Rockets C Dikembe Mutombo, 40, currently enjoying a revival of sorts in Yao Ming’s absence, tells’s Marc Stein that he’s had his fill of jokes about his age. (link courtesy Jon Solomon)

“My wife [Rose] just mentioned that to me a few days ago,” the Congo-born Mutombo said in his unmistakably deep voice. “She said: ‘Honey, I think this joke has gone on too long and it has to stop. Is there a way you can tell the commissioner during the All-Star break to let the world know that this thing needs to stop, from a media standpoint all the way to the players?’

“It really doesn’t disturb me, but it hurts when your wife starts feeling uncomfortable about it. Even my daughter [Carrie] says, ‘Daddy, why are they talking about your age?’ She’s nine years old and she knows about it.

“When people think your father is a liar, it makes you look bad in front of your children,” Mutombo said. “Kids don’t know when it’s a joke and when it’s not a joke. It never bothered me before, but it starts bothering me more as I’m getting questions from my wife [and] especially my daughter. She left me a voice message in the middle of a game [recently that said], ‘Daddy, they’re talking about your age on TV. That’s not funny.’ ”

Mutombo says he’s serious about trying to hush the jokes, which he traces to playing his rookie season in Denver in 1991-92 as a 25-year-old. He was already 21 when he left the Democratic Republic of Congo (then known as Zaire) to attend Georgetown in 1987.

Mutombo has succeeded in convincing league officials to let him persist with his trademark finger-wagging after blocked shots — as long as he directs that gesture toward a section of the crowd without wagging his finger in the direction of an opponent — and believes Stern will be sympathetic to his anti-joke crusade, too.

“The commissioner and I are good friends,” Mutombo said. “I will find a way somehow to talk to him.

“He’s a great man. He can make it stop.”

Though Chris Webber’s Pistons debut was uneventful enough, it seems Rasheed Wallace suffered what mental health professionals might call “a meltdown” during Detroit’s 100-99 loss to Utah.

While Newsday’s Alan Hahn has little to say regarding Caron Butler’s game-winning slam in Washington’s defeat of the Knicks last night (it’s ok, neither did I), he does manage to link to vintage video of David Lee in a high school dunk contest.  I had trouble getting it to play, and had to settle for David Lee Roth in a high school drunk contest.