Alonzo Mourning, former Miami Heat center, has been named a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2014, reports Fox Sports.
Mourning, 44, will be inducted to the Hall of Fame on August 8th at Springfield, Massachusetts. Joining Mourning for induction will be former Golden State/Sacramento guard and Fort Lauderdale product Mitch Richmond, former NBA and international player Sarunas Marciulionis, former college coaches Nolan Richardson (Arkansas) and Gary Williams (Maryland) as well as recently retired NBA commissioner David Stern.
When he was asked what he was most proud of from his fifteen-year NBA career, Mourning said he was most proud of his return to the sport after a kidney transplant in late 2003.
“There were a lot of people who doubted me, but I had some deep doubt, too,” Mourning said. “Going through that whole process and laying stretched out on that operating table and just seeing the images of that, there was some doubt in me that I would be able to come back and compete at a very high level…The thing I’m most proud of is that I broke through that particular obstacle in my life.”
Mourning was the Charlotte Hornets’ second overall pick out of Georgetown in 1992. During his career, Mourning won two NBA Defensive Player of the Year awards and made seven All-Star teams. The 6 foot 10 basketball player averaged 17.1 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.8 blocks.
Mourning had this to say about being selected for the Hall of Fame, “I’m humbled and I’m truly honored to be able to stand here before you today and to know I’m going to be a part of such a prestigious group of individuals that helped pave the way for a lot of individuals to experience this. I’m very, very grateful.”
Mourning attributed his success to the help of former Georgetown coach John Thompson and Heat president Pat Riley.
After a trade with the Charlotte Hornets, Mourning played with the Miami Heat from 1995 until kidney disease caused him to miss the 2002-03 season. He was not going to be kept down, however, and after his transplant, Mourning continued his career. The basketball player eventually joined back up with the Heat as a free agent in March of 2005. Mourning stayed with the Heat up until his retirement after the 2007-08 season, according to The Washington Post.
Mourning explained why he was committed to rejoining the Heat after his transplant. “The reason I wasn’t satisfied (after my first 10 years) was because Pat Riley traded five guys and some picks to bring me to Miami, and I made a commitment to him,” Mourning said. “I said, ‘Look, I’m in this to help Miami win a world championship.’
Mourning’s Heat career came to its highpoint in Game Six of the 2006 NBA Finals in Dallas. He had five blocks, which included one where he jumped over several players to deny a baseline-driving Jason Terry. Mourning ended up helping the Heat win the title – and that was the moment he had been waiting for.
“That moment kind of defines what my career was all about,” Mourning said. “It was about leaving it all out on the floor.”
[Image Via Bing]