Alonzo Mourning, 37, starred for Chesapeake's Indian River High and for Boo Williams' AAU team. He led Indian River to 51 straight victories and the state Group AAA title in his junior year (1987). As a senior, he averaged 25 points, 15 rebounds and 12 blocks per game. For Georgetown University, he led the nation in blocks in his freshman year and became an All-American in his last year. He was chosen second overall in the 1992 NBA draft by the Charlotte Hornets, and as an NBA player, he has averaged 17.4 points and 8.7 rebounds in 814 regular-season games. In 95 playoff games, he has averaged 13.6 points and 7.0 rebounds. He is a seven-time All-Star and a two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year (1999, 2000). Many people thought his career was over after he contracted a kidney disease, but after a transplant in December 2003, he steadily regained his strength and won his first NBA championship with Miami in 2006. He still plays for the Heat.
Question: How has the position of big man changed since you entered the NBA?
Answer: There's a lot more people taking their game outside. The big guys can shoot the ball, and some guys like Dirk (Nowitzki) are draining shots from 3. You see more and more guys come into the league playing outside of the paint.
Q: How has that change affected the game?
A: It means that there is less posting up deep in the paint. More guys don't have the low-post game, the technique, as opposed to having the outside shot. Now, there are still a lot of guys who play that back-to-the-basket, post-up game. There's still banging going on down there near the basket every possession. But there are more guys spotting up 20 feet from the basket.
Q: Has the influence of numerous sports highlight shows contributed to the decline of traditional big men? You don't see too many blocked shots on SportsCenter.
A: I don't think it's had anything to do with it. I think it's the talent level has increased, and guys athletically are using their ability to go after their own shots a whole lot more than they did in the past.
Q: At Indian River and then at Georgetown, you weren't known for your long-range outside shooting. When did that become part of your game?
A: I shot quite a bit of outside shots when I was in high school. I was a great outside shooter. In college, I didn't shoot as much from the outside as I did in high school. But any time I played pickup, that was a shot that I worked on quite a bit. I developed touch from outside by shooting it on a regular basis. When I got into the NBA, my first year, a lot of teams didn't realize that I could stretch it. I used to shoot 3 and 17-footers consistently. As I got a little older, I played a little more with my back to the basket. I still have quickness, I can face up and put teams or my opponent in a position where I can drive, shoot or pass.
Q: Who should the big men of tomorrow try to imitate?
A: Tim Duncan.
By Jake Simpson/Correspondent
kaynak : NBA