During his first tenure with the Miami Heat, Alonzo Mourning was a total animal. While he started out with the Charlotte Hornets, Mourning became a big name in South Beach and 19 years ago today, he more than likely had the best game of his NBA career. Mourning dropped a career high 50 points with 12 rebounds versus the Washington Bullets (present day Wizards) on March 29th, 1996.
Mourning has also shared his thought’s on the present day Miami Heat, and even some March Madness talk in a recent interview.
Mourning on the present standing of the Heat:
“Well, unfortunately, we have two keys players out. Josh [McRoberts] and Chris [Bosh]. If you tally that up, that’s about 30 points. That hurts, it really does. So when you’ve got about 30 points on your bench, it’s very difficult to fill that void and become a productive team. But considering the injuries we’ve had to deal with and the 20-something different starting lineups that we’ve had to go through over the course of the season, if we get into the Playoffs and start jelling, start stepping in and performing at the highest level, then we can threaten some teams.”
Mourning on the Heat getting Goran Dragic and if it could be big for the Heat the rest of the season:
“It could be. Significant guys, at their positions, if they start performing and get out of the thinking and just start reacting—it’s a new system for a guard. The defensive system, especially for a point guard, is very tough to grasp in the beginning years. It takes some time. But we have DWade, we have some legitimate scorers, and DWade’s an amazing playmaker. I feel like we really have the capabilities—it’s just a matter of the seeding, getting the right team, and seeing who we match up well against. I like our chances.”
Mourning on the way Pat Riley does things for the Heat in the front office part (taking care of players, giving other chances, etc.)
“That’s a Pat Riley thing. I think that’s the only way to do it, it really is. I think if you’re gonna be a consistent organization, you’ve gotta take care of your own people. You do. Every year, you can’t have turnover. First of all, Spo knows the culture—it’s just a matter of getting the guys to come in and buy into it. We had a great team for four years straight, and the reason why we had a great team was not just because we had the best player on the planet, it’s because we had the best team that bought into a culture. Everybody bought into this culture. After going to the Finals four years like that, I find it very difficult for individuals like we had to stop buying into the culture that got you four straight NBA Finals appearances. How do you stop buying into that? If you got there four years in a row, why not get back there four more times? And then four more times? Why not get back there 10 years in a row? It’s doable. And Pat Riley wasn’t gonna stop bringing pieces in to complement, you know? So why walk away from a dynasty?”
Mourning on if Kentucky will win it all:
“I feel like Coach Calipari has an amazing formula that these kids have bought into. Along with the talent, the depth, the athleticism—and serious depth. When you can go 10 deep into your bench, that gives you a lot of flexibility as a coach. But more importantly, these kids have trusted the system. I’ve seen some very talented teams, but if you don’t trust in the system or believe in the system, it doesn’t matter. Calipari has done a great job with that.”
We’ll see on the Heat part, but we are here to remember what Zo did 19 years ago today, which was beyond incredible.
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