Throughout the week, I have counted down Alonzo Mourning‘s most memorable moments as a member of the Miami Heat in a Hall of Fame Week segment. The list included everything from how he joined the Heat in the first place to overcoming a life-threatening kidney illness and returning to the organization.
These moments were two of the four that have been discussed these last few days. To recap:
The countdown wraps up today with the highlight of Alonzo Mourning’s career…
#1 – Alonzo Mourning Inducted into the Hall of Fame
For any athlete, being inducted into a Hall of Fame has to be the pinnacle of their professional career. A humbled Alonzo Mourning reflected on being the newest member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame:
#2014HOF Mourning: There was so much purpose to my life that I knew that I could come back from any odds.
— Basketball HOF (@Hoophall) August 9, 2014
Any athlete at any level has to overcome adversity to be successful. Mourning was in a class of his own because of everything he overcame off the court in his battle with kidney illness.
Unlike other sports, the NBA does not induct athletes as members of a particular organization. Although Mourning began his career with the Charlotte Hornets and spent some time with the New Jersey Nets, there is no doubt he will always be remembered as a Miami Heat icon.
A good portion of Mourning’s speech was focused on his friend, coach, and mentor Pat Riley. Zo stated “Pat builds cultures of winning” and thanked him for always believing in him when many others didn’t.
Riley has always been known as one of the toughest-minded guys in not only the NBA, but sports in general. He couldn’t hold back his emotion on this night:
Don’t see Pat cry often. Wow. — Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) August 9, 2014
On the court, Mourning spent 15 seasons in the league (11 with Miami) and his list of accomplishments include a 7x NBA All-Star, a 2x NBA Defensive Player of the Year, and an NBA Champion (2006). He finished his career with 14,311 points (17.1 ppg), 7,137 rebounds (8.5 rpg), and 2,356 blocks (2.8 bpg).
His #33 is one of two former Miami Heat players to have their number retired (Tim Hardaway‘s #10 the other). Off the court, he is every bit as professional and reliable as he was during his playing days. For the last 5+ years he has served as Vice President of Player Programs and Development for the Heat working alongside Pat Riley.
Mourning helped change the culture of basketball in South Florida. Before him, the franchise was struggling to compete almost a decade into existence. Since he joined the Heat in 1995, the franchise has won 3 NBA Championships and appeared in two others.
Thank you for the memories Alonzo Mourning.