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Alonzo Mourning is a retired NBA player who played most of his 15-year NBA career for the Miami Heat.
Nicknamed "Zo", Mourning’s tenacity on defense twice earned him the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award and perennially placed him on the NBA All-Defensive Team. He made a comeback after undergoing a kidney transplant and later won his first NBA Championship with the Heat in 2006. In addition to the Heat, he has also played for the Charlotte Hornets and New Jersey Nets. On March 30, 2009, Mourning became the first player in Miami Heat history to have his number retired.
During his time at Indian River High School, he led the team to 51 straight victories and a state title his junior year (1987). He was named Player of the Year by USA Today, Parade, Gatorade and Naismith. Mourning played college basketball at Georgetown, where he led the nation in blocked shots his freshman year and was named an All-American for the Hoyas in his final three years.
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 Shaq in rookie of the year voting that year. 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 record, becoming the Hornets' all-time career leader in the 49th game of the season.
After three years in Charlotte, Mourning was traded to Heat, where he played for the next seven seasons. He was the centerpiece of the Pat Riley-coached Heat, averaging close to 20 points and 10 rebounds per game and dominating the paint with his intimidating shot-blocking ability. He won the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award twice during this period and was named to the All-NBA First Team for the 1998-99 season after leading the Heat in scoring (20.1 ppg), field-goal percentage (.511), rebounds (11.0) and blocked shots (3.9).
Prior the start of the 2000–01 season, Mourning was diagnosed with focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, a disease of the kidneys, that had caused him to miss the first five months of that season. Even after the diagnosis, Mourning returned and played in the 2002 NBA All-Star Game. Because his condition worsened, Mourning did not play during the entire 2002–03 season and his expiring contract was not renewed by the rebuilding Heat.
As a free agent, in 2003 he signed a four-year deal with the New Jersey Nets. But on November 25, 2003, Mourning retired from the NBA due to complications from his kidney disease. On December 19, 2003, he underwent a successful kidney transplant. In 2004, he started practicing with the Nets again, and made the team's regular season roster. The next season, he resigned with the Heat.
The Miami Heat and Mourning finally won the NBA Championship in the 2006 NBA Finals, defeating the Dallas Mavericks in six games. Although he was a reserve center behind Shaquille O'Neal during the Finals, he contributed 8 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 blocks in the decisive Game 6 of the series and was a strong force throughout.
Mourning finished his career with the Heat and became the team’s leading scorer during the 2008-09 season. He retired in January of 2009.
In 1997, Mourning established Alonzo Mourning Charities Inc. to aid in the development of children and families living in at-risk situations and provides support and services that enhance the lives of youth of promise. After being diagnosed with focal glomerulosclerosis (FSGS), Mourning launched Zo's Fund for Life, a campaign which seeks to raise funds for research, education, and testing to fight focal glomerulosclerosis. Funds are allocated toward research for a cure, education for doctors and the general public, testing for early detection and a fund for those not able to afford medication.