Medical condition ends Mourning’s career
East Rutherford, NJ (Sports Network) – New Jersey Nets veteran center Alonzo
Mourning will no longer be able to continue his professional basketball
career, effective November 24, 2003, because of an existing medical condition.
Team president and general manager Rod Thorn delivered the sad news on Monday.
“It is with great sadness that I make this announcement,” said Thorn. “Alonzo
is a true champion and a very courageous athlete who attempted to defy the
odds with his comeback to the NBA. Unfortunately, his medical condition will
not allow him to continue his basketball career. Our thoughts and prayers are
with him as he continues his fight against this disease.”
Mourning, who missed the entire 2002-03 campaign with a kidney disorder, is
expected to undergo a kidney transplant soon. The 33-year-old Georgetown
product was diagnosed with focal segmental glomerulosclerosis in 2000, a
disease that causes chronic kidney failure.
“Alonzo Mourning has had a kidney disease due to focal glomerulosclerosis for
three years,” said Dr. Gerald Appel, kidney specialist at Columbia University
Medical Center. “Although through treatment he experienced a partial remission
of the disease and was able to return to vigorous physical activity and
playing professional basketball, in recent weeks, his kidney function has
“I, in consultation with team physicians, have concluded that it is no longer
medically safe for him to play basketball,” Appel added. “Although he still
feels well, the chemical imbalances in his blood make it dangerous for him to
play. Alonzo will need a kidney transplant in the near future to correct his
progressive renal failure, and a nationwide search is currently underway to
find a prospective donor.”
The seven-time All-Star and two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year left the
Miami Heat and signed a four-year, $22 million contract with the Nets last
July. He was cleared to play in May after a physical examination and became a
free agent on July 1 when the seven-year, $105 million contract he had signed
with the Heat expired.
Mourning’s best season came in 1995-96 while playing for Miami. The 6-10
center played in 70 games and averaged a career-high 23.2 points to go along
with 10.4 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 2.7 blocks.
He was originally selected by the Charlotte Hornets in the first round (second
pick overall) of the 1992 NBA Draft. He was traded by the Hornets along with
Pete Myers and LeRon Ellis in November 1995 to the Heat for Glen Rice, Matt
Geiger, Khalid Reeves, and a 1996 first-round draft pick.
Mourning, who was in his 12th NBA season, was also a member of the gold medal
winning 2000 Team USA Olympic Team and was named the 2000 USA Basketball Male
Athlete of the Year.
In 12 games this season, Mourning averaged 17.9 minutes, 8.0 points and 2.3
rebounds per contest.
“It’s a sad day in anyone’s life when they can no longer do what they love,
especially when they have no control over their situation,” said Pat Riley,
who coached Mourning when he played for the Heat. “Alonzo had been the
cornerstone of the Heat organization for eight years and continues to be a
role model in the Miami community. Our prayers and wishes go out to Alonzo
and his family during this very difficult time. Like the warrior he is, he
will fight this and prevail.”