Alonzo Mourning was a force to be reckoned with during his Hall of Fame career. He did not light up the stat sheet in points even dough he was an absolute force in the paint. Center was the cornerstone and a crucial part of any NBA franchise in the 1990s, so Zo was the heart of the Miami Heat during the late 1990s and early 2000s.
In those years, the rivalry between the NY Knicks and Miami Heat gave us unforgettable matchups. Dueling with his fellow Hoya alumni and great friend Patrick Ewing is something Zo likes to talk about. In his own words when doing an interview with The Post Game, Alonzo said their approach to the game came from the sheer will to win. Their mentality was way different than the one players have in the NBA today. For multiple playoff matchups and numerous regular-season games, Mourning showcased that mentality.
“I’m our here to take your head off. You’re in my way right now. It was the mentality everybody had. There were constant wars and rivalries between teams.
In the late 90s, we had great battles in the east: Indiana-Chicago, Knicks-Pacers, Heat-Knicks. The list is full of teams that had a bully mentality when playing basketball. They like to drain their opponents physically and mentally while fights were just the occasional icing on the cake. Who can forget 1998 playoff brawl, with Knicks coach Jeff van Gundy getting in the middle of it?
During those years, Mourning was often compared to great Bill Russell. He always said that was an ultimate honor for him. His warrior mentality and intense style of play made him one of the poster boy centers of that era. He crowned his career with the 2006 championship with the Miami Heat, but we think he loves to reminiscence more about the battles with his adversaries from New York.