Miami Heat in Mourning
by Jennifer Jordan
With Alonzo Mourning suffering a torn patellar tendon in is right knee on Wednesday night, things keep getting worse for the Miami Heat. Chances are, Mourning will never play again.
At thirty seven years old, Mourning had previously stated that this would be his last season in the NBA. With this injury, his season may be shorter than expected.
He was hurt while defending the basket against Mario West of the Atlanta Hawks. As West drove in for lay up, Mourning went to jump, only to have his knee buckle underneath him.
After making a name for himself as a Georgetown University Hoya, Mourning was drafted by the Charlotte Hornets in the 1992 draft. He was drafted extremely high, second only to Shaquille O’Neal.
Mourning spent only three years in Charlotte, when he was traded to the Miami Heat. Here he made a name for himself, suiting up for seven seasons. He averaged nearly twenty points and ten rebounds per game and was well known for his spectacular shot blocking abilities. While with Miami, he was twice named the NBA Defensive Player of the Year and named to the All-NBA First Team.
In 2000, Mourning’s health took a turn and he was diagnosed with a kidney disease that caused him to sit out for several months of play. He did return, but when his condition worsened, he was forced to sit on the bench for the 2002 to 2003 season. After this, the Heat did not opt to renew his contract.
In 2003, Mourning signed with the New Jersey Nets, but he was soon forced into retirement because of his condition. Shortly after retirement, he underwent a kidney transplant and returned to the Nets in 2004.
Mourning was unhappy in New Jersey, and made it well known that he wanted out of the Net’s franchise. He eventually got his wish and returned to the Miami Heat in 2005. Here, he once again served in a “secondary” role to Shaquille O’Neal. But, Mourning made the most of his minutes and was a force on both offense and defense. He also helped the Heat win a championship in 2006.
In the end, Alonzo Mourning has averaged the most blocks in the NBA with 5.46 per every 48 minutes played. In addition to recently becoming the Heat’s All Time Points leader, he has been named (in some cases numerous times) to the All NBA First Team, All NBA Second Team, All NBA Defensive First Team, NBA Defensive Player of the Year, and NBA All Star team. Mourning also won a bronze medal in the 1990 FIBA World Championship, a gold medal in the 1994 FIBA World Championship, and a gold medal in the 2000 Olympic Games.
When it comes down to it, he’s had a heck of a career.