Former Miami Heat star Alonzo Mourning, one of the greats of basketball who this week will be named a member of the NBA Hall of Fame, has become the newest Ambassador for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation.
Mourning was inducted as a Laureus Ambassador at the Overtown Youth Center in Miami, where he hosted a community day of health and wellbeing for young people.
Mourning co-founded the center, which opened in 2004, and has contributed to its growth and success ever since. A safe haven for underprivileged young people, it combines in-school services, project based learning, after school services, enrichment programmes, parent support, health and wellbeing support, and post-high school support (up to the age of 25) for 400 students.
Alonzo Mourning said:
“I’m proud to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Overtown Youth Center, an organisation in Miami that has been impacting the lives of the city’s youth. OYC inspires, empowers and enriches the lives of youth and families. I’ve been dedicated to this center and have seen its impact grow. I’m joining the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation as an Ambassador to bring the success we’ve seen in sport for development in Miami to other communities around the globe. I believe in the power of sport to change communities.”
Double Olympic champion Edwin Moses, Chairman of the Laureus World Sports Academy, said:
“It is my great pleasure to welcome fellow philanthropist and NBA legend Alonzo Mourning to the Laureus Family. As an Ambassador, he will be able to build upon the great work he has done within the sport for development sector in Miami and bring his passion to a worldwide audience. We are looking forward to working with Alonzo with a joint mission of helping to drive the positive power of sport across the country. Working with the Overtown Youth Center is just the beginning of the difference we would like to make together.”
Mourning played most of his 15-year NBA career for Miami Heat. His strength and consistency twice earned him the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award and he regularly won a place in the NBA All-Defensive Team. He famously made a comeback to the sport after undergoing a kidney transplant and won the 2006 NBA Championship with the Heat. When he retired in March 2009, Mourning became the first Miami Heat player to have his personal number (33) retired.
One of his most memorable moments came at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney when he had to miss the semi-final and fly home for the birth of his daughter. He then returned in time to help Team USA win the gold medal against France. His daughter is named Myka Sydney as a result.
He is the driving force behind Zo's Fund for Life, a campaign which seeks to raise funds for research, education and testing to fight focal glomerulosclerosis, the kidney disease he suffered.