Pac-10 Freshman of the Year.
He became something of a cult phenomenon among the UCLA faithful. Along with fellow Cameroonian Alfred Aboya, the dynamic duo sparked the "Cameroon Crazies" (a take-off of Duke's "Cameron Crazies" fans) section, along with an enormously popular T-shirt which read "Moute Kicks Boute". Mbah a Moute himself became known as 'The Fresh Prince', after the television show of the same name.
His mother, Goufane a Ziem Agnes Bertine, and his father, Camille Moute à Bidias had never seen him play for UCLA, until they came from Cameroon to attend the Final Four of the 2008 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament. During the 2008 season, his team had a record of 35–4 and won their third-straight Pac-10 title and third-straight NCAA Final Four.
Mbah a Moute ended his UCLA career with an honourable mention All-Pac-10, honourable mention Pac-10 All-Defensive Team selection and a fifth-place finish in scoring (8.8 ppg). He is ranked as the No. 15 rebounder with a total of 775 rebounds.
Mbah a Moute became the first player to start in three straight Final Fours at UCLA in thirty-four years. Bill Walton, Jamaal Wilkes and Greg Lee (1972–74) were the last players at UCLA, and Andre Hutson and Charlie Bell of Michigan State (1999–2001) were the last ones to do so.
Milwaukee Bucks (2008–2013)
Mbah a Moute gave up his eligibility to play college basketball at UCLA for his senior year to enter the 2008 NBA draft, in which he was selected by the Milwaukee Bucks with the 37th overall pick. Mbah a Moute got off to a quick start with the Bucks, and quickly became a fan favourite. His strong play, especially on defense, led to him overtaking Charlie Villanueva as the Bucks' starting power forward only nine games into the season. In his second game as a starter, Mbah a Moute posted career highs of 19 points and 17 rebounds in a 101–96 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies. Bucks head coach Scott Skiles and general manager John Hammond both praised Mbah a Moute's defensive skills.
After the 2010–11 season, Mbah a Moute became a restricted free agent. On 10 December 2011, he received a four-year, $18.7 million offer sheet from the Denver Nuggets. Three days later, the Bucks matched the offer sheet, re-signing Mbah a Moute.
Sacramento Kings (2013)
Minnesota Timberwolves (2013–2014)
Philadelphia 76ers (2014–2015)
On 23 August 2014, a three-team trade was completed, involving the Timberwolves, the Cleveland Cavaliers, and the Philadelphia 76ers. As part of the deal, Mbah a Moute and teammate Alexey Shved were traded to the Sixers, along with a 2015 first round draft pick from Cleveland. The Cavaliers received Kevin Love from Minnesota, whereas the Wolves received Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett from Cleveland and Thaddeus Young from Philadelphia.
On July 14, 2015, Mbah a Moute signed with the Sacramento Kings once again. However, two days later, his contract was voided by the Kings after he failed his physical examination. Mbah a Moute felt he was mistreated by the Kings and filed grievance against the team. He later passed a medical test in order to compete for Team Africa at the 2015 NBA Africa exhibition game on August 1.
Los Angeles Clippers (2015–2017)
On September 25, 2015, Mbah a Moute signed with the Los Angeles Clippers. Midway through the 2015–16 season, the Clippers placed Mbah a Moute into the starting lineup. He stayed in the starting throughout the playoffs as well.
On July 8, 2016, Mbah a Moute re-signed with the Clippers. On April 21, 2017, in Game 3 of the Clippers' first-round playoff series against the Utah Jazz, Mbah a Moute scored a career playoff-high 15 points to help the Clippers win 111–106, taking a 2–1 lead in the series. The Clippers went on to lose the series to the Jazz in seven games.
Houston Rockets (2017–present)
On July 19, 2017, Mbah a Moute signed with the Houston Rockets. On November 22, 2017, in a 125–95 win against the Denver Nuggets, Mbah a Moute finished with a plus-minus of +57, the highest in an NBA game in 20 years. He was a perfect 5-of-5 shooting for 13 points in 26 minutes, during which the Rockets outscored the Nuggets 93–36. On December 14, 2017, he was ruled out for two to three weeks with a shoulder injury.
NBA career statistics
|GP||Games played||GS||Games started||MPG||Minutes per game|
|FG%||Field goal percentage||3P%||3-point field goal percentage||FT%||Free throw percentage|
|RPG||Rebounds per game||APG||Assists per game||SPG||Steals per game|
|BPG||Blocks per game||PPG||Points per game||Bold||Career high|
Mbah a Moute is a prince in the village of Bia Messe (near Yaoundé), as he is a son of the elected village chief, Camille Mouté à Bidias. His father is a high-ranking government official, managing the National Employment Fund of Cameroon, a training and job-placement national agency. Mbah a Moute is the twin brother of Emmanuel Bidias a Moute, who played basketball for Texas State University. His younger brother, Roger Moute a Bidias, is a basketball student-athlete for the California Golden Bears.
Mbah a Moute helped discover Cameroonian center Joel Embiid, the third overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft and eventual teammate on the Philadelphia 76ers. He also helped discover another Cameroonian player in power forward Pascal Siakam, the 27th pick in the 2016 NBA draft.