16 Ocak 2008

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