25 Ocak 2008

Mourning Not Ready To Quit

Heat center Alonzo Mourning said not to count him out yet. Speaking in specifics about the season-ending injuries to his right knee and leg sustained last month, he said Monday that Heat team physician Harlan Selesnick was originally concerned about his prospects of walking again. Mourning tore the patella tendon and quadriceps muscle in his right leg Dec. 19 — the fourth anniversary of his life-saving kidney transplant.

Mourning, 37, entered this season saying that this would be his last. But now he's not so sure.

"Right now, my focus is just to get healthy," Mourning said. "I haven't really thought about if I'm going to retire or not. But my focus is getting healthy, being able to run and walk, and once I overcome that hurdle I'll be prepared to let you know if I'm going to play again."

Gay picked for dunk contest: Grizzlies guard Rudy Gay was among four chosen to compete in the dunk contest at All-Star weekend. Defending champion Gerald Green of Minnesota, Toronto's Jamario Moon and Orlando's Dwight Howard round out the field for the event Feb. 16.

McGrady playing in pain: Rockets guard Tracy McGrady says he'll play the rest of the season with pain in his left knee.

"I can't rest to let it heal all the way up," he said. "It's something I'm going to have to tolerate." ... Lakers forward Trevor Ariza will be out about eight weeks because of a broken right foot. The Lakers signed center DJ Mbenga to a 10-day contract. He was cut by Golden State on Jan. 6.

kaynak : NBA


Dwyane Wade drives a white Mercedes, video in the front, bass in the back. The car is lot-fresh, no stray cups, not a glint of dust on the dash. "I'm organized," he explains as he drives away from the Heat's players garage, seat belt snug. "My house. My clothes. Everything looks nice. Suits with suits. Ties with ties. Matched out. I don't feel like I can think in a sloppy environment."

Wade is big on thinking. Thinking and pursuing and bettering and, more to the point, capitalizing. "My business," he explains as he revs the engine and merges onto the causeway, "is to do as much as I can. Acting. Producing. Modeling. Clothing line. All that. Restaurants. I want to do it all. I want to go global." Already fast becoming a household name because of his winning Converse, T-Mobile and Gatorade ads-and because of the none-too-small detail of his being one of the best basketball players gracing the game-Wade has decided he wants to be a brand. It's a goal shared by his new agency, William Morris, a firm with the juice to fulfill one's thirst for commercial domination. "It's not that I want it all now," Wade clarifies. "It's that the opportunity is now."

And only a fool thumbs his nose at opportunity.


"I've always been really ambitious. As a kid, I always thought I could do more than people thought I could. I'm not the kind of person who likes to be in a box." So Wade has looked into acting classes and clothing design. He enlarges his vocabulary, one word a week. "Immaculate was one," he says. "Cohorts. Lethargic. As in, 'I've been busy trying to get this lethargic team back on track.' " He laughs. "My teammates knock me for it. I get a lot of jokes. But," he pauses and smiles, "they enjoy my commercials."

Wade was once overlooked-not ignored, but something worse: underestimated. Then came Miami and Pat Riley and the All-Star team and a championship, and then the whole world got to see who he knew he'd been all along. Baby MJ. Flash. King of the impossible. "My will is my greatest strength," Wade explains. "My will to get there. That's why I'm here now. I willed myself."

His coach agrees. "In the past five years I've been surprised," Riley says. "We knew he'd be good, but nobody knew he'd be this good. The year we won, he was the best player in the world. Unfortunately, he has to come all the way back now." The shoulder and knee injuries and the surgeries that followed last season are obstacles, but not a worry. "He's a warrior," Riley says. The only concern lies in the hunger, the focus. "He's going through a lot of changes in his life, from where he came from to this incredible success. I tell him he needs to learn to leave a little on the table. He can't gobble up all of life right now-all the endorsements, all the businesses. You have to be true to who you are, as a person and as a player. I tell him, your greatest refuge is the court, it's what got you here. Sometimes young players get away from themselves with all the stuff that comes at them." Wade respectfully disagrees: "From Coach's perspective, yeah, it looks like I have a lot going on. From my perspective, I want more. It's my life. I know what I can take on."

WE WANT him to be sweet. To be the down-home guy we read about. The church tither. The teetotaler. The abstainer. The one-woman man who marries his high school sweetheart, the only girlfriend he ever had. The man who continues to love her without hesitation, even as impossibly hot Lolitas throw themselves at him, their phone numbers inked on their Apple Bottom jeans.



We like that mythology: the pure athlete, the sainted chosen one. Who cares how unfeasible it is to be 25 and rich and famous and also good-infallible, even. To never stray, or get publicly drunk, or speed in traffic, or make any of the morally questionable decisions everyone else makes, even people who are not young or rich or famous. D-Wade is sweet. But he is not Sandra Dee. He is not a unicorn.

He also is not stupid. He knows enough to say basketball comes first, because for now it does. He understands too how much of his brand success is about an image: husband, father of two, tattoo- and felony-free. But no one is perfect. "Uh, 2007 ain't been the best year," Wade concedes, referring not only to his injuries and the Heat's play-uneven on the good days-but also to those rumors of marital discord. His own sublime skills have shown signs of rust as he continues to play his way back into shape. He recently missed a potentially game-tying three as time expired against the Pacers-"I knew as soon as it left my hands that it wouldn't go in"-and followed that with a 6-for-22 a couple of nights later. "I don't know why bad games happen. It's mysterious. From one minute to the next you can go from great to bad, and you have no idea why. When that happens, I say to myself, Slow down." Or he'll just play through it. "I'm going to shoot until I get out of it."

No one blames Wade for the Heat's record, not even Wade himself. Basketball remains, as ever, a team sport. But when the man Riley calls "our inspiration" is sidelined for most of a season and is unpredictable for the rest, he can get a little down. He hates how the team has been playing, hates that he can't resurrect the magic of seasons past. But he won't give up. The next game, he tells himself, will be different: "My confidence comes from my upbringing. Nobody believed in me. They said I'd never make it." He stopped paying attention to what people say a long time ago. "When you're young, you want to be famous. You want to be known. But having your personal business out there is not fun. I hear things, I read things and just laugh. Speculation is speculation. The thing that sucks about gossip is people believe it."

They believe your marriage is all but over. They believe you canoodle with actresses and models. They believe you are getting your freak on all over South Beach. Wade admits that he and his wife, Siohvaughn, are in a rough patch, that his marriage, like everyone else's, has its ups and downs. But no papers have been filed, and the couple is diligently trying to work things out. If they don't, they don't. Either way, he has nothing to hide.

Wade mulls his morphing reputation from pious to player, both wrongheaded formulations, by his accounting. He says: "A lot of people early on, I'd hear them say, 'Dwyane don't go out, he don't have a good time.' Now, I don't drink, I don't smoke, but I've always been a guy who likes to have fun."

Shouldn't he be at home reading his Bible? He grins. "Temptation is a part of life. I'm strong, but I'm not immune to the world." A minute passes. Another smile. "This high-profile life hasn't changed me," he says, a sentiment echoed by his teammates, family members and friends. "I don't worry about losing my way. I know that whatever happens, I can get myself back on track."

AT A meet-and-greet at Miami's Holtz Children's Hospital two weeks before Christmas, Wade, Alonzo Mourning and most of their teammates are handed red-and-green elf caps. "Tell Alonzo he's gonna need a bigger hat," Wade cracks as he puts his on, cocked to the side, beret-style. "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas," he starts crooning to no one in particular when a nurse wearing stuffed reindeer antlers spots him and squeals. As he approaches, she fans herself with her hands. "Oh, lordy! Oh, lordy! D-Wade! D-Wade!" He smiles and gives his cap to her, takes the antlers off her head and puts them on his. The nurse, crimson now, steadies herself on a desk as Wade struts away, checking his antlered reflection in the glass of the X-ray room. "It brings out my eyes," he says, winking.

The players amble through the halls, visiting pediatric cancer patients and their families. In many rooms, Wade is the only player who's recognized, but even he is anonymous when he stops to visit Precious, a 9-year-old patient. Precious is playing a video game, and Wade sits on her bed and asks to play too: "What is this game? Scooby-Doo?" Precious giggles and buries her face in her hospital gown. "Do I gotta save somebody up in here?" he asks. Precious shrugs, batting her eyes at him.

The next room belongs to Drew, an older boy unable to speak clearly. Drew's parents have made T-shirts with their son's name on the back for the visiting players. The father has a speech ready, about fighting the good fight, and as he makes it, his voice wavers. The players struggle to find a place to look, all except Wade. He stares at Drew's father, right into his twitchy, damp face, then at Drew himself, slumped and trembling in a wheelchair. Wade listens and nods, then takes the T-shirt and pulls it over his own. Drew's father watches. "Please, please play for my son," he begs, tears dropping. "Remember Drew." Wade nods slowly. "We will," he says. "You are a hero," Drew's father whispers as the two men hug.

After the visit, Wade tells a television reporter that the hospital visit "is always a tremendous joy" and that "anytime you can make a difference to kids, you want to do more." The nurses and doctors who watch beam. "He is so special," whispers one. "Not like the others." On the way to his car, Wade swipes a latex glove from a countertop and inflates it into a makeshift balloon. He lobs the glove at Mourning's head, giggling as he does.

Driving home, Wade considers his own childhood, on the South Side of Chicago, when everything he knew pointed to failure. "We didn't see anybody who was a success at anything," he recalls. "I'm at peace with my past now. Sometimes when I think about it, it doesn't even seem real, like it wasn't even my life." Wade and his siblings grew up with a largely absent father, a heroin- and coke-addicted mother, Jolinda, acute poverty and unebbing fear. "He was scared around people," says older sister Tragil, with whom Wade shared a room, a bed, even shoes.



"The gangs, the drug dealers outside-they could have influenced Dwyane," she continues. "But Mom tried to keep it away. She'd shut her door. And Dwyane always made my mom feel so good. He wasn't ever ashamed of her. He was always like, 'That's my mom,' putting his arms around her. If she could have covered him with a tent and protected him from life, she would have."

Of course, she couldn't. That duty fell to Tragil, who, after mothering Wade as long as she could, took him to his father's home by bus when he was 8, leaving him to a different sort of life, one that included work and discipline and expectations. "When I left him," Tragil recalls, "he looked at me and said, 'Why are you crying?' He didn't know." Nor did he know what his father, Dwyane Sr., had in store for him. "My father made me play basketball," Wade says flatly, recalling his days and nights in Robbins, Ill., where his family eventually settled. "He made me shoot on the court, rain, sleet or snow. Dribbling all the time. Made me watch it on TV. I resented it. I remember I used to love playing the game more when he wasn't around." In time, though, Wade came around. From adversity sprang love, for the game and his father. "He wanted to live his dream through me," Wade explains without rancor. "Simple as that."

His mother, now a pastor after getting clean in 2001, made her own lasting contribution. "She's been saying that my picture is bigger than basketball since I was 5," Wade explains. "She said I have a higher calling than sports. And I believe her."

MIAMI IS a woeful 6-15 the day before its first home game in more than a week. Practice over, Wade emerges wearing a T-shirt, nylon pants and a diamond earring big enough to block the sun. Tragil wants him to sign some paperwork. Mom is calling about a new building for her church. The Heat need a win like Amy Winehouse needs a comb. But Wade Inc. rolls on, a thousand unmet desires plucking at him. Wade stays cool, ignoring the hype, plotting his course. "We won a championship, and I wasn't satisfied," he says. "That day we won was great. But a couple days later, I was back to reality." Wade knows from reality. He's seen the bottom, up close, so he knows what is really at stake, how lucky he is. And like everyone who claws his way out, he wants to put as much distance as he can between the starting and the finish lines.

"My future?" he says. "It looks different than this. I'm gonna try acting. I'm going after Denzel. He's a 10, I'm a .5-but that's where I'm headed." King Kong ain't got nothin' on D-Wade. "No one can expect more out of me than I expect out of myself," he says. When asked if he'll ever be content, he is quiet. "You know what I want?" he says, finally. "I want people to look at me and see a good person. I don't want to be known as a great athlete. I want to be known as a great human being."

Mourning, friend and mentor, says he already sees the makings of that greatness. "He wows you, he really does," says the 37-year-old, whose season has since ended with a knee injury. "He's 25, but he carries himself like he's in his 30s. He's handled his fame maturely." Still, Mourning worries. "He takes stardom to a totally different level. Every time you turn on the TV, there he is. Billboards everywhere. I have deep concerns about him, because of society. They've put him on a pedestal, but the slightest mistake he makes, they'll be quick to make him headline news."

Wade remains unfazed. "The foundation of who I am hasn't changed," he says. "I've changed in that I've become more of a man, and I'm more outspoken now." Earlier this season he gave a public smackdown to Shaq, a dis the big man later said was deserved. "A few years ago I'd never have said anything," Wade says. "When I was younger, I was so shy that I'd be scared to ask for seconds at Sunday dinner."

Wade talks about how, as a young man, he'd fall asleep thinking about his goals, willing himself to dream about the NBA, hitting game-winners, playing on championship teams. And about how, before he knew it, all those dreams came true. "Sometimes I'm just driving my car and I think, I'm driving a Mercedes-Benz. Where I came from to a Mercedes-Benz-it's like a fairy tale." He exhales. "Looking back, I wish I would have dreamed a little more."

Don't misunderstand. Sure, he wants it all, because he had nothing, because there are holes to fill and hurts to smooth. But at the heart of this story lives basketball. Wade loves the sport like a woman: deep in the muscle, rattling and true. He penned a love letter to the game in the off-season: "You've had my heart since I first laid eyes on you."

"Basketball is more than a sport to me," he says. "It's my way out. My best friend. I get a feeling when I'm on the court, like I'm another person. I don't feel like Dwyane Wade. I feel like I matter." He falls silent again, then changes the subject. "You know who I love right now?" he asks. "McLovin, from Superbad. That guy is hilarious.

"I see all kinds of movies," he continues. "But I don't like sad ones. If I have a choice, I'm going to go for the happy ending."

kaynak : NBA

Alonzo Mourning May Not Retire After All

When ZO went down with a torn patella tendon and quadriceps in his right leg last month, most of us assumed that . After all, he was pretty clear before the injury that this would be his final season, and considering how badly he messed up his knee, there's really no chance of him returning this year.

But while talking to reporters on Monday, Mourning made it clear that he's un-made up his mind about 2008-09 and is leaving the door open for a:
"Right now, my focus is just to get healthy," Mourning said. "I haven't really thought about if I'm going to retire or not. But my focus is getting healthy, being able to run and walk, and once I overcome that hurdle I'll be prepared to let you know if I'm going to play again."
Especially considering all that he's overcome in his career, Mourning has actually aged quite gracefully and remains a tenacious defender and capable rebounder -- before going down, he was certainly one of the top backup centers in the league.

But what's his incentive to return? Is it just to prove that he can? He's already won a title, he's already made more money than he'll ever spend and he's cemented his status as one of the toughest players to ever play the game. The Heat, meanwhile, are simply terrible, and while they'll be better next year (imagine Derrick Rose or Michael Beasley joining the starting lineup), it's too early to think they'll be a legitimate playoff team. Mourning has been loyal to Pat Riley, but this year before moving to the front-office full-time. I could be wrong, but I'm guessing we've seen the last of Mourning.
kaynak : NBA

Alonzo Mourning and Earvin 'Magic' Johnson

Alonzo Mourning and Earvin 'Magic' Johnson Host 4th Annual 'Boost Mobile Zo & Magic's 8-Ball Challenge', Presented By G2 From The Makers Of Gatorade With Returning Host Chris 'Ludacris' Bridges

Star-Studded Competitive Pool Tournament Benefits Youth and the New Orleans Community Through Alonzo Mourning Charities & The Magic Johnson Foundation

On Thursday, February 14, 2008, the hottest showdown of stars on and off the court will take place at The Sugar Mill during the NBA All-Star Weekend. NBA All-Star Alonzo Mourning of the Miami Heat and NBA Legend Earvin "Magic" Johnson team up along with Title Sponsor Boost Mobile, Presenting Sponsor G2 from the makers of Gatorade, and Official Vehicle Sponsor Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., to usher in the 2008 "Boost Mobile Zo & Magic's 8-Ball Challenge," along with Grammy winner Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, who returns for hosting duties for the second straight year.

The annual 8-Ball Challenge, now in its 4th year and one of All-Star Weekend's most popular events, is a competitive celebrity pool tournament that's grown bigger and better every year, raising over $750,000 to support youth and community causes. Says Mourning, "This is the fourth year of the 8-Ball Challenge and the third time I am partnering with Earvin on the event, which has found success beyond my expectations in such a short time. Magic and I are excited to be with the great people of New Orleans for this year's tournament, a community that has continued to show great perseverance and pride in restoring its city's rich heritage. We feel blessed to come into this community and appreciate the substantial support that the 8-Ball Challenge has amassed from the local cities, celebrities and corporations over the years."

The 8-Ball Challenge, and its partners, are proud to have adopted New Orleans own West Jefferson High School, a school in many ways still crippled by its needs and the impact of Hurricane Katrina. Proceeds from the event will assist the school in opening a new computer lab for its students.

With additional generosity from Diamond Billiards providing pool tables in partnership with Simonis Cloth and, and support from stars including Dwyane Wade (Miami Heat), Chris Paul (New Orleans Hornets), Baron Davis (Golden State Warriors), actress Vivica Fox, Greg Oden (Portland Trailblazers), Carlos Boozer (Utah Jazz), Caron Butler (Washington Wizards), Julius "Dr. J" Erving, Reggie Bush (New Orleans Saints), and Kevin Garnett (Boston Celtics), it's anyone's guess who will go down first, in this round- robin style battle of thirty-two (32) double's teams.

The 8-Ball Challenge has fast become the most anticipated event and classiest new tradition of the NBA All-Star Weekend. Alonzo Mourning hosted the first 8-Ball Challenge in 2005 to runaway success with Denver Nuggets phenom Carmelo Anthony.

In the subsequent 8-Ball Challenges in 2006 and 2007, he partnered with fellow long-time philanthropist and entrepreneur Earvin "Magic" Johnson, which have shown a spirit for giving that is sure to be outmatched in New Orleans, as the 8-Ball Challenges have crowned new winners and raised bigger funds each year to help underprivileged youth and families through their Alonzo Mourning Charities and the Magic Johnson Foundation. Each year different winners have taken home the grand prize - from NBA star Paul Pierce in 2005 and Atlanta radio personalities Doug and Ryan Stewart of the "2 Live Stews" winning the tournament in 2006, to Mourning with his partner, artist Alonzo Adams, taking the win in 2007. Mourning is looking to repeat his win and reap even greater success than last year.

"Every year, we make it the hottest event at All-Star. There's always exciting and unpredictable things happening," says Earvin "Magic" Johnson. "It'll be even more special this year, in New Orleans. It's important to be in this city and support the rebuilding of this community."

The 8-Ball Challenges have attracted a who's who of sports and entertainment, such as Big Boi, Bow Wow, Cedric The Entertainer, Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, Gabrielle Union, Nick Cannon, Queen Latifah, Regina King, Vivica Fox, sports stars and legends like Carmelo Anthony, Charles Barkley, Dwyane Wade, boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr., Jeanette "The Black Widow" Lee, Julius "Dr. J" Erving, LeBron James, Michael Jordan, Paul Pierce, Reggie Bush, Scottie Pippen, Shaquille O'Neal, and Terrell Owens.

There will also be a host of other exciting activities and displays during the night including the showcase of the all-new 2008 Toyota Sequoia Platinum edition. All of the net proceeds raised will benefit programs supported by Alonzo Mourning Charities, Inc. and the Magic Johnson Foundation. Alonzo Mourning Charities and the Magic Johnson Foundation will also do a variety of projects in the community during the week and NBA All-Star Weekend. Among them includes a visit by Alonzo Mourning Charities on February 15th to West Jefferson High School (Harvey, LA) to participate in an ongoing project and donate computers and other support, and HIV testing conducted by the Magic Johnson Foundation on February 15th in New Orleans.

kaynak : NBA

17 Ocak 2008

Mourning says he's retiring, Heat disagrees

With a current record of 8-29, you would have to say the Miami Heat's personnel problems this season are largely on the court. But team management might also want to consider improving their public relations staff.

On Monday an interview of Alonzo Mourning appeared on the team's website in which the veteran NBA centre said: "Yes. I'm retired. This is it for me."

A few hours later, however, the team removed the interview. A spokesman told the Palm Beach Post: "A mistake was made and it's not an accurate story and it's been pulled, with our apologies."

The team's denial is utterly baffling, since the entire world seems to know Mourning is retiring. Ever since his kidney transplant in the 2002-03 season, he has been a likely candidate to do so.

Then, before this season began, the 38-year-old said it would likely be his final year in the league. That statement seemed like a sure thing after Dec. 20, when Mourning underwent season-ending surgery on his right knee.

The injury had occured a day earlier in Atlanta. Mourning refused to leave the game on a gurney, and instead walked off with the help of teammates.

After the game he told:

"That's not the way I envisioned myself walking off the court for the last time in my career." he said.

kaynak : NBA

16 Ocak 2008

Mourning continues to ponder NBA future, say Heat

Alonzo Mourning's NBA future was cast further in doubt Monday after the Miami Heat posted then removed a story on their web site saying he calling it quits.

Mourning had said before the season this would be his last but the campaign came to a premature end December 19 when he tore the patella tendon and quadriceps tendon in his right knee.

The injury came as Mourning ran down the court and landed under the rim to position himself to block a shot in the first quarter of an eventual 117-111 Miami overtime loss to Atlanta.

Mourning underwent surgery but an announcement on the Heat web site Monday seemed to indicate he was finished.

"I'm retired. This is it for me," Mourning said. "There's a possibility that I can explore some coaching opportunities if at the particular time I'm in the right frame of mind."

The two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year had already defied Father Time just by lasting this long, becoming the first player in US sport to take the court following a kidney transplant.

Mourning suffered from a rare kidney disease and stepped away from the game after the 2003 diagnosis but returned for the 2004-2005 season after the transplant.

Mourning averaged 17.1 points and 8.5 rebounds a game over 837 NBA appearances for Miami, the Charlotte Hornets and New Jersey after being taken second overall in the 1992 NBA Draft.

His only NBA title came in 2006 with the Heat.

kaynak : NBA

Mourning retires, then doesn't, kinda

For a few hours Monday, it appeared Alonzo Mourning had made the official announcement concerning his expected retirement.

But the Heat was not ready to announce that one of the most respected figures in team history has finished his playing career.

In an interview on the team Web site, Mourning said: "Yes. I'm retired. This is it for me." The Heat, however, said the report was premature and removed the Q&A.

"A mistake was made and it's not an accurate story and it's been pulled, with our apologies," Heat spokesman Tim Donovan said.

Mourning's was responding to the question: "Have you completely ruled out coming back for another season?"

Mourning, who turns 38 next month, said before the season this would be his final year. On Dec. 19 in Atlanta he tore the patellar tendon in his right knee and underwent surgery the next day.

And although he never said he was officially retired, Mourning's actions and words were clear.

Mourning refused to be wheeled off the court on a gurney after landing awkwardly on his leg. "That's not the way I envisioned myself (leaving) the court for the last time in my career," he said following the game. Instead, he called for two teammates to assist him. Mourning then hobbled off the floor with his arms around Dwyane Wade and Earl Barron.

Following the game he said: "It's disappointing to even think my career would end this way, but there are so many other things that life has to offer for me."

Mourning's career was interrupted when he was diagnosed with Focal Glomerulosclerosis, a degenerative kidney disease, before the 2000-01 season. He eventually needed a kidney transplant that forced him to sit out the entire 2002-03 season, and all but 12 games in 2003-04.

His final three years were spent as arguably the best backup center in the league, as he played behind Shaquille O'Neal in Miami.

Mourning is involved in several causes, including Alonzo Mourning Charities. He led a campaign to raise a minimum of $2 million in funds for research, education and testing to fight Focal Glomerulosclerosis.

When asked in the Heat Insider interview when he thought it would hit him that he is retired, Mourning said: "Next season when I won't be showing up for training camp and media day. That's when it will really him me that it's over with."

When asked if he aspired to be elected to the Hall of Fame, he said: "Hearing your name being called in the Hall of Fame, that's great. But there are so many more issues that need to be addressed. My humanitarian efforts are more important than being elected into the Hall of Fame."

kaynak : NBA

Shaq looks 'pretty good' in short practice return

Heat center Shaquille O'Neal went through only half of Monday's practice because of tightness in his injured left hip. That means there's no assurance he'll be ready to start Wednesday and play 30 minutes - a normal workload for him - when the Chicago Bulls visit to start a seven-game homestand.

O'Neal, who returned to South Florida on Saturday night after spending five days in Los Angeles seeing a specialist to treat the bursitis in the hip, has missed the past eight games.

Coach Pat Riley said he wasn't concerned that O'Neal didn't go through the entire practice.

"We'll probably give him a little bit more (today) and by Wednesday he'll be ready to give us whatever he can give us," Riley said.

"He looked pretty good for the half-practice he was in there."

O'Neal didn't speak with reporters Monday, but guard Dwyane Wade concurred with Riley's assessment.

"His conditioning has to come back," Wade said, "but he did some explosive things, which is good.

"He was dunking the ball, getting up and down (the court). It was good to get him back in the mix, run offense with him."

Riley is hoping Wednesday to use his full nine-man rotation - starters Wade, Jason Williams, Dorell Wright, Udonis Haslem and O'Neal along with reserves Ricky Davis, Mark Blount, Chris Quinn and Daequan Cook - which has been intact only twice this season.

Miami is 0-2 in those two games, a 115-89 loss at Denver on Dec. 2, and a 106-103 loss to Indiana on Dec. 15. Alonzo Mourning, out for the season with a knee injury, was in the rotation for those games and has since been replaced by Blount.

Getting its top nine players on the court consistently is a humble goal, but the Heat is 8-28 and has lost 10 in a row, so anything might help.

Monday's practice also marked the first time in more than a month that Miami had together its 13-man roster. The others on the full, 15-man roster are Mourning and guard Smush Parker, who remains inactive for disciplinary reasons.

"We at least want to go into the last 46 games confident we have our guys to go to war with every night," Wade said. "Hopefully we can do that."

kaynak : NBA

12 Ocak 2008

Not As Easy As 4, 5, 6

Sometimes an error is so egregious, so remarkable, so incomprehensible, that the astounding happens.

The NBA upholds a protest.

When Miami played Dec. 19 in Atlanta, the Hawks scoring staff was presented with this rather minimal challenge when it came to tracking the fouls of HEAT center Shaquille O'Neal:

Count to six.

Somehow, after getting to four they advanced directly to six, ruled O'Neal had been disqualified, ordered him off the floor with 51.9 seconds left in overtime in what turned into a 117-111 HEAT loss.

Heck, if it was a college game, it would have been O'Neal's time to go.

Only it wasn't. And this was supposed to be a professionally run professional game.

So on March 8, when Miami makes it final scheduled appearance of the season in Atlanta, it will play two.

First it will complete that Dec. 19 game, under the order of Commissioner David Stern, with the HEAT in possession down 114-111 with those 51.9 seconds to play, and O'Neal eligible to play on.

Considering the plight of the HEAT, it is doubtful even a doubleheader sweep would make much of a difference at that stage of the season.

But for the Hawks, the removal of a victory from the standings could be huge, with the battle for the final playoff berths in the Eastern Conference likely to come down to the final days of the season.

In issuing his reversal, Stern ruled:

"The Hawks were grossly negligent in committing this scoring error, since they failed to follow league-mandated scoring procedures and failed to respond effectively when the members of the statisticians' crew noticed the mistake. Because of this conduct by Atlanta's personnel, Miami suffered a clear competitive disadvantage, as O'Neal -- the HEAT's second leading scorer and rebounder that night -- was removed from a one-point game with only 51.9 seconds remaining."

In dispute in that Dec. 19 game was a foul called on the HEAT with 3:24 to play in the fourth quarter, one initially assessed to power forward Udonis Haslem and later changed by the Hawks scoring crew to justify the O'Neal disqualification.

By winning its protest, the HEAT was refunded its $10,000 protest fee, while the Hawks were fined $50,000.

To a degree, the error is understandable in these days of revenue maximization.

In order to create additional courtside seating, some of the scoring previously handled at courtside at Philips Arena and several other NBA venues is now handled elsewhere, often at a distance from center court.

That hardly makes double-checking the simplest of matters.

The difference with the Hawks is there is a history of sketchy math in place.

Just over a year ago, the Atlanta scoring table failed to record two points on a fourth-quarter layup by Toronto guard T.J. Ford in what turned into a 97-95 loss for the Raptors, in essence making them repeat offenders, although no protest was involved in that discrepancy.

Fool the box score once, well, it's a shame the opposition got shortchanged.

Fool it again, and there will be a price to pay.

Knowing the HEAT's situation, after all these machinations, O'Neal probably will come up with some sort of injury and not even be available for the replay.

It is difficult enough these days to get O'Neal to play one game, let alone participate in two the same night.

"In my mind," Haslem said, "we didn't play well enough to win and didn't deserve to win, so I was trying to move on. Now, we'll just try to take advantage of it."

Nonetheless, there could be a saving grace for the going-nowhere HEAT.

For those who forget, the game in dispute is the one when HEAT center Alonzo Mourning went down with a devastating knee injury that required major surgery the following day.

The injury not only is season ending, but, at Mourning's age, likely career-ending as well.

Now there is a chance Mourning could go out as a winner in what is expected to be his final regular-season appearance.

He deserves that every bit as much as the HEAT deserved the replay.

kaynak : NBA

11 Ocak 2008

Mourning, productive and inspiring, should make HOF

Before being diagnosed with a kidney disease in 2000, Alonzo Mourning averaged 21.1 points, 10.1 rebounds and 3.1 blocks in his first eight seasons.
Before being diagnosed with a kidney disease in 2000, Alonzo Mourning averaged 21.1 points, 10.1 rebounds and 3.1 blocks in his first eight seasons.
Eliot J. Schechter/Getty Images

5 Reasons to elect Alonzo Mourning to the Hall of Fame

5. He played long enough. It will require a complicated argument to install Mourning in the Hall, because his career was cut short at its peak when he was diagnosed with a life-threatening kidney disease at 30. Nonetheless, he still has played 838 games and 11 full NBA seasons (in addition to four seasons of 37 games or fewer), which exceeds the timelines of Hall of Fame centers like Willis Reed (650 games), Neil Johnston (516) and Dave Cowens (766).

4. His humanitarian work. What does this have to do with the Hall of Fame? Plenty, I say. Mourning is one of the most charitably minded stars in the history of the league, and his work on behalf of kidney research and community services in Miami and beyond elevated the NBA when it was desperate for good publicity.

3. His accomplishments on the court. If Mourning indeed retires at 37 after undergoing major knee surgery last month, he'll leave with two Defensive Player of the Year awards, gold medals in the FIBA World Championships and the Olympics and an NBA championship he won with Miami in 2005-06. Those achievements cross the threshold.

2. His career before his illness. It's important to consider who Mourning was -- and what he appeared certain to accomplish -- before his illness. In his first eight seasons, he averaged 21.1 points, 10.1 rebounds and 3.1 blocks. In a full 15-season career, he could have become one of the top five shot-blockers (he stands No. 10 today) with a chance at surpassing 20,000 points, which in combination with his other achievements would have assured his election to the Hall.

1. His comeback. Mourning's recovery from focal glomerulosclerosis, a disease that scars the kidneys and impairs them from filtering bodily wastes, puts him over the top. After Mourning underwent his kidney transplant as a 33-year-old in 2003, he was barely able to bench-press 20-pound dumbbells. He rebuilt his body while taking more than 20 pills per day, including cholesterol and blood-pressure medications to counteract side effects of his antirejection drugs, and during practices and games he wore a plastic shield reinforced with foam padding to protect his kidney.

While he created some bad feelings by forcing his way out of New Jersey and Toronto on his way back to Miami after the transplant, I tended to see those moves in the context of Mourning's extraordinary effort to turn his recovery into a meaningful experience. In this case, I would argue that the end justified the means: He was a team leader and crucial player in Miami's 2005-06 championship season. It is a story that belongs in the Hall of Fame.

4 Stars with presidential traits

4. Kevin Garnett as Barack Obama. Like Obama, KG is a unifier and a preacher of hope as well as The Story of this NBA season. But can he finish what he has started?

3. Tim Duncan as John McCain. You know what Duncan stands for and he's going to stick to his principles regardless of what anybody thinks. Like McCain over the previous year, Duncan tends to withdraw during much of the regular season before gathering momentum for the big postseason run.

2. Steve Nash as John Edwards. Nash carries a populist message -- he plays with passion in the name of team play, and he wasn't afraid to speak out against the war in Iraq. He has a hardcore following, but will he ever get over the top?

1. Kobe Bryant as Hilary Clinton. Kobe is a polarizing figure with high positives and negatives. He is trying to revive his championship legacy of a few years ago, but a return to the NBA Finals no longer seems inevitable

3 Questions rescued from the spam

Toronto's Jose Calderon has shined since becoming the full-time starting point guard in T.J. Ford's absence.
Toronto's Jose Calderon has shined since becoming the full-time starting point guard in T.J. Ford's absence.

3. Why no love for Jose Calderon? He leads the NBA in assist-to-turnover ratio (6.15 to 1). Since T.J. Ford went down, he has been a true All-Star! The only reason he's not ranked higher than sixth in the league in assists is because he's averaging only 29.7 minutes a game.
-- Peter Tomilson, Rothesay, New Brunswick

This was a source of great consternation when I declined to include Calderon among my contenders for the All-Star Game. Some of the anger that spewed from my fellow Canadians (yes, I am one with you) was the same kind of language that leads to a five-minute major. I bet 95 percent of the complaints came from Canada, and you would have thought I'd raised the flag upside-down.

Here's the deal on Calderon. I was thinking about mentioning him as an All-Star contender but bumped him in order to make a joke about Stephon Marbury. (A lot of you were overly quick to react to that one too -- gotcha.) As well as Calderon is playing, can someone who has never averaged 30 minutes and has never dominated in the NBA be considered an All-Star? He's a terrific player, I love the way he plays, but I think it's premature to call him an All-Star ... now watch the Eastern Conference coaches pick him as a reserve.

2. I think it's funny that you include the Marbury statement as a joke but legitimately list Shaq as the backup at center. Shaq has had a great career and was great three years ago, but why not give it to someone who's deserving, like Rasheed Wallace on the second-best team, or Zydrunas Ilgauskas, the best-shooting center in the game?
-- Nick, Cleveland

Both Wallace and Ilgauskas merit consideration, but the All-Star Game without Shaq? I just can't imagine it. Plus, it's not like Ilgauskas and Rasheed are going for 20 and 10 every night.

1. I understand the team's record and lack of nationally televised games, but how do you not even mention Al Jefferson?
-- LC of Minneapolis

Because of the team's record and lack of nationally televised games ... I'm kidding on the second part. But the Timberwolves have won five games, and Jefferson isn't Shaq. Jefferson will be in contention when he leads Minnesota's resurgence.

2 Groups to keep in mind approaching the Feb. 21 trading deadline

2. Players in need of a new home

Jason Kidd, Nets: He'll be the top prize at the deadline, but which contender can assemble a package acceptable to New Jersey? It's not going to be easy.

Damon Stoudamire, Grizzlies: He would love to enhance a winning team with leadership and shooting.

Zaza Pachulia, Hawks: Al Horford has claimed his minutes, and his $4 million salary is attractive.

Mike James, Rockets: Houston has one point guard too many, and a lot of teams need help in the backcourt.

Hakim Warrick, Grizzlies: His minutes have been sliced in half this year, but he remains an efficient scorer and mismatch-maker.

1. Teams in need of a new player

Cavaliers: Andre Miller or an additional shooter could help Cleveland make a second-half run.

Bulls: Could Jermaine O'Neal provide the low-post scoring to turn around their season?

Kings: They could hasten their rebuilding by moving Mike Bibby at the deadline, and Brad Miller's stock is up as well.

Warriors and Hornets: Both teams need to strengthen their reserves. Could Golden State send a package to New Orleans that would land Bobby Jackson as a backup to Baron Davis?

Mavericks: They may be looking to bring in another veteran for the stretch run, though acquiring Kidd may be too great a makeover.

1 Last thought on the All-Star selections

An NBA scout makes his pitch for guard Brandon Roy, who has led the Trail Blazers to their 17-1 streak:

"I think he's as good as Chris Paul, Deron Williams and those other guys. I don't know if he's going to stand up physically, but right now he makes the guys on his team better. He's a prober who gets guys in the right places so they're just playing off him. He gets inside the defense and then gets the ball out to them. He can score even though that's not what he's really about, and he's deceivingly athletic -- you may not see it for four or five games, but then he'll have a play like the time they put him on Carmelo Anthony and at the end of the game he blocked Carmelo's shot on a post-up. He can play left hand, right hand, he can play with contact. This guy is an All-Star, no question.''

kaynak : NBA

Big Man On Campus

He’s one of the nation’s best college basketball players. But Roy Hibbert put his NBA dreams on hold to play his senior year at Georgetown, hoping to win another national championship for the Hoyas.

As an eighth-grader playing basketball in Silver Spring, Roy Hibbert was something of a liability for his team. The then-six-foot-eight player kept racking up technical fouls for dunking, which CYO rules forbid. But when the hoop is that close, what’s a kid to do?

These days, when he’s center for the Georgetown Hoyas, no one minds Hibbert’s dunking. Last season he averaged 13 points a game, sometimes offering the performances of which high NBA draft picks are made.

“He has great hands and passing ability, good footwork, and great timing,” says Alonzo Mourning, another star center who played for Georgetown and who is now with the Miami Heat.

Hibbert submitted his name for the draft in mid-April alongside fellow junior Jeff Green but pulled it back a few weeks later, deciding to finish his final year at Georgetown. Green was the number-five pick in the draft and went to the Seattle SuperSonics.

“The opportunity will hopefully be there for me next year,” says Hibbert. “I’m committed to Georgetown and getting my degree.”

That degree will be in government. His interest in politics explains why one former teammate took to calling him “governor”—as in a future governor of Maryland. “Hopefully that’s down the line after a basketball career,” says Hibbert.

The Adelphi native has been playing on the Hilltop since he was a freshman at Georgetown Prep, scrimmaging with college players. “The older guys knocked me around,” Hibbert says. But he kept going back, and those matchups helped improve his coordination and low-post skills enough to earn the attention of Georgetown recruiters.

The NBA waits while Hibbert is enjoying his time being a college senior: getting up for morning classes, playing Xbox, and experiencing the celebrity afforded a Big East champion. Hibbert says he doesn’t relish the spotlight.

“People will come up to me and give me high-fives, but I’m just a guy that’s real quiet,” he says. “I don’t like to be the center of attention.”

Following in Their Footsteps

How does Hibbert stack up against the Hoyas’ two legends at center? He’s not in their league yet—but he was well behind Ewing and Mourning when he got to Georgetown, and he’s getting stronger and better.

Roy Hibbert

Height: seven-foot-two

Minutes per game: 23

Points per game: 10

Rebounds per game: 6

Blocks per game: 2

Field-goal percentage: 60

Patrick Ewing

Height: seven feet

Minutes per game: 31

Points per game: 15

Rebounds per game: 9

Blocks per game: 3

Field-goal percentage: 62

top pick in 1985 NBA draft

Alonzo Mourning

Height: six-foot-ten

Minutes per game: 30

Points per game: 17

Rebounds per game: 9

Blocks per game: 4

Field-goal percentage: 57

second pick in 1992 NBA draft

kaynak : NBA

Hines will see number retired, keep playing

You know you're good when your school informs you it's going to retire your jersey.

But you're the man when your school informs you it's going to retire your jersey and you haven't even finished your eligibility.

On Feb. 28, UNC Greensboro will hang Kyle Hines' No. 42 from the rafters at Fleming Gym. Then Hines and the Spartans (9-4, 3-1) will hope to go out and beat Southern Conference North rival Chattanooga. It will be a tall order, as the Moccasins (10-5, 5-0) are off to the best start in the league.

Only two other men's basketball players at UNCG have had their numbers retired, and neither was active.

"I am not sure what to say – I am speechless," Hines said. "All along, this has been about team achievement. I have always said that I would trade all of the individual honors and records for a conference title and a trip to the NCAA Tournament, and that could never be truer. We have a lot of season left and that is clearly our focus and, specifically, will remain my own.

"The recognition is truly special and, like many of the achievements I have had to date, will be one of those things that down the road will have a tremendous amount of meaning to me."

Hines, a 6-foot-6 power forward, has scored in double figures in 63 consecutive games. This season he's averaging 17.5 points and 9.0 rebounds. He had 25 points and nine rebounds in a season-opening win at Georgia Tech.

Should he maintain his current averages, Hines will top 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 300 blocks for his career. Only five players in NCAA history have accomplished the feat, and it's heady company. The others are David Robinson (Navy), Pervis Ellison (Louisville), Derrick Coleman (Syracuse), Alonzo Mourning (Georgetown) and Tim Duncan (Wake Forest). Four in that quintet were No. 1 overall picks in the NBA. Mourning was taken No. 2 overall in the 1992 draft, behind Shaquille O'Neal.

"Kyle has represented this university in a tremendous way as a student-athlete and ambassador, not just as a basketball player," Spartans athletic director Nelson E. Bobb said. "We felt we had to do whatever we could to show our gratitude to this young man. Along with that, he is on his way to basketball history, not just in the history of this university but on a national level as well."


Each week basketball editor Bob McClellan will pick six things to watch for over the weekend:

1. Washington State at UCLA. The fourth-ranked Cougars (13-0) lock down teams. They are No. 1 in the nation in scoring defense, yielding fewer than 50 points per game; no other team is within 3.5 points. To give you some idea, the teams ranked 2-11 are within 3.5 points of each other. Of course, one of those teams is the Bruins (14-1). They've also been known to play a little bit of defense, giving up 54.9 points per game. Whatever happens at Pauley Pavilion on Saturday probably isn't going to pretty. But it's going to be intense and physical, and there's no way I'll miss it.

2. Michael Beasley vs. Blake Griffin. Kansas State's Beasley (24.3 ppg, 13.3 rpg) is the leader in the clubhouse for national freshman of the year honors. But Oklahoma's Griffin (14.7 ppg, 8.8 rpg), another five-star prospect, is a tough customer who ranks fifth nationally in rebounding among freshmen and has five double-doubles (to Beasley's 13). Oklahoma (12-3) has been better than Kansas State (10-4) and has built an impressive résumé so far with wins over Arkansas, Gonzaga and West Virginia. With the game in Norman, this is one the Sooners have to have.

3. The Rupp Arena welcome mat. Vanderbilt (15-0) rolls into Lexington, where Kentucky has been an all-too-kind host this season. The Wildcats (6-7) already have lost five home games this season; they'd never lost more than three at home before the SEC season started. Also, the Commodores have a two-game winning streak at Rupp after losing every game they had played in the building, which opened in 1976. Will Billy Gillispie and Co. have something up their sleeve with all week to prepare?

4. Notre Dame at Marquette. The Irish (12-2, 2-0) are off to a hot start despite being mostly overlooked in the non-conference portion of their schedule. The No. 15 Golden Eagles (12-2, 2-1) have been ranked all season. The winner is a strong candidate to emerge as the top challenger to Georgetown in the Big East. Notre Dame is stronger up front with Luke Harangody (18.2 ppg, 9.5 rpg) and Rob Kurz (13.7 ppg, 8.3 rpg), while Marquette counters with the three-guard trio of Dominic James (14.8 ppg), Jerel McNeal (13.2 ppg) and Wesley Matthews (10.1 ppg).

5. The Big Ten of tomorrow. Saturday's Ohio State-Purdue game in West Lafayette, Ind., features no less than seven freshmen who are averaging at least 7.0 points per game. The Buckeyes' leading scorer is five-star freshman forward Kosta Koufos (15.1 ppg). The Boilermakers' leading scorer is four-star freshman forward Scott Martin (10.5 ppg). Purdue nearly pulled off a huge upset Tuesday night at Michigan State. The future looks bright for both schools.

6. UNC-Asheville center Kenny George vs. Liberty. OK, I'll admit it: I'm fascinated by George, whom the Bulldogs list at 7-7 and 360 pounds. He had seven blocks in just 14 minutes last season against Liberty. This season he has improved his stamina - he's averaging 22.2 minutes per game. His career high in blocks is 10, which he has done twice this season. The Flames have one starter within a foot of George, 6-8 senior Alex McLean. A new career high could be on its way.

kaynak : NBA

9 Ocak 2008

A word from Captain Obvious

The four players most susceptible to long-term or debilitating injury — Shaquille O’Neal, Alonzo Mourning, Jason Williams and Dwyane Wade — are either out or significantly slowed.

This is no shock. It was practically inevitable. Everyone knew this was going to happen. And, yes, possibly to this extent. Look at each player’s recent history. And things could still get worse.

Nevertheless, and quite amazingly, the Heat wasn’t prepared to deal with these injuries. President/coach Pat Riley has been very candid about taking responsibility for a failed off-season that was filled with bad personnel moves. He’s not ducking anything or making excuses.

Still, after watching Miami get beat by lowly Minnesota one thought pops back into your mind — the Heat is a bad team.

kaynak : NBA

7 Ocak 2008

The Vegas Lights Will Shine With Star Power When Alonzo Mourning, Earvin 'Magic' Johnson, Queen Lati

On Thursday, February 15, 2007, Boost Mobile will present the most highly anticipated celebrity fundraiser taking place during the All-Star weekend. The 2007 Boost Mobile Zo & Magic's 8-Ball Challenge, in conjunction with NBA All-Star Alonzo Mourning of the Miami Heat and NBA legend, Earvin "Magic" Johnson, will converge on the city of lights and showcase the billiard skills of some of the most recognizable faces in sports, film, television and music. Hosted by Academy Award nominee and Grammy award winner Queen Latifah and SAG Award winner and four-time Grammy nominee, Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, this celebrity pool tournament will be held at the famous Wynn Las Vegas Resort & Casino with owners, Steve and Elaine Wynn lending their time and support to this great cause.

With the gracious help of title sponsor Boost Mobile and the support of automotive luxury leader Lincoln, ESPN and Remy, this annual event will boast a who's who list of celebrities and sports stars including Dwyane Wade (Miami Heat), Gilbert Arenas (Washington Wizards), the legendary Julius "Dr. J" Erving, Michael Vick (Atlanta Falcons), Terrell Owens (Dallas Cowboys), actor Nick Cannon and actress Regina King competing for a grand prize package that includes Boost Mobile phones and service, luxury trips, Tiffany & Company custom made gifts, X-Box's and much, much more.

"The fact that this event has continued to grow in every facet is very encouraging. Last year it helped AMC, in part, grant more than $700,000 to several charities. This year, with our focus of building youth centers, the funds generated will help us meet this goal. Again, I challenge everyone to take part in this great event that Magic and I support whole-heartedly and ultimately benefits our youth," said Mourning.

The inaugural 8-Ball Challenge was held in 2005 during Denver, Colorado's All Star festivities and hosted by famed comedian, Cedric The Entertainer. Broadcast live on TNT's Post-Game show, "Inside the NBA," the event raised over $100,000 for two of the NBA's most popular and philanthropic players, Alonzo Mourning and Carmelo Anthony. Household names such as Julius "Dr. J." Erving, Ludacris, Terrell Owens, Dwyane Wade and the TNT trio of Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith & Charles Barkley were on hand to watch NBA All-Star Paul Pierce take home the grand prize.

In 2006, Mourning hooked up with the legendary Magic Johnson to invade Houston and take over Jillians. Atlanta-based radio personalities, The Two Stews, were crowned the kings of the 2006 8-Ball Challenge and joined Shaquille O'Neal (Miami Heat), Sam Cassell (LA Clippers), Curtis Martin (NJ Jets), Paul Pierce (Boston Celtics) and the legendary Michael Jordan to raise more than $250,000 for Alonzo and Magic's Foundations.

Like the past two years, thirty-two (32) two-person teams will compete round-robin style with winning teams advancing until a final round of play. The Wynn's "LaFite" Ballroom will be completely transformed for the Boost Mobile Zo & Magic 8-Ball Challenge. And new to the event this year, ESPN will produce a one-hour special that showcases Alonzo and Magic's Foundations with the pool tournament and All-Star as the backdrop. Highlights from the competition as well as the final round of play will also be included in the show. This special broadcast will air during Black History Month in February.

"It's sexy, it's hot, it's entertainment at its best and it's for charity. No matter what Alonzo and I do, it's going to be fun," says Earvin "Magic" Johnson. "So, instead of us going up against each other at NBA All-Star, we decided to come together once again for Boost Mobile's Zo and Magic's 8-Ball Challenge."

Key highlights of the night will be a silent auction that features an All-Star list of items from Alonzo and Magic as well as NBA superstars Michael Jordan, Dwyane Wade and more. Other items up for bid include a Boost Mobile i885 phone with one year of free service and a Wynn Las Vegas package that includes a stay in the resort's Tower Suite, show tickets, golf, dinner and more.

Over the past three years, Boost Mobile has become an integral partner in making sure the mission of Alonzo Mourning Charities and the Magic Johnson Foundation achieve their goals by supporting the Boost Mobile Zo & Magic's 8-Ball Challenge. "Partnering on this event is one of the highlights of the year for Boost," explains Daryl Butler, marketing director -- strategic alliances, Boost Mobile. "We are able to support the important work that Alonzo and Magic's foundations do on a daily basis and understand their impact on young people through their programs. Boost is proud to be a part of this event and work with Alonzo and Magic in boosting the lives of young people in meaningful ways."

All of the net proceeds raised will benefit charities supported by Alonzo Mourning Charities, Inc. and the Magic Johnson Foundation.

A limited number of tickets for Boost Mobile Zo & Magic's 8-Ball Challenge are still available. For more information, log onto or

About Alonzo Mourning & Alonzo Mourning Charities

Alonzo Mourning is best known as an NBA superstar, but it's his off-the-court charitable efforts that he considers his crowning achievement. When he founded Alonzo Mourning Charities in 1997, his mission was to improve the lives of underprivileged kids in various communities. Alonzo Mourning Charities (AMC) is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) public fundraising foundation. AMC's mission is to provide support and services that enhance the lives of 'youth of promise'. Since 1997, AMC has raised more than $6 million for various organizations that aid in the development of children and families living in at-risk situations. In addition to supporting other non-profit organizations, Mourning has focused his attention to building youth centers. With the help of donors, Mourning opened the first center in 2003 in the historic city of Overtown, in South Florida, known as the Overtown Youth Center. For more information, please visit

Source: Alonzo Mourning Charities; The Magic Johnson Foundation

kaynak : NBA

The All-Warrior Team

Alonzo Mourning has likely played his final game in the NBA. He suffered a torn patellar tendon in his right knee last month, and while a younger player could expect to return from a similar injury in time for next season, the 37-year-old veteran had already stated unequivocally that this season would be his last.

It's been 16 years since Mourning came into the league, and in that span he's established himself as one of the greatest defensive players of all-time despite missing one full season and portions of three others due to a kidney disease that eventually required a transplant. Not many players would have continued to persevere in the face of such tall odds, but Mourning has always embraced a true warrior's mentality.

In fact, that mentality made Mourning the type of player he was. He's been one of most intimidating defensive players for as long as he's been in the league, and even in a reduced role following his comeback he ranked among the leaders in blocked shots. Even as disease robbed him of his prime years and age slowed him upon his return, very few players ever matched the intensity he brought to the court each night.

In honor of Mourning's distinguished career, let's take a look around the league and recognize those who play every game with the same passion and fire by naming the All-Warrior Team.

C – Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic

Howard has improved each and every year he's been in the league, which is awfully impressive considering he came in averaging a double-double. He's the NBA's rebounding king (and could easily hold onto the crown for the next decade), ranks fourth in the league by averaging a 'Zo-like 2.7 rejections per game and leads his team in scoring with a career-high 22.4 points per game.

How consistent has Howard been this year? He has 30 double-doubles in 35 games, six more than anyone else in the league. Oh, and the next game he misses will be his first. The scary thing is that he's still only 22 years old. With his work ethic and off-the-charts athleticism, he's on path to going down as one of the all-time greats. That's a bold statement to make about someone who still has a good decade and a half left in his career, but it's true.

PF – Kevin Garnett, Boston Celtics

There are very few players who have Garnett's burning desire to win, and even fewer with such a strong sense of loyalty that he lasted as long as he did in Minnesota without requesting a trade. After finally being dealt this summer and shedding the burden of being the face of a franchise, he's embraced life as being just one piece of Boston's Big Three, along with Paul Pierce and Ray Allen.

But make no mistake: Pierce may be the leading scorer and Allen may take more big shots at the end of games, but Garnett is the glue that holds it all together. For example, when he sat down early in the first quarter after picking up a pair of fouls against the Detroit Pistons on Saturday, the Celtics scored just two more points over the next eight minutes. It was only after he returned that they were able to turn things around and pull out the win.

SF – Ron Artest, Sacramento Kings

There's a good chance that Artest might be a little bit crazy, but that's part of what makes him so invaluable on the floor. He literally doesn't know how to play the game at any other speed than full-throttle: it's all or nothing when he's on the court, harassing his opponent on both sides of the ball from the opening top to the final buzzer. Yes, there's a lot of baggage that comes with having him on the roster, but at the end of a close game when you absolutely need a stop, there are few other players you'd rather have on your side.

SG – Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers

Bryant may be the league's most competitive player since Michael Jordan finally retired for good. That's both a blessing and a curse; unlike Garnett, he's often lacked the tact to cope with the frustration of losing without alienating those around him. The Lakers are at their best when everyone on the team is able to contribute, but Bryant is obviously capable of taking over any game whenever he wants.

PG – Sam Cassell, Los Angeles Clippers

Cassell may not have made as many All-Star teams as some of the other players on this list, but the fact that he's not only still in the league at 38 years old but also starting proves that he's lived up to Mourning's standard of perseverance.

The Clippers aren't doing too hot this year, but Cassell's mere presence as a leader both on and off the court was credited as being one of the major factors in this franchise's resurgence a couple of years ago. Even though his shot isn't as consistent as it once was, he's just as willing to take huge shots with the game on the line now as back when he was winning championships his first two years in the league with the Rockets.

The NBA is filled with hard workers – some players make the game look easy, but nobody coasts on talent alone in the NBA. That said, the above five players are in a league of their own when it comes to combining work ethic, talent and determination. Mourning may be retiring, but he leaves behind players cut from the same mold.

kaynak : NBA

6 Ocak 2008

ATLANTA (AP) -Alonzo Mourning refused to leave what might have been the last game of his career on a stretcher.

After tearing the patellar tendon in his right knee in Miami's game against Atlanta on Wednesday night, the 37-year-old Heat center was placed on the stretcher, but he refused the ride.

"That's not the way I envisioned myself walking off the court for the last time in my career,'' he said. "I've been through so much in my life. If I had to crawl off the court I would have. Nobody was going to push me off on a stretcher off the court. That wasn't going to happen.''

Mourning already has said there is "zero chance'' of playing another season.

"We tried to help him up and he just said 'It's over, it's over,''' Miami's Udonis Haslem said.

Mourning sat up, rose to his feet and limped to the Miami bench with the assistance of teammates. He received an ovation as he made the slow, painful walk to the bench.

Miami spokesman Michael Lissack said an examination at Philips Arena, including X-rays, revealed the injury. Mourning will have more tests Thursday with team physician Dr. Harlan Selesnick, including an MRI.

"Dr. Selesnick will let me know tomorrow,'' said Mourning, who was on crutches after the game. "But obviously it's going to require some kind of surgical procedure. And it'll be done as soon as possible.''

Lissack said it wasn't immediately known if the injury could end Mourning's season.

Injuries such as this typically take at least three months to heal.

When asked about Mourning's outlook, Heat coach Pat Riley said "I think we should really wait on that. But it's not good.''

"I'd never put anything past Zo. But the knee injury is ... sad for me because I know him. I've been really close to him. It's sad to see him really be hurt.''

Mourning is in his 15th year in the NBA, including 11 seasons with Miami.

Mourning was hurt when attempting to defend the basket on a layup by Atlanta's Mario West. Replays showed Mourning's knee buckled without contact from West as Mourning was about to jump.

"When I planted I felt like my foot slipped,'' Mourning said. "It happened so fast though. It really did. I didn't even watch the tape. From what everybody else told me that was watching it, they said it looked like I slipped.''

Mourning is a seven-time All-Star and two-time defensive player of the year.

His 15 years in the league do not include a full year he missed because of kidney problems that led to him getting a transplant in 2003.

"Each of you here know I've been through a whole lot worse than this,'' Mourning said. "It's disappointing to even think that my career would end this way, but there are so many other things that life has to offer for me. I have a great family and I have so many other opportunities out there.

kaynak : NBA

4 Ocak 2008

Heat's Mourning appears finished

Alonzo Mourning of the Miami Heat is scheduled to have what is likely career-ending knee surgery.Victor Baldizon/NBAE via Getty ImagesAlonzo Mourning of the Miami Heat is scheduled to have what is likely career-ending knee surgery.

MIAMI - The career of Miami Heat center Alonzo Mourning has likely come to an end.

The veteran big man is scheduled to have knee surgery Thursday to repair a torn patella tendon in his right knee, according to a report on the Miami Herald's Web site.

Facing a six- to eight-month recovery that will sideline him for the remainder of the season, the 37-year-old Mourning has probably played his last NBA game.

Even before he suffered the injury in Wednesday's loss to Atlanta, Mourning had said this would be the last season of his 15-year career. He did not back off that claim following Wednesday's game and seemed resigned to the idea of retirement.

"It's disappointing to think that my career may end this way," Mourning said after Wednesday's game. "But there are just so many other things that are important in life. I have my whole life to do other things."

Mourning suffered the tear as he raced down the court and planted beneath the rim to block a shot in the first quarter of the Heat's 117-111 overtime loss to the Hawks.

After crumpling to the floor, the 15-year veteran immediately grabbed at the knee and pounded his fist to the court. He was initially put on a stretcher before leaving under his own power and being helped to the locker room by his teammates.

Mourning, who had averaged 6.0 points and 3.8 rebounds entering the game, scored five points before the injury.

A seven-time All-Star, Mourning played a role in Miami's NBA title run in 2006 and is one of the most popular - and hard-working - players on the squad.

"It's tough to see a guy work so hard and go out like that," Miami swingman Ricky Davis said Wednesday.

A two-time Defensive Player of the Year, Mourning defeated the odds just by stepping on the court in recent years. He was diagnosed with a rare kidney disease in 2003 and returned for the 2004-05 season after a transplant.

The second overall pick in the 1992 draft out of Georgetown, Mourning became the latest in a line of great Hoya pivot men in the NBA, joining Patrick Ewing and Dikembe Mutombo. He has averaged 17.1 points and 8.5 rebounds in 838 career NBA games.

kaynak : NBA

2 Ocak 2008

Heat, Bucks both try to break losing streaks

A pair of struggling teams meet Wednesday as the Miami Heat host the Milwaukee Bucks. Both teams enter this contest looking to snap four-game losing streaks.

Miami began the season without superstar Dwyane Wade and went 1-6 in his absence. Now that Wade is rounding into playing shape, center Alonzo Mourning has been lost for the season with a torn patellar tendon and Shaquille O'Neal has missed the last two games with a hip injury.

Wade's 48-point effort was not enough in an overtime loss to the Orlando Magic on Friday. He managed just 12 points in Saturday's 96-74 loss to the Washington Wizards.

The Bucks have suffered from a lack of defensive intensity this season, relying on big men such as Charlie Villanueva, Yi Jianlian and Andrew Bogut, who prefer to play facing the basket.

Milwaukee suffered an embarrassing 114-69 loss at Detroit on Monday in which it shot just 36 percent (26-of-72) while allowing the Pistons to shoot 58 percent (45-of-77). The Bucks also committed 21 turnovers.

kaynak : NBA

1 Ocak 2008

Injury May End Alonzo Mourning's Career

Alonzo Mourning refused to leave what might have been the last game of his career on a stretcher. After tearing the patellar tendon in his right knee in Miami's game against Atlanta on Wednesday night, the 37-year-old Heat center was placed on the stretcher, but he refused the ride.

"That's not the way I envisioned myself walking off the court for the last time in my career," he said. "I've been through so much in my life. If I had to crawl off the court I would have. Nobody was going to push me off on a stretcher off the court. That wasn't going to happen."

Mourning already has said there is "zero chance" of playing another season.

"We tried to help him up and he just said 'It's over, it's over,'" Miami's Udonis Haslem said.

Mourning sat up, rose to his feet and limped to the Miami bench with the assistance of teammates. He received an ovation as he made the slow, painful walk to the bench.

Miami spokesman Michael Lissack said an examination at Philips Arena, including X-rays, revealed the injury. Mourning will have more tests Thursday with team physician Dr. Harlan Selesnick, including an MRI.

"Dr. Selesnick will let me know tomorrow," said Mourning, who was on crutches after the game. "But obviously it's going to require some kind of surgical procedure. And it'll be done as soon as possible."

Lissack said it wasn't immediately known if the injury could end Mourning's season.

Injuries such as this typically take at least three months to heal.

When asked about Mourning's outlook, Heat coach Pat Riley said "I think we should really wait on that. But it's not good."

"I'd never put anything past Zo. But the knee injury is ... sad for me because I know him. I've been really close to him. It's sad to see him really be hurt."

Mourning is in his 15th year in the NBA, including 11 seasons with Miami.

Mourning was hurt when attempting to defend the basket on a layup by Atlanta's Mario West. Replays showed Mourning's knee buckled without contact from West as Mourning was about to jump.

"When I planted I felt like my foot slipped," Mourning said. "It happened so fast though. It really did. I didn't even watch the tape. From what everybody else told me that was watching it, they said it looked like I slipped."

Mourning is a seven-time All-Star and two-time defensive player of the year.

His 15 years in the league do not include a full year he missed because of kidney problems that led to him getting a transplant in 2003.

"Each of you here know I've been through a whole lot worse than this," Mourning said. "It's disappointing to even think that my career would end this way, but there are so many other things that life has to offer for me. I have a great family and I have so many other opportunities out there.

kaynak : NBA