10 People who turned their back on the Miami Heat

Here are players, a coach, an analyst, and a general manager who we believe "turned their backs" on the Miami Heat organization -- some more than others.
Miami Heat v Cleveland Cavaliers
Miami Heat v Cleveland Cavaliers / Jason Miller/GettyImages
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4. Alonzo Mourning

Alonzo Mourning
Atlanta Hawks v Miami Heat / Doug Benc/GettyImages
  • ​​Years played with the Heat: (1995-2002, 2004-2008)
  • Significance of his contribution: Made the Heat a contender during the 1990s, put the team on the map, and led the team to winning their first NBA championship title in 2006.

Former center Alonzo Mourning was the heart and soul of the Miami Heat for more than a decade. He was not only the team's first All-Star but also the first player to lead the Heat to a successful postseason run. In his first year with the team, Mourning guided them to their inaugural Conference Finals, although they ultimately fell to the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls in five games.

Additionally, the Heat achieved a franchise record of 61 wins during that season, which still stands today. Mourning's dedication and passion for the game made him a true warrior for the team. He consistently gave his all in every game, inspiring his teammates to strive for success during the regular season. 

However, the team faced challenges in the postseason, experiencing defeats at the hands of the New York Knicks for three consecutive seasons and the Charlotte Hornets in a sweep, marking the end of the Mourning era.

Following a brief retirement due to a rare genetic kidney disease in 2002, Mourning remained loyal to the team that had embraced him since 1995. Until, in 2003, Alonzo decided to sign a 4-year, contract worth $22.6 million, which also allowed Jason Kidd to re-sign with the team at that time. At that time, the Nets had recently made back-to-back appearances in the NBA Finals and hoped that his arrival would sustain their success and ultimately secure a championship victory. However, Mourning's stint with the team was short-lived, only allowing him to play in 12 games due to a rare genetic kidney disease. Due to this, he decided to step away from the game he loved.

Despite his setbacks, Mourning made a triumphant return to the Heat in 2004 after undergoing a successful kidney transplant. He provided a defensive presence off the bench, contributing to the team's memorable championship victory in 2006. His remarkable performance, including six blocks in the decisive game six against the Dallas Mavericks, played a crucial role in securing the championship. 

Mourning continued to play for the Heat for a few more seasons before making the difficult decision to retire from basketball for good in January 2009, concluding his successful 15-year NBA career. Zo's intensity and tenacity on and off the court served as an inspiration, putting the team on the map and leaving a lasting legacy in the history of South Florida sports. 

As a testament to his contributions, Mourning became the first player in Heat franchise history to have his number retired and displayed in the rafters.