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Mourning's intensity, passion made him special


Nov. 24
I was so sad when I learned Monday that Alonzo Mourning's basketball career has come to such an abrupt end. The problems with his kidney became too much, and my thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.

Alonzo Mourning
Coach Pat Riley and Alonzo Mourning defined the Miami Heat in the latter half of the 1990s.
He was one of the special, special players. I loved his intensity -- Alonzo played with such passion and emotion.

I will never forget when he was at Georgetown and played center for the Hoyas. He truly reflected his coach, John Thompson. Mourning gave his best on every play.

Think about all the dimensions he had as a Hoya. At 6-foot-10, Mourning led the nation in blocked shots in 1989, averaging almost five per game. He averaged 13 points and seven boards as a diaper dandy, and he got better and better each season.

As a senior during the 1991-92 season, he averaged a double-double (21 points and 10 rebounds per contest). He was also a reliable inside force, shooting over 56 percent from the floor in his four seasons at Georgetown.

He was a warrior on the court. I really feel that word -- warrior -- exemplified his effort, his desire and his hunger. I believed he would be a dynamite addition for the Nets this season if he could have returned to his healthy form. Unfortunately, it wasn't meant to be.

It's sad because Mourning is one tough competitor. Mentally, he is as tough as any athlete I have ever met over the years. He had that special desire to win, win, win.

In this day and age, when so many athletes are concerned only about their stats, their egos and their contracts, Mourning was the opposite. He was all about getting the W!

It started as a high-school player and went on to his Georgetown days and then on to the NBA with the then-Charlotte Hornets, Miami Heat and the New Jersey Nets. He was always a class act, as demonstrated when he won the NBA's Citizenship Award.

I just hope and pray that nothing but happiness comes Alonzo Mourning's way in the future. Let's hope his holiday spirits are filled with joy and that a miracle can happen to get him back stronger than ever.

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