With tears streaming from his eyes, Alonzo Mourning watched his jersey raised to the rafters by the Miami Heat Monday night.
He became the first player in the organization's 21-year history to receive that honor.
The 43-minute ceremony featured the reading of a letter from
President Barack Obama, plus brief speeches by Gov. Charlie Crist,
Heat president Pat Riley, Mourning's former Georgetown coach John
Thompson and fellow former Hoya Patrick Ewing, a longtime mentor.
The Heat pulled out all the stops, including having stickers with Mourning's name and number 33 adhered in two spots on the court and showing video montages of his career during stoppages in play.
Mourning was diagnosed with kidney disease in 2000, needed a
transplant in 2003, and was told he'd never play in the NBA again.
He returned, of course, and in 2006, got the NBA championship he
had spent a career chasing, when the Heat beat Dallas in six games.