Skip to main content

PATRICK EWING WAS READY to donate his kidney to one of his greatest rivals in the NBA


In 2003 Alonzo Mourning found out he had a severe kidney condition, threatening his basketball career. The condition is called focal segmental glomerulosclerosis is the leading cause of kidney failure in adults. Medication and dialysis are the first options, but if they don’t give positive results, then a kidney transplant is necessary.

Usually, you look for close family members as potential donors, but in Mourning’s case, a friend and rival didn’t hesitate and immediately offered to donate a kidney if necessary. Like Mourning, Patrick Ewing attended Georgetown University, and as they ended up in New York and Miami, the two had a lot of big clashes in the Eastern Conference. But when Ewing found out about Morning’s troubles, he said the following.

“You know I will always be there for him. If my kidney matches, I’ll be happy to donate one. If it comes down to that. He knows that.”

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

It didn’t come down to that at the end, but the story behind Mourning’s kidney is equally fascinating. In 2003 his grandmother was gravely ill, and one of the people who came to visit was a retired U. S. Marine, Jason Cooper. Cooper didn’t see Mourning for 25 years, but when Mourning’s father told Cooper Alonzo will have to retire from basketball due to his condition, Cooper started contemplating donating a kidney to his estranged cousin.

The doctors performed tests, it turned out the two were a match, and on December 19, 2003, Alonzo Mourning received James Cooper’s left kidney. Mourning would return to the NBA, where made a solid impact coming from the bench, and even won a championship with the Miami Heat in 2006. He was never the same player as before when he was one of the best two-way centers in the league. He used his experience to have a longer career than anyone initially expected after his kidney surgery.

Max Strus

Max Strus shares why the Miami Heat will bounce back this season after a disappointing start - "We have two young guys that are turning the corner of being superstars"

Strus breaks down why the Miami Heat will bounce back this season while giving high praise to Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro

Jason Kidd

Jason Kidd explains why he isn’t too concerned with the Dallas Mavericks' slow start to the season

Kidd believes that the Mavs are figuring things out slowly but surely, and ensured fans that they won't be winning any awards for the first 20 games of the season

Charles Barkley & Erik Spoelstra

Charles Barkley believes it's time for the Miami Heat to break the team up and start over

Barkley pondered whether or not it was time for the Heat to start from scratch amid their 11-14 run in the first 25 games of the season

Shaquille O'Neal, Charles Barkley and New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson

“It looked like me and Shaq had a baby” — when Chuck had Shaq dying laughing with his Zion comment

One year later, Zion proved he's put in the work and is leading the New Orleans Pelicans to the playoffs.

Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant and Washington Wizards point guard Gilbert Arenas

"It was intelligent trash talking, when you played him you’re playing a mental war" — Gilbert Arenas shares his experience trash-talking Kobe Bryant

Former Washington Wizards star Gilbert Arenas outlines what it was like to receive trash-talking from Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant.

Former NBA player Stephen Jackson

"They gave me a check for $25,000 cash, I blew it all in one day" — Stephen Jackson reveals he blew his first NBA paycheck

Former three-point specialist Stephen Jackson reveals how he and Mike Bibby spent his first NBA pay check in a few hours.

San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich and New Orleans Hornets guard Devin Brown

“I think we can pay you a little bit more than that” — When Gregg Popovich saved Devin Brown from an overnight stocker job

Thanks to Gregg Popovich's training camp invite, Devin Brown was able to live his NBA dream.