Aug. 8, 2014
WASHINGTON - Former Georgetown University men's basketball All-American Alonzo Mourning (C'92) said that his induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Friday night in Springfield, Mass. wasn't so much about him as it was about others.
Mourning, a seven-time National Basketball Association (NBA) All-Star, was one of five players, coaches and teams inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Friday night.
The former Hoya was presented by his former college coach, and fellow Hall of Famer, John Thompson Jr., along with former Miami Heat Head Coach Pat Riley.
"This day is about everyone's selflessness that I have been trying to repay," Mourning said toward the end of his speech. "Thank you for this honor."
Mourning is one of only two Georgetown basketball players to have graduated with 2,000 or more points and 1,000 or more rebounds.
During his speech, he talked about his childhood and his decision to move into a foster home at the age of 10. He also talked glowingly of the people who looked after him, from his counselor to a judge and Fannie Threet, the woman who took him in, and to Thompson, his college coach.
A three-time All-America selection, he led the Hoyas to four NCAA appearances and three BIG EAST finals appearances from 1988 through 1992. As a senior, he became the first player ever named the BIG EAST Conference's Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, and Tournament MVP in the same season. He graduated with a degree in sociology.
"I became a good student at Georgetown," Mourning said, "but Coach (Thompson) wasn't satisfied. Ninety-eight percent of his players graduated. He wanted more."
Selected with the second pick in the 1992 NBA draft, Mourning became one of the NBA's most feared centers, with his matchups against former Hoya All-American Patrick Ewing providing some of the league's most exciting games over the years.
"I played every game like it was my last," he said, "and occasionally I threw an elbow or two.'
Mourning was diagnosed with a kidney disorder following the 2000 Olympics, where he helped lead the United States to a gold medal. He was sidelined during the 2002-03 season in an attempt to heal his kidneys and announced his retirement in the fall of 2003, receiving a kidney transplant soon thereafter.
Despite the concerns of friends and family that a return to the NBA could prove a threat to his health, he returned to the game a year later, playing a key role as the Miami Heat won the 2006 NBA title. In 13 seasons over 15 years, Mourning was a seven time NBA All-Star, averaging 18.9 points and nine rebounds a game.
"There was so much purpose to my life that I knew I could back from any odds," Mourning said.