Harvick takes it to the hoop? No, says Mutombo

NBA Legend Dikembe Mutumbo meets with NASCAR Vice Chairman Mike Helton in the garage area during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 10, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mutumbo was visiting Las Vegas Motor Speedway as a guest of Mobil 1 Annual Protection motor oil. (Getty Images)

LAS VEGAS – Other than representing Mobil 1 in television commercials and in their respective professions, NASCAR driver Kevin Harvick and former NBA center Dikembe Mutombo have very little in common.

At an announcement on Thursday at the MGM Grand that official NASCAR partner Mobil 1 would serve as primary sponsor on each of Stewart-Haas Racing’s four cars for one race this season – including Harvick’s No. 4 Ford this weekend at Las Vegas – the 2014 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion joked that the 7-foot-2 Mutombo would have to use a roof hatch to get into a race car.

Mutombo conceded that NASCAR drivers are well-conditioned athletes, but he drew the line at a theoretical one-on-one basketball game against the driver.

“It’s just better for him to sign the ball,” Mutombo said, as Harvick put his autograph on a rack of basketballs. “That’s as close as he’s going to get to the basket.”

Mutombo then wagged his finger.

“He would try to let one go, but he’s going to get the finger, ‘No, no, no—not today,’” Mutombo quipped.

Not that Harvick wanted any part of a close encounter on the basketball court.

“The same thing goes for (him) driving the car,” Harvick retorted. “I don’t have anything to say. He should beat me very bad at basketball.”