MIAMI -- Some people wait a lifetime to get into the Hall of Fame. Alonzo Mourning is so busy in his post-NBA career that it seems like a challenge to squeeze in his own induction. Just in the past few weeks, Mourning has had plenty of tasks to juggle.
As a proud father, he recently settled his eldest son, Trey, in for his freshman year at Georgetown, where the young power-forward prospect will continue the family legacy of Hoyas big men.
As a community activist and champion for children's services, Mourning secured a $1 million grant from a healthcare conglomerate last month and has been implementing plans to use the funds for his Overtown Youth Center in Miami, among other programs.
And as one of the long-standing faces of the Miami Heat franchise even well into retirement, Mourning has been at the forefront of the team's push to restore confidence to a fan base that was devastated by LeBron James' abrupt free-agency departure to return to Cleveland last month.
Considering all that's been on his itinerary of late, Mourning probably didn't have to work this hard during his decorated playing career that spanned parts of 15 NBA seasons. But when one of the most dominant centers in NBA history enters Springfield for enshrinement ceremonies Friday, he'll do so essentially on the shoulders of three men who collectively changed, saved and redefined his life.
Nobody I've been around has more blood and sweat equity in this game than this man, Alonzo." -- Pat Riley
There's legendary Georgetown coach John Thompson, a lifelong mentor Mourning credits for teaching him how to be a responsible man.
There's Jason Cooper, the cousin who donated the kidney for the transplant that Mourning insists saved both his career and long-term health.
And there's Heat president Pat Riley, who gifted Mourning with lessons on professionalism, perseverance and patience on the way to ultimately becoming an NBA champion.
When Mourning gets his turn at the podium to deliver his acceptance speech, expect to hear and learn far more about the impact Thompson, Cooper and Riley had on Mourning's life and career than anything he has to say regarding the individual impact he's had on the game.
"I'm not going into the Hall of Fame alone," Mourning maintained in several interviews leading to Friday's induction. "I'm really taking in so many people that helped contribute to my well-being, not just as a professional athlete but as a person. I'm very thankful for the opportunities, and how each of those individuals gave me a piece of themselves throughout my life."
Mourning, who enters the Hall on his first ballot, anchors a 10-member class that also includes former players Mitch Richmond, Bob Leonard, Nat Clifton, Sarunas Marciulionis and Guy Rodgers; coaches Nolan Richardson and Gary Williams; former NBA commissioner David Stern and Immaculata University's women's championship teams from the early 1970s.
Mourning's basketball résumé speaks for itself. He was a seven-time All-Star, two-time defensive player of the year, Olympic Gold medalist and a member of the Heat's 2006 championship team. He played during an era that featured some of the all-time greatest centers in Hakeem Olajuwon, Patrick Ewing, David Robinson and Shaquille O'Neal.