With the official induction of Alonzo Mourning into the NBA Hall of Fame less than 48 hours away, I continue my countdown of Zo’s most memorable moments with the Miami Heat. A recap of the first two moments in the list can be seen below:
The next moment in the countdown is that one that NBA fans all around the world will always cherish…
#3 – Mourning Returns to Heat Following Kidney Transplant
Alonzo Mourning’s journey to the NBA Hall of Fame is incredible not only for the blood, sweat, and tears he left on the court each and every night for 15 grueling seasons, but also for everything that he overcame the court – specifically fighting a life-threating illness.
Back in 2000, Mourning was diagnosed with focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS), a kidney condition that is most commonly found in children and adolescents but also (as in this case with Mourning) adults as well.
Mourning would go on to play the next two seasons with the Miami Heat before his conditioned worsened and he was forced to sit out the entire 2002-2003 season. After a brief but unsuccessful attempt to play the following year as a member of the New Jersey Nets, Mourning then officially retired from the NBA.
On December 19, 2003, Mourning underwent a successful kidney transplant. He was determined to make it back to the NBA and did so less than one year later. He spent the start of the 2004-2005 campaign as a member of the New Jersey Nets before being traded to the Toronto Raptors.
Mourning never played a game as a member of the Raptors because they believed he was still not where he needed to be physically. Shortly there after, the New York Times reported that Mourning would return to his stomping grounds with Pat Riley and the Miami Heat.
The re-signing of Zo in Miami was made official on March 1, 2005. Heat fans were ecstatic to have Mourning back in the organization, even if they were unsure what he could give them on the court on a nightly basis.
Eventually, Mourning would regain enough strength to make major contributions the next 3+ years as a member of the Heat. He would retire following the 2007-2008 season – this time for good – this time on his own terms.