Smallthoughts:Old School Tuesday …Alonzo Mourning

Alonzo mourning


As a Knick fan I hated Alonzo Mourning, yet I knew Patrick Ewing had him in check. But make no mistake we as knick fans hate the really good ones that always pose a threat to our team an Zo was no exception… I didn’t like him as a player but …had to respect him.

Mourning was selected second overall in the 1992 NBA Draft by the Charlotte Hornets, behind Shaquille O’Neal. Mourning was named to the league’s all-rookie team in 1993 after averaging 21.0 pts, 10.3 rebounds, and 3.47 blocks. He finished second to Shaquille O’Neal in rookie of the year voting. He posted the highest scoring average of any rookie in Hornets history. Mourning and O’Neal were the first NBA rookies since David Robinson in 1989–90 to average 20 or more points and 10-plus rebounds in their first seasons. Mourning shattered Charlotte’s blocked-shots records, becoming the Hornets’ all-time career leader in the 49th game of the season. The greatest moment of Mourning’s rookie season came on May 5, 1993 in Game 4 of a first-round playoff series against the Boston Celtics. His 20-footer at the buzzer gave the Hornets a 104–103 victory in the game and a three-games-to-one victory in the series. The Hornets lost in the second round to the New York Knicks in 5 games, with Mourning averaging of 23.8 points, 9.9 rebounds and 3.4 blocks in 9 playoff games. The following year, Mourning played in just 60 games, maintaining similar averages[quantify] in points, rebounds and blocks, but the Hornets missed the playoffs.

In the 1994–95 season, Mourning and teammate Larry Johnson led the Hornets to a 50-win season and reached the playoffs. Mourning ranked first on the team in scoring(21.3 ppg), rebounding (9.9 rpg), blocked shots (2.92 per game), and field goal percentage (.519), and played in the 1995 NBA All-Star Game where he scored 10 points and grabbed 8 rebounds. The Hornets lost in 4 games to the Chicago Bulls in the first round of the playoffs, despite Mourning posting 22 points, 13.3 rebounds and 3.3 blocks for the series.

On November 3, 1995, after Mourning rejected a contract extension offer worth an average of $11.2 million for seven years, the Hornets traded him, along with reserves Pete Myers and LeRon Ellis in exchange for Glen Rice, Matt Geiger, Khalid Reeves and a first-round pick in the 1996 NBA Draft.[3]

Mourning served as the centerpiece of the Pat Riley-coached Heat, and in his first season with the team he averaged 23.2 points, 10.4 rebounds and 2.7 blocks a game as Miami made the playoffs before being swept in the first round to the 72 win Chicago Bulls. Mourning played in the 1996 NBA All-Star Game and was joined by all-star point guard Tim Hardaway who arrived through a midseason trade.

The following year, the Heat won a franchise record 61 wins, second in the Eastern Conference to the defending champion Bulls, and Mourning averaged 19.8 points, 9.9 rebounds and 2.9 blocks. In the playoffs, Miami defeated the Orlando Magic in five games, and advanced to the conference semifinals against the New York Knicks, where the rivalry between the Heat and the New York Knicks intensified. The Knicks took a 3-1 lead in the series, but following a brawl between him and Charles Oakley, late in Game 5, in which multiple suspensions were handed down, Mourning scored 28 points in Game 6 followed by a 22-point, 12-rebound performance in Game 7 to help Miami advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals, a franchise first, to face Chicago. The Bulls took a 3-0 lead in the series, and Mourning guaranteed a victory in Game 4.[4] The Heat won the Game 87–80 but still lost the series in five games.

The next season, Mourning posted similar averages but only played in 58 games, and Miami was eliminated in the first round by the Knicks, a series in which Mourning was suspended for the 5th and deciding game due to an on-court fight with ex-teammate Larry Johnson, with Knicks Head Coach Jeff Van Gundy hanging onto Mourning’s leg in an attempt to break it up.

In the lockout-shortened 1998-1999 season, Mourning averaged 20.1 points, a career high 11 rebounds and a career high 3.9 blocks per game as Miami won another Atlantic Division title and the top seed in the playoffs. Mourning won the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award, was named All-NBA First Team and finished second to Karl Malone in the NBA Most Valuable Player Award voting. Despite being the top seed, the Heat lost to the eighth-seeded Knicks in five games, off a last-second shot by Allan Houston in Miami.

The following season, Mourning averaged 21.7 points a game, 9.5 rebounds and 3.7 blocks a game, and won his second straight Defensive Player of the Year Award. Miami swept the Detroit Pistons in the first round of the playoffs, with Mourning dominating the Pistons[quantify]. The Heat faced New York, the fourth straight year that the two teams met in the postseason, and took a 3-2 series lead, but New York won the series in seven games. In the summer, Mourning and Hardaway won a gold medal with the United States at the Olympics in Sydney.

During the offseason, Miami underwent an overhaul and expectations leading up to the season were high.[citation needed] Prior the start of the 2000–01 season, however, Mourning was diagnosed with focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, a kidney condition, that caused him to miss the first five months of the season. He returned to play on March 27, and played a total of 13 games as Miami made the postseason but were swept in the first round by the Charlotte Hornets.

The following year, Mourning played in 75 games despite his kidney disease, and was selected to play in the 2002 NBA All-Star Game, where he scored 13 points off the bench. He averaged 15.7 points, 8.4 rebounds and 2.5 blocks a game, but the Heat missed the playoffs. As his condition worsened, Mourning did not play during the entire 2002–03 season and his expiring contract was not renewed by the Heat.


Mourning signed a four-year deal with the New Jersey Nets in 2003 as a free agent. But on November 25, 2003, Mourning retired from the NBA due to complications from his kidney disease. On December 19 of that year he underwent a successful kidney transplant. In 2004 he started practicing with the Nets again, and made the team’s regular season roster during the 2004–05 season. He did not play a significant role with the Nets, however, and openly complained to the media that he wanted out of New Jersey, especially after the team traded away Kenyon Martin.[5] Mourning was traded to the Toronto Raptors on December 17, 2004. Mourning never reported to the Raptors, and was bought out of his contract at a remaining 9 million dollars on February 11, 2005. Raptors team officials later said that he did not meet the medical conditions to play for the team.[6][7] Mourning then finished the season with the Miami Heat being paid a second salary, the veteran’s minimum.

After being unhappy at the prospect of playing for a losing franchise, Mourning re-signed with the Heat on March 1, 2005. His role was reduced as a backup because of superstar Shaquille O’Neal, although he was called upon as a starter due to O’Neal missing stretches due to injury. O’Neal and Mourning even played together on the court at times, with Mourning playing power forward. Because of physical limitations, his minutes were reduced, but was still a steady contributor. Mourning’s tenacious defense, steady offense, and all around hustle helped the Heat gain and maintain the second-best record in the NBA’s Eastern conference during the 2004–05 season; his intensity had earned him the nickname “The Ultimate Warrior” amongst Miami Heat fans.[citation needed] Mourning finished the regular season ranking third in blocked shots at 2.66 per game, despite only playing 20 minutes per contest. Miami swept the Nets in the first round of the playoffs, with Mourning scoring 21 points with 9 rebounds in just 16 minutes in game 2. In the second round against the Washington Wizards, Mourning stepped in for the injured O’Neal and scored 14 points with 13 rebounds and 4 blocked shots in game 3 as Miami completed another four game sweep. Miami fell in seven games to the defending champion Detroit Pistons in the Eastern Conference Finals, with Mourning leading the team in blocks with 3 per game for the series.

Mourning re-signed with Miami, as the Heat once again re-hauled their roster, acquiring other veterans seeking a title such as Antoine Walker and Gary Payton. Mourning continued to serve as the Heat’s backup center, and early on stepped in to serve as the team’s starting center after O’Neal suffered an injury early on. Mourning started in 20 games out of a total of 65 games played, averaging 7.8 points and 5.5 rebounds while finishing third in the league with 2.7 blocks a game despite playing as a reserve. In the playoffs, Mourning continued to shine in his role as a defensive player off the bench, as Miami advanced past the Chicago Bulls and New Jersey before defeating Detroit in 6 games to advance to the 2006 NBA Finals, the first NBA Finals in franchise history and the first for Mourning. After a 2-0 deficit, Miami won all three of its home games led by the spectacular play of Dwyane Wade, and in game 6 in Dallas Mourning came off the bench to score 8 points with 6 rebounds and a team high 5 blocks to help Miami win its first NBA Championship in franchise history.

After winning the championship, Mourning announced that he would return to the Heat in 2006–07 to defend their title, despite receiving offers of more money from other teams, including the San Antonio Spurs. In 2007, Mourning announced he would return for one more year with the Heat and his 15th season. “It will definitely be my last year,” Mourning said. After starting the season on a solid note averaging 6 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.75 blocks in just over 16 minutes played per 24 games,[9] Mourning tore his patellar tendon in his right knee[10] on December 19, 2007, during the first quarter of a loss in Atlanta.[11][12] The injury, which occurred on the fourth anniversary of his successful kidney transplant, was said[who?] to be career-threatening, but rumors persisted[who?] about a return come the 2008–09 season, and Mourning himself said that this wasn’t the way he wanted to end his career considering all he had been through already.

Mourning has averaged the most blocks in the NBA per 48 minutes with 5.46.

During the 2007–08 season, he became the Heat’s all-time leader in points scored.

courtesy of

Smallthoughts: Old School Tuesday salutes …Alonzo Mourning.



Career history
19921995 Charlotte Hornets
19952002 Miami Heat
20032004 New Jersey Nets
20052008 Miami Heat
Career highlights and awards
Career statistics
Points 14,311 (17.1 ppg)
Rebounds 7,137 (8.5 rpg)
Blocks 2,356 (2.8 bpg)
Stats at
Basketball Hall of Fame as player

Published by bklynboy59

Welcome to Smallthoughtsinasportsworld. We keep it fun and we keep interesting and informative. On Tuesdays we go back in time with Old School Tuesdays, on Thursdays we keep it fun by Smallthoughts Trivia Thursday and on Fridays is Smallthoughts: Rant of the Week and Smallthoughts:Rave of the Week and we also post the answer from Smallthoughts:Trivia Thursday. I am a lifelong New York Mets, Knicks and Jets and Giants fan. I root hard for my teams and have rooted for them even when it wasn't and in some cases still isn't easy. I enjoy talking sports, and on here I get to write about it as well. I have my thoughts hence Small thoughts, we will not always agree, but respectfully speak about what we feel. I invite your comments and feedback as well. You can also follow me on twitter @bklynboy59 and facebook Jerry bklynboy Small

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